Love... [part I]

Our wedding rings have "1 Corinthians 13:4-8" engraved
on the inside. After 9 years, I'm finally learning how to live
like I believe those verses are true.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
[1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NKJV]

Love suffers long.
In order words, love is patient.

I am not patient, as a rule. And what a conviction to be under -

when I am not being patient, I am NOT being loving.

Don't get me wrong. I can put on a patient face. I'm not usually the mom who hollers in public. I'm not the customer who speaks up when service isn't fast or good enough. I'm generally not the wife who argues with her husband when other people are around. But in my heart, I'm tapping my feet nervously. I've got my GrumpyCat attitude on. I'm rolling the eyes of my heart, and thinking that I don't deserve these things. People have told me that I always appear patient. But the Lord is tearing down that altar of "appearance" that I tend to lay myself on every day, and is continually pointing out that He is more concerned with the attitude of my heart then that expression on my face. 

God's been teaching me a lot about what He means when He says that love is patient. With Will, with the girls, with friends and family and church members and everyone else on planet earth. He's revealed that when I get squeezed - when I find myself in a painful or uncomfortable circumstance - it's not patience that comes out. It's bitterness and a sense of injustice. And because He wants me to be more like Jesus, He is patient with me - oh, He is the perfect example of patience! and I need to remember that as I do my best to love others the way He does!

I'm letting Him show me how to be more patient. Mostly, by praising Him over and over for His great forbearance with me and by writing down the verses that I find about patience, and working on memorizing them - and then doing my best to choose patience when something arises (...and extending patience to myself when I blow it).

For instance:
-when the Lord does not answer a prayer as quickly as I'd like (even if that means it might take years, or that He'll answer in a different way than I wanted!)
-when something (big or small) happens to throw MY schedule & plans for the day.
-when Will says he'll get around to something but then doesn't do it as quickly as I'd like.
-when E just. can't. get. her. math. facts.
-when A interrupts me for the tenth time because she is just SO excited to share something neat.
-when H disobeys the same request three or four times.
-when spills, accidents, messes, falls, and/or spontaneous creativity happen at our house. all within a few hours of each other. daily.
-when a cashier is new on the job and doesn't quite remember what to do. or if they are not new on the job, and are just having a crummy day themselves.
-when I get "stuck" behind a car that's traveling well below the speed limit.
-whenever I start to focus on anyone else's sinful behavior.
-when people in my life don't do things the way I think they should, or
-when people don't see things the way I do.

Ugh! When I take the time to think about how proud and rude and arrogant and selfish impatience is, it makes me cling to Jesus all the more and bury my face & heart in His Word to see what pure patience is and how it acts. It makes me realize that I can do nothing apart from Him - not even be truly patient with others, because my heart attitude is wrong. If I put the needs and desires of others, and God's glory, in front of my own plans and wishes, there will be a proper attitude of humility that results in loving forbearance toward every other person I know and meet.

Verses I turn to:
The end of a thing is better than its beginning;
the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry,
for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
[Eccelsiastes 7:8-9]

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
[Romans 12:10-13]

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and great in mercy.
The Lord is good to all, 
and His tender mercies are over all His works.
[Psalm 145:8-9]

By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, 
and a gentle tongue breaks a bone.
[Proverbs 25:15]

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 
[Ephesians 4:1-3]

And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
[Romans 2:3-4]

Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.
[2 Thessalonians 3:5]

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
[Galatians 5:22-23]

Love suffers long. And if I want to truly love like Jesus, I must be willing to suffer long too!

When is it most difficult for you to be patient? Do you have a verse you turn to when you need help remembering to be patient (and would you share it)?

Praising God for His example of patience,
for His glory!
Click here for Part II: Love is kind!
Click here for Part III: Love does not envy!

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  1. I just love this,can't wait and read part 2 (heading there next!). Thanks for the encouragement!
    Sarah From www.thehopejourney.wordpress.com coming over from proverbs 31 wife

  2. This speaks right to my heart and it's rolling eyes!! I am going to come back and read this again in the morning again and then go on to Part 2. Blessings!