As I previously mentioned, I’m doing a blog series on each of the “acts” of love from 1 Corinthians 13. Today’s post considers the thought “love is patient”. Yikes! Why did he start with that one?
I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient.
Authentic Christ-like love is very clearly illustrated in I Corinthians 13. The writer Paul removes the idea that love is abstract, a mere feeling, and in verses 4-7 he makes evident how true love behaves in every relationship; family, friends, fellow-man, and yes – even our enemies.
LOVE IS PATIENT
The Greek word for patient comes from two words meaning long-tempered (thinking of it as the opposite of short-tempered makes it easy to understand). When I’m patient:
- I am able to bear provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain without complaint, loss of temper, or anger.
- I have an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.
- I show quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence
Bearing provocations and annoyances, suppressing restlessness, even-tempered care – don’t they all convey a sense of being “long-tempered’ vs. short-tempered?
WHEN I LOVE I’M PATIENT
Since love is patient, to demonstrate love I need to be patient. Easier said than done, I know. How can I be patient in those moments of irritation and frustration, when those annoyances and provocations show up? And believe me they will show up. Since love seems to be based on actions, what are some practical ways I might be able to demonstrate patience? Here are three ways, but I know there are more.
1.I recognize that with my own frailties and faults I am in need of others being patient with me. So should I not show others the same patience I so desperately need and want? If I’m following the example of Christ, this causes me to approach others with a spirit of patience and humility instead of anger and pride. Luckily for all of us God is a God of patience (Romans 15:4-5).
2. I understand that God is not only at work within me, but also within the one who is trying my patience. Situations where we patiently wait in love teach us something about ourselves and we give the other person a chance to grow and learn something about themselves. Like the little song says “God’s still working on me”. He’s still working on all of us. Everything is in God’s time; not ours. That thought alone is a tremendous benefit in recognizing how important patience is in my relationships with others.
3. I pray for patience – I ask God to give me patience in the areas of my life where I’m struggling and a lack of patience is hurting my relationships. It’s good to pray before you are in a situation where you need patience. And when you are in a situation where you need patience – pray harder!
God is great and powerful and He aids us in our resolve to be love in action. Never doubt that. That resolve begins with being patient.