Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
It’s on signs at every Hobby Lobby and featured in millions of weddings worldwide. (I even wrote it into my vows) 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 boasts a powerful message. But one that we tend to glaze over because of its popularity. Over the next few days, let’s dive deep into what these words mean for our lives and meditate on what God’s perfect love looks like.
Before we begin
Jeremiah 29:13 says You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. So take a minute and give your heart to the Lord. Empty the worry, baggage, fear, and doubt onto the floor before his throne. Trust that he will give wisdom to all who ask (James 1:5) and show you his divine love.
Let’s start with the first attribute of love mentioned in the passage. It begins, “Love is patient…”
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
In 1 John, we read that “God IS love.” So since he is love, we’ll read 1 Corinthians as God is patient. And if God is patient, he isn’t angry with you when he sees all of your mistakes, doubts, and sins.
He doesn’t get upset and decide to dole out punishments. On the contrary, in his love, he accepts you. In all your delays in coming to him and all your troubles and worries, he welcomes you openly and without frustration.
Nothing you do will weaken his resolve for you.
Maybe you can’t remember the last time you prayed or read your Bible. Or you yelled at your kids and took out your frustrations on your spouse.
Whatever has happened in your life that’s making you feel distant from the Lord is not enough to keep him from you. Your past doesn’t make a difference to him. He can still work with it because he doesn’t hold grudges or become angry when we delay in coming to him. Instead, he smiles on his children, welcoming them with open arms, and is ready to cover them in grace at any moment.
Take a minute and meditate on God’s acceptance of you, just as you are.
I have a two year old whose favorite thing to do is play with his food. Dumping it out, smearing it around, and splattering it all over my dining room.
Patience is not the first thing that comes to mind when I’m cleaning the floor or trying to keep the mess within the parameters of his plate.
But knowing that God isn’t angry or frustrated with me when I botch the good gifts he’s given me changes my perspective on how I respond to my toddler.
If I want my children to know God’s perfect, patient love, then this monstrosity of spaghetti on my wall is no longer an annoying burden. It’s an opportunity. I can choose to practice what God’s definition of love looks like.
Practically speaking, I take a few deep breaths and ask the Holy Spirit to help me. It’s as quick and simple as a whispered “help me, Jesus” as I walk to get a wet rag and clean up the mess.
Because my default is to yell. It’s to spank, turn into a rage monster, and throw my own version of a tantrum in the dining room. But because of 1 Corinthians 13 I know there’s a better way. I show the love of God to those around me when I accept trouble without getting angry or upset.
So, how can you show patience today in light of God’s love for you?
Decide beforehand that when trouble comes, you’ll pause and remember God’s perfect love before responding.
Thank you for this life that you have given me. Help me to accept your perfect love and show it to those around me, especially when my circumstances tempt me to walk in anger and frustration. By your grace, I choose to walk in light today.
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