Love is really the in-thing nowadays. People sing about love, movies are themed around love, books about love are bound to be bestsellers. Love sells but what is love?
Does the world portray an accurate picture of love? Does the church portray an accurate picture of love? Maybe, a good place to start really is in the famous Love chapter of Paul namely 1 Corinthians 13 written about Agape - the love of God.
The last thing we all need is a dictionary definition of God's love. But rather, I would like to explore the different aspects of love. And the first aspect I would like to indulge in is this, taken from the Wuest New Testament is the Patience of God.
1 Corinthians 13:4a
Love meekly and patiently bears ill treatment from others.
Meekly and patiently bears ill treatment... Wow... the thought itself is mind blowing. This brings back the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:
But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow.
What possibly could be running through Jesus' mind when He uttered those words? Was He thinking about these words, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing"? Who was on HIs mind when He spoke them? Was it Judas who betrayed Him with a kiss? Was it Peter who denied Him three times? Was it His disciples who ran away forsaking Him? Was it the soldier who forced the crown of thorns down His head? Was it the one who tore His flesh with the whip? Was it the crowd crying out for His crucifixion? ... meekly and patiently bearing ill treatment... Was it my sins He was paying for on that cross? Was it my continual denial of Him with my daily disobedience? Was it...?
The first time the word was used to portray 'meekly and patiently enduring ill treatment' was in Matthew 18:26-27 "But the man fell down before his master and begged him, 'Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all. ' Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
The master didn't give the man an installment plan or made him pay half the debt or mortgaged his house or sold his wife and children. He forgave him of everything. The man walked away free at the expence of the master.
As I looked at all these verses, I realised the first thing about Patience - it will cost us. It is about giving when we should be getting what was owed to us. It is about mercy when punishment was due. It is about me being forgiven extending forgiveness to my fellow men. It is about giving up my right to what was mine. The right to anger. The right to revenge. The right to hate. The right to retribute. It is about extravagant forgiveness.
If we claim to love, then maybe the first question to ask if we have been patient. Patient with family. Patient with friends. Patient with colleagues. Patient with the stranger. Patient with our enemies.
I think I am found lacking. It is impossible. It cannot be achieved unless the crucified Christ lives through me. Unless I give up my right to my rights to Him and allow HIm to transform me little by little, from glory to glory, strength to strength.
As Joyce Meyer would put it, "I'm not there, but I am on the way." I am on the way to Patience. The Patience of Jesus. The Patience of God.
I am just a regular guy who really desires to please God. I'm not there yet, but I'm on the way.
Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com
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