Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.
John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.
It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.
Love like Jesus.
Love is the goal of all of Christian life. Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus. The life and death of Jesus. This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13. Let’s consider
Love is not irritable
It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.
Jesus is not irritable
Paul used a lot of Greek terms that are rarely used elsewhere in the New Testament when he wrote this passage. This particular word we find here is only used one other time in the New Testament.
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.
Guess what word is the same as “irritable” in our study. If you said, provoked, you win a cigar!
Let’s get some background to this verse.
Paul was wandering around Athens, waiting for his partners in crime, Silas and Timothy to show up, when he started to notice that the city was full of idols. This provoked Paul, irritated him, it was like a sharp stick that goaded him as he saw this idolatry. Of course this irritation was channeled into a season of reasoning with the Athenians, which brought about further preaching opportunities. Not much fruit came of this initial preaching, but that is immaterial to the topic at hand.
Paul channelled this irritation into good. We cannot avoid being irritated at times, yet love is not irritated. How do we reconcile our real ife with this claim?
If I am walking in love, nothing will ultimately irritate me. This is a huge claim, and reveals the weakness of love I experience toward some during my day. The issue is that “the love” I walk in is not compatible with the love defined in the Word. That is a problem!
If I am irritated over the guy who swerved in front of me on the highway, I need to be thankful I wasn’t cut off and run into the ditch. If I was run into the ditch, I need to be thankful my car didn’t roll over. If my car rolled over, I need to be thankful that I survived the accident. If I didn’t survive the accident, I will be home. That will be a day of great thanksgiving.
Is that too simplistic, too general, too easy of an answer? Tell you what I’m gonna do. I will practice a thankful heart around my chief “irritator”. Hey, and if I don’t get back to you on this, you have my permission to try it on your chief “irritator” – you know who I mean!
My point is that as I have been experiencing irritability recently and been searching for solutions. The solution is to have a thankful heart.
Jesus replacing Love
So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?
I can’t help but think He has had every irritator available to vex, provoke, annoy and aggravate Him. His character has shown that personal attacks did not irritate Him. He walked in love. Those times when anger rose, He was responding to our lack of concern over who the Father was.
My morning memory verse was
For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
I realize that reproach implies a rebuke, a blame and a discrediting of another, and this is where much of my irritability roots from. Yet when God the Father was shamed and defamed, He absorbed this vitriolic action. He not only did not react out of provoking, He eventually stretched out His hand and received all our hate.
Yes, He is not irritable. He is calm, loving and in control.
Please join me in our next study where we will consider how resentment relates to the Christian life.
I look forward to comments and discussion. May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.
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