When Paul told us “Love is patient” in 1 Corinthians 13 we thought he was talking about our spouse, kids and the guy at work who often gets on our last nerve…right? I mean he couldn’t have meant that we would ever love God by being patient with Him…could he???
Scripture is clear that we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength but we seldom consider what this means apart from an emotional response to God’s own love and grace. We “feel” love for God and often consider the job of “loving Him” to be done. But love is never defined in scripture as a feeling. Love is never an emotional experience. We agree love often produces emotions but love itself is much more than any particular set of feelings.
Paul gives us a list of things love is in his letter to the church at Corinth. This, of course, is not an exhaustive definition of love but more of an illustration so we might have an understanding of the actual substance of it. Love is right attitude and action toward God and others. Have you considered your attitude and action in relation to God lately?
LOVE GOD BY BEING PATIENT
When we love God by being patient with Him we are recognizing a basic fact of our faith, God is God and we are not. Patience is allowing someone to live their life how they want to do so without anger when they make choices contrary to our own. When it comes to God patience is a matter of the acceptance of His will and timing of His will for our life.
Patience with God is one of the greatest ways we can express love for Him yet it is very often a difficult way to do so. God’s ways truly are higher than our own. We often don’t understand why He does act, the way He choose to act or why He sometimes refuses to act at all. We often fail to comprehend the timing of His activity either. Yet, if we are to love God with all of our heart we must lay down our will, die to self and recognize His Lordship over us. We must declare He is Lord and God!
So how are you doing with all of this so far? How is your patience with God? If you are reading this and feeling as though you have room for improvement you are far from alone! Some of the greatest Christian men and women have struggled to love God by being patient with Him. Waiting on the Lord is seldom an easy thing and often fraught with the temptation of impatience and even anger.
Some of the greatest missionaries of history devotedly spread the seed of God’s Word and yet had to wait long periods before seeing the fruit of their efforts. William Carey, for example, labored 7 years before the first Hindu convert was brought to Christ in India, and Adoniram Judson toiled 7 years before his faithful preaching was rewarded in Burma. In western Africa, it was 14 years before one convert was received into the Christian church. In New Zealand, it took 9 years; and in Tahiti, it was 16 years before the first harvest of souls began. –Our Daily Bread
How the men and women of God in these great endeavors must have prayed, wept and pleaded with God for blessing and fruit. How they must have wondered if they were in the will of God. How they must have questioned the decision to leave the comfort and ease of their homeland to move abroad when there was so little to show for their sacrifice. It is only human to have these questions but power of the Holy Spirit within them enabled their love of God to be demonstrated by patience which far exceeded what might be humanly possible otherwise. It wasn’t the passion for souls which kept them on the shores of distant lands with so little to show for it but their love God expressed in patience as they waiting on the Lord to act in the way they hoped He would do so.
Are you being called right now to love God through patient waiting on Him? Would you love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength? Would you show Him the reality of your commitment by your patience with Him? Will you pray:
“God make me willing to be willing to be patient with you today. Please enable me to be content with your will and your timing. please help me to love you well by be patient with You. May Your will be done in my life as it is in Heaven. in Jesus name, amen.”
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