This week, we continued our series, “What is Love?” In this part we discussed the patience of love. First, we examined the word agape. This is the Greek word for love that is used throughout 1 Corinthians 13. This particular word is only used in the Bible to describe God’s love and the love that flows from us to others. It gives the picture of a love that gives and gives and gives – even if it is never responded to or acknowledged. It is love that is a choice and not a response.
This is contrary to the way we tend to love. Our love is usually a response to being loved. In fact 1 John 4:19 tells us that we love because He first loved us. Love starts with Him. When we receive that love, we then are able to love much more like He does. We are told to “have” love. But God “is” love.
Let’s look at patience. The word used for patience in 1 Corinthians 13:4 is makrothumia. It is a compound word made up of makros which means long, distant, remote, long duration and thumos which means swelling emotion or growing passion. The King James version uses the phrase “suffereth long.” God’s patience is one that actually continues to grow as we flounder about. It is a patience that goes for as long as needed. The longer the fight, the more committed to being patient that agape love becomes. That is quite the opposite of what we do. We are looking for the list of things that can occur that allow us to stop being patient with one another. When do I not have to love anymore? So, how can we be expected to be truly patient with one another?
Romans 5:5 tells us that the love of God (agape) has been poured abundantly into our hearts. He has already given us HIS love as a resource because He knows ours isn’t enough. The fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) has been placed inside of us. We don’t have true love, goodness, self-control… patience. But it is inside of us waiting for us to allow it to flow from us to others.
We studied the question from the disciples from Matthew 18:21 and the parable that follows. We talked about how the use of 7’s means that we forgive until all is completed and we are with Jesus. During the story of the debt owed, we discussed the difference between the debts. The original debt was $15 million by today’s standards. The debt he would not forgive was $15. We talked about the punishment of being turned over to his jailers. When we don’t forgive, we are turned over to bitterness and its results, as opposed to living by love and its fruit.
2 Timothy 4:2 was what we left with this week as a final comment.