October 4, 2012
- By Ed Powell
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"Love is patient...suffers long." 1 Corinthians 13:4
When you read the many virtues of love in this chapter, it reveals how far we fall short of all God wants our lives to embrace. You might say, "Surely God doesn't expect my life to be characterized by all of these wonderful fruits of love?" Well, yes He does. We must realize it is not within our capacity to have all of these adorn our life. But, the Holy Spirit, who resides within every believer, will enable these qualities of love to be manifested through us.
When love suffers long, it means enduring in the face of adversity...willing to suffer long that we may see the deliverance needed in our life and in the lives of others. "All who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). When we read of the great men and women of faith in Hebrews 11, we realize the extent of true commitment. They were hated, tortured, persecuted, and even slain for the truth.
A form of godliness that arises from self will bring us in favor with the world. Why? Because a person can live in entire neglect of his soul, and no one will trouble him, not even his friends. But let him begin to live by faith in Jesus Christ making Him the Lord of his life, and seek to devote himself to His service...and his friends and family will try to divert him from his faith.
When God's truth invades a person's life, it affects his life style. God's Spirit will cause a radical division. It separates light from darkness, truth from evil, God from Satan, heaven from hell. True vital godliness will subject us to reproach, disgrace, and criticism just as in the early days of the church, because we are identifying with Christ.
Paul's life was a constant turmoil of adversity. He writes, "For unto you (the believer) is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but to suffer for his sake" (Philippians 1:29). Paul knew first hand what it meant to suffer, but he also knew the ALL-SUFFICIENT ONE whom he served. "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Ask yourself, "Does my life reflect a love that is patient and suffers long?" One of my problems I have to deal with is patience. I despise having to wait. "But they that WAIT on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).
David wrote, "Lead me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day" (Psalm 25:5). James addresses this specifically; "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4).
So we must all go through this process of refining. The Holy Spirit needs to work in our lives, so that long-suffering and patience will be the virtues of love that will adorn our life and glorify our Lord! May this be the goal of our life and the joy of our hearts!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?row=278&date=2012-10-04
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