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.
Enduring all Things
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 endures all things.
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 endures all things
Remember verse 4? I made a claim that Paul uses two different words for patience.
This is the verse where he pulls the second word in.
If you have been reading along with the entire series, you will recognize “hupomeno”.
If you have not been following the series and would like to consider the post where we compared the two Greek words describing patience, check out this recent post.
To endure under difficult situations, to abide in a trial, to stay under. This patience relates to circumstances that are trying, and produces a fruit in the believer, if he stays under, resides in the trial, even rejoicing in it.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
James does not give the believer any false confidence that God will crown him if he continually seeks to escape a trial, a difficult time, a series of set backs or disappointments, but that he is to abide under trials.
Love endures all things. Love suffers all things, resides in difficult situations.
One of my favorite terms to consider when I or a loved one is going through a trial is the Greek word thlipsis. Say it out loud. It is such a cool word! (Not like kaka! If you haven’t been following along, it is a term that has a graphic definition!)
Thlipsis is a term that descibes the crushing of grapes, of pressure, of squeezing together. Trench, in his awesome “Synonyms of the New Testament”, describes thlipsis in the following histoical picture. “When, according to the ancient law of England, those who willfully refused to plead guilty, had heavy weights placed on their breasts, and were pressed and crushed to death, this was literally thlipsis.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God
But Carl, why would we need to reside under a crushing experience if God loves us? Kindly remember that God is looking to create the Son in us, that the gospel message includes suffering for the saints. As modern American Christians, we have escaped physical suffering for the most part, yet there is no guarantee of continued respite.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
God’s love for us includes the ultimate goal of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. This is a lofty goal, which includes suffering before glory.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren
Endurance is the characteristic of love. This endurance, that is hupomeno, is related to the situations we find ourselves in.
It is amazing in this passage that Paul, in his description of love, refers to patience multiple times, and that in using the two terms for patience in the Greek language provides us a full orbed challenge to follow after the Master in quiet submission, waiting on the Lord.
When I was a youngin in the Lord, very very young, I met a godly lady in the church who spoke of a recent evangelistic meeting she attended. She spoke of a young enegetic believer who, when the invitation was given, dragged his friend up to the altar to get saved. She chuckled, but I broke in, commending this fellows love and desire to see others saved.
Carl, it is the Spirit of God who draws them, we cannot but pray and beg the Lord to bring them to their knees. The lost must decide on their own, or it will simply be of no use.
As believers, we are to wait on the Lord, to pray and also to exercise patience. This is not to say we do nothing. We are to pray to Him for souls, and live out the Christian life of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Jesus replacing Love
So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?
Jesus endures all things. Based on the historical reading of the New Testaments, He has proven to all of His endurance.
Patience with His enemies
Although patience with people is technically a different Greek term, this summary is intended to exhibit the seemingly unceasing patience of the One who loved His enemies, who drew them to Himself. Some came, and some continued in thier rebellion. This does not negate the power of patience, or the reality of His love, but simply the hardness of our hearts in rejecting such love.
The patience He exhibited includes the scorching message of Matthew 23 and 24, where He condemns the actions of the religious leaders in the nation of Israel. His message to the Pharisees and Scribes is among the harshest messages in the gospels. Is this a proof that He lost His patience and “blew up”, lost control and let it all go? Not at all. His message is methodical, convincing and prophetic. The passage starts out with the phrase ” Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples”. He did not raise His voice, start yelling uncontrollably and “loose it” He laid His argument out, and let the truth speak.
Eventually they crucified Him. His patience with His enemies is unparalleled.
Patience with His disciples
The examples are numerous in the gospels, but let us consider the time of prayer in the garden.
Mark 14:37-38, 41
And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” …
And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
The failure of the disciples is evident here. Jesus speaks the truth of the flesh being weak, but also adds that the spirit is willing. Is this a general truth of speaking of the disciples spirit, that is that Jesus knew they wanted to obey, but simply could not due to exhaustion.
My friends, when was the last time you experienced disappointment in a friend or family member.
We have recently experienced a betrayal in our family, in that my daughter has suffered a tremendous disappointment. For her sake, I will not speak of specifics, but understand that this betrayal cuts deep. My first reaction was to find a way to get even.
She spoke of not retaliating, that the betrayer is still a human (that is suffering), and that he will suffer in the future for his current decisions. In her pain, she lived out of this patience I simply write about.
My initial reaction is not the same as Jesus’ reaction with those who disappointed Him. He gave correction, He stated truth, and He did not reject His friends. He saw what they might become, not what they currently were
Patient in His sufferings
1 Peter 2:23
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
Consider this verse. Please take a moment to meditate, dwell on this verse and the complete “unnaturalness” of Jesus reaction to suffering.
Patience in His present Kingdom
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
During the building of His Kingdom, Jesus has exercised patience with His followers, taking the failings, fragility and frustrations of His people, turning it around for the Kingdoms good, and continuing the growth of His world wide assembly of believers. Nothing will stop His Kingdom.
Not even the gates of Hades
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Are you alright with that? Are you convinced of His patience, or His endurance? We are to follow His example.
Please join me in our next study where we will consider the summary of all these characteristics of love. Hope to see you there.
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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