Love is Patient
Prepare your Heart
Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud” — 1 Corinthians 13:4
“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” — Psalm 103:8
“The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” — Exodus 34:6
Many claim to understand love and even profess to be quite competent at it. Paul knew that there were arrogant men and women in the church at Corinth that boasted of their love. But Paul gives a definition of love that destroys their pretention. It is considered by many as the most comprehensive biblical description of the fullness of love. It has been described as a light that shines through a prism showing fifteen of its colors, the spectrum of love. They do not focus so much on what love is as much as what love does and does not do. Paul begins with a devastating description that leaves us all falling short: love is patient.
Love practices being patient or long-suffering. This is particularly relevant to a society and culture that wants instant everything. We struggle with being patient. If things are not going the way we want, we can be prone to quickly move on or look elsewhere. But love involves enduring trouble, being offended, and not seeking retaliation.
We are to follow the Lord’s example who is “slow to anger, abounding in mercy” (Psalm 103:8). God’s patient love has saved the world from destruction time and time again. Indeed, we should be grateful that God has not ended this great country after we have consistently sought to push Him out of government, out of school, and out of sight. Yet His patience and long-suffering allows us to continue to serve Him, see more people get saved, and try to punch holes in the darkness.
We strive to be patient because God has been patient with us. God has seen us stumble time and time again and yet is always there to pick us up out of the mud. God has seen us struggle with that same thing for years, yet His mercy is still as strong as ever and will never fade away. Since we are the recipients of so great a love, let us then shower others with a love that is patient and long-suffering.
Questions for Thought:
- What are some examples in the Bible where you have seen God be patient and long-suffering?
- Do you have any relationships that have been strained because of your lack of patience? Are we called to be endlessly patient? How can you be patient and yet protect yourself from continued disappointment?
God’s Mission, Your Mission
God’s mission in your life is most effective when we love the way it is described in 1 Corinthians 13. Our love must be patient with others. But how can we be more patient and less irritated with others? Think of it this way: if we lack patience with people then we are lacking love for them. So how are you doing? Consider this past week, or even the last day.
- In your relationships, are you patient? Are you enduring their struggles?
- Has someone gotten under your skin lately? Have you lashed out at them?
- Husbands and wives: Is your relationship characterized by love’s fruit of patience?
- Parents: How are you doing with your kids. Do you find yourself patient with your children when they disobey? Or are you quick to snap at them?
- Was there an issue at work this week? How did you respond?
- Are you easily irritated on social media or in a text? Do you publicly air your frustrations?
- Do you yell and scream at people who cut you off on the road?
- Are you losing your temper when things don’t go your way? Can you handle adversity with patience?
- Are you being patient with God’s timing? Do you find it difficult to embrace His timing?
The questions are not meant to condemn but to get you to grasp the full nature of patience. How do we respond? First, we pray in confession of sin. We take these items that God brings to our mind and we place them before Him in prayer. Even as we do, we remember that God is patient with us. Then we fully receive His forgiveness with thanksgiving in our hearts. Finally, we are launched out to love others as we have been loved.