Love bears all things…for God and others
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1Co 13:7-8)
This section of Paul’s descriptive definition of Agape love emphasizes the permanence of Love. It is not something that shows up every now and then, whimsically. It is something that continues. Like the energizer bunny rabbit, it keeps going and going….and going.
Love, Agape love, will never end.
This section of Paul’s description of Love has a primary application and, I think, a legitimate secondary application.
The primary application: Love others
As we relate with others, whether family members, brothers in the Lord, people in the world, or even enemies of the cross of Christ, the one thing we should always show is love. Love is doing what is in a persons best interest. Paul could have written:
Love bears all things to do the best for others, believes all things for the other’s best, desires and expects the best for others always, endures every thing for another s best interest. Love will never stop doing what is in a person’s best interest.
Believe all things? Hope all things? Not to the point of being gullible!
It is not good, nor is it doing what is in the person’s best interest (love), to believe everything that you hear! When you loan a prodigal son more money because he promises with tears that he will change and then say “I love him so much” you miss the point of “best interest”. To say “I am supposed to believe him and hope he means it” is not love, it is wishful, gullible, and harmful (to them and to you) type of behavior.
On the other hand, we are to bear the burdens of others. When it is in their best interest to do so, we need to step up. When others would (or already have) given up, love is there. Sometimes with a hand out, sometimes with a rebuke but it is always for, and in, the person’s best interest.
The difference between helping and not helping can be as simple as distinguishing between boulder size burdens and the knapsack size burdens as Dr. Henry Cloud mentions in his book, Boundaries. We help with the boulder size burdens and encourage them to deal with the knapsack size ones themselves.
This is the type of Love God shows and has shown to us. Even while we were enemies, He showed his love toward us in Jesus.
Second application: love God.
A secondary application can be seen in our love for God. The greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. But if, as we have defined agape love, it is more duty bound and not based on emotion, how do we ‘love‘ God in that manner? How do we do what is in His best interest?
We who are Christians do what is in God’s best interest when we honor to the name that we wear. If we are going to wear his name, claim to serve Him, then our conduct should be “worthy of” the calling and Gospel we say we are loyal too. To use a Scripture:
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1Pe 1:14-16)
To use an example from current events, we could point to Prince Harry of England. His conduct recently in Las Vegas did not bring credit to either the family, the nation, or the army he serves in. Of course, I know we can all point to ourselves at some time or other in our life when we did something that brought discredit to family or others, especially to the God we serve. Some of those were even worse than Prince Harry.
It was failure to do what is in God’s best interest (e.g. love God) that got David into so much trouble with Bathsheba. After the adultery, murder and rushed marriage to hide her pregnacy, Nathan rebukes David and adds that David had given reason to the enemies of God to blaspheme (2 sam 12:14 nkjv). Imagine that, David gave a reason for people to blaspheme God!
Peter says that we should live in such a way that the enemies will glorify God (1 Peter 2:12). We don’t want our lives to lead to others turning away from God. Doing what is in God’s best interest will keep Him being glorified and honored.
Love for God will bear all things necessary to be faithful. We are to bear the reproach of Jesus who suffered to justify us (Heb 13:11-15) and we are the bear His cross if we wish to be His disciples (Luke 14:26-27)
Love for God will believe all things he tells you. No need to worry about being gullible, if God says it, it is true; God does not lie. (Heb 6:18) That belief will result in trust and obedience to His will.
Love for God will hope all things. Hope is a combination of desire and expectation and the Christian will continue to hope, putting his/her trust in the God who never changes and cannot lie. We hope for what we cannot yet see but expect that we will receive it.
Love for God endures all things for the cause of Christ. Even when family and friends turn against you, you endure to the end and receive your salvation (Matt 10:21) Even when you suffer trials and tribulations and perhaps even prison, we do it for the Gospel and,even if we are bound, the Gospel is not bound. (2 Tim 2:8-10) Be faithful unto death and we shall receive the crown of life (Rev 2:10)
Love never ends.
Question: Does thinking of Love as a duty and not an emotion, help you to show more love to those you have difficulty having warm fuzzy feelings toward?
photo credit: Freepix.com via Google images
Posted on August 28, 2012, in Christianity, Faith, First Corinthians 13 and tagged Agape, agape love, bear anothers burdens, christianity, definition of agape love, faith, first corinthians 13, love God. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.