In the Old Testament, God traveled with the Israelites in different forms to protect them. The Israelites knew that their God was fighting for them because they could physically see God going before them and behind them.
“Patience is a virtue” is a phrase we’ve heard throughout our lives, especially during times when the difficulty of waiting made us angry or upset. It’s true... this phrase is easier said than done as we walk through life’s hills and valleys, but— as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:4— loving people as Christ does takes patience.
In our first Love Is… post, we began our dive into 1 Corinthians 13:4, learning that “agape” is used in the Bible to mean “selfless love.” The verse tells us that true, selfless love is wrapped up in the ability to be patient. Time and time again, we fall short in situations that require patience, and in these cases, we can lose focus on loving like Christ does. To refresh and refocus, we turn to God’s truths in His Word.
Looking further into 1 Corinthians 13, we see in verse five that Paul gives us more instruction on how to love one another well. He says, “[Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
As Christians, we must strive to love unselfishly, treat others with respect and forgive just as God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). Forgiveness is crucial when it comes to loving people selflessly, and it is the starting line to healing when we have been mistreated by someone. A forgiving spirit aligns our heart with the Lord’s so that we are able to love even through hurt and anger.
Oftentimes, these acts take patience and trust in our Father that he knows what is best for us, even in situations that we feel lost or confused. As humans, our initial reaction to grief or wrongdoing is often anger. We immediately ask “why,” instead of waiting on God to reveal Himself through His perfect plan for our lives. In these instances, it’s essential to be patient and abide in God’s truth.
A comforting reminder is found in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We will face hardship in our lives on Earth, but we are able to find peace in God’s promises— those that he Has fulfilled already, and those that He will in the future.
Approaching each day with patience, equipped with God’s truths, we are able to better model Christlike love to those around us. As we go through this week, let’s think before we speak and invite the Holy Spirit into our responses. Let’s strive to practice selfless love through patience and forgiveness toward one another, so we more fully align our hearts with the Lord to grow in Him as we spread His love to others.