Love is Patient
Last Sunday we looked at the first phrase in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 "Love is patient ..."
Here are a some further reflections to help us continue to meditate and make this our pursuit together, to glorify God, be more Christlike, and grow in the fruit of the Spirit.
Phil Ryken explains: ‘Children get impatient with their parents…Parents get impatient with their children…At school we get impatient with the time it takes to learn everything…On the job we get impatient with coworkers who make it harder for us to do our work. In the marketplace we get impatient with people who are lazy or incompetent. On the weekend we get impatient with our friends when their interests do not align with our plans. It happens any time that other people fail to honor our agenda or meet our demands for efficiency: rather than waiting for God to work, we try to “play God” …
This is one of the main things to remember whenever we start to get impatient: God is still in control. True love has the patience to see this [our circumstance] … flows from Christ’s love and is controlled by it [sovereign love!]. Once we know this, and learn to live by it, we are ready to love people with the patience that comes from trusting that God is in control.’[i]
‘It is not simply that God is in control but also that he is doing something good in the lives of his people…This is something to remember when we get impatient. Even if we do not understand what God is doing, we can believe that he is still at work. Trusting in the sovereign goodness of God will help us turn our attention to others in love rather than focusing on our own frustrations…So often we are in a hurry for God to do his work in someone else, when in fact he is busy wanting to do something in us.’[ii]
Jonathan Edwards: "Consider the example which Christ hath set … long-suffering … He was very much the object of the hatred, contempt and reproach of men … He endured the contradiction of sinners against himself, Heb. 12:3 … oftentimes they said he was a mad man … a wicked blasphemer … They often, when they saw his miracles, were wont to say that he did what he did by the power of Beelzebub. Yea, they called him a devil … We very often read of their seeking to kill him … Christ meekly bore all those injuries from men, he reviled not again … he opened not his mouth … was he not injured far more grievously than ever you have been? Was not Jesus Christ trampled on and trod underfoot a thousand times more than ever you was?"[iii]
I'm living proof when I say this and these are truthful statements
You're beautiful when displaying Your unusual patience
You take the blasphemous- pridefully stuck in our blindness
Instead of smashing us, decided to love us with kindness …
We were foolish and clueless, just as ruthless as Judas
Who knew that You would choose to pursue us and move to woo us
So after waiting with patience as we would run from You
You activated our faith so that we would come to You …
And now that we're in Christ, the thing that is amazing to us
Is that You still continue to display Your patience to us
Through all our stumbles and falls and our idolatry
Through all our grumbling and all of our hypocrisy
Our self-righteousness, with brothers and sisters we're hostile
Our unforgiveness- all because we're just missing the gospel
… our teary eyes beheld the cross of our King
We understood the true meaning of long-suffering (Lord of Patience, Attributes album)
[i] Phil Ryken, Loving the Way Jesus Loved, p. 81-83.
[iii] Jonathan Edwards, Works, 8:197-98, 205. He cites as examples of the patient long-suffering of Jesus an impressive list of scriptures: Isaiah 53:3, Psalm 41:5, Matthew 10:25, 21:46, John 5:16, 5:18, 7:20, 7:25, 7:30-32, 7:45, 8:22, 8:48, 10:20, 10:33, 10:39. He also notes how the Lamb of God told His followers “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matthew 10:16). 1 Peter 2:21-25 also strengthens the argument of Edwards here, noting Christ’s lonsuffering without sinful response or retaliation, “leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (v. 21).