The Matrix of True Love
4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
—1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is something everyone wants. Many people we see each day will spend their entire lives in the pursuit of true, lasting love. Sadly, the vast majority of these people will look in all the wrong places, and be forced to settle for a culturally twisted version of love.
But its does not need to end that way. As Christians know, true love begins with God Himself. In Christ we have come to know and experience heart-satisfying love. As Christians filled with the love of Christ, love is also a characteristic we must demonstrate toward others. Jesus told his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35).
Maybe you are struggling with giving true love to someone in your extended family, a spouse, or maybe even a difficult child. People in the church in Corinth also had a difficult time demonstrating love to one another. But in God’s grace, the difficult situation in Corinth led Paul to write down the greatest, inspired explanation of love in the Bible. Let’s take a minute to look at one of the most important aspects of true love.
First, “love is patient.” Sometimes I wish Paul could have started with something else first—something like love is nice or helpful or strong! Why patience first? Perhaps he mentioned patience because it is so difficult for many of us. There are a lot of things in life that require us to be patient: waiting to finish college, finding a new job, saving for a vacation, or even retirement. However, by far, the greatest object of our patience is people. People we love, or used to love, or want to love. Many times we become impatient because we want certain people to get on our timetable or program for transformation. We want them to accept Christ or be more like Christ . . . now!
True love works itself out in patience as we accept and rest in God’s timetable for transformation. Let me say that again: Patience is accepting and resting in God’s timetable for transformation. We can be certain God does have a timetable for changing each person. Patience is letting God work that process in His perfect way and in His perfect timing. —Luke Ahrens
- When it comes to loving difficult people, how am I doing with being patient with God’s timing?
- How would I say I rate at being loving with those around me? Who can I ask about that?
Prayer – Father, Your Word says love is patient and kind. I long for that kind of love to be what I exhibit to those around me. Help me to surrender to Your ways and timing. When I start to speak words that are impatient and unkind, please remind me by Your Holy Spirit of what You did for me through your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray, Amen.