“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7
When looking at Paul’s description of the fruit of love in 1 Corinthians 13, almost all of the attributes (13 out of 15) seem to fit into two categories: love is enduring and it is humble. Today I’d like to focus on the category of endurance. Paul says:
Love is patient (long suffering)
Love bears all things (to cover over and protect, to preserve)
Love believes all things (to credit or place confidence in)
Love hopes all things (to trust in with joy and full confidence)
Love endures all things (remains, doesn’t recede or flee)
If you were to ask people how they would describe love, I would bet that very few would use the word endurance. We tend to think of love as a soft, fluttery feeling. But Paul describes just the opposite. Love is an action, a choice we make. It takes effort to love well. Christ-like love does not just happen because you are a Christian. It must be cultivated and learned.
As the Body of Christ, are we being mastered by love? Remember, this chapter is part of a letter Paul was writing to the struggling church in Corinth. The Corinthians were not acting in love. They were “boasting in men” (3:21). They were prideful even in sin (5:1-2). They were unwilling to bear all things and were taking each other to court (6:1-8). They were insisting on their own way and causing others to stumble (8:11-12). They were jealous as they compared their spiritual gifts (12:21-22). Paul wasn’t merely defining love, he was applying love to the messed-up Corinthian church. He was saying, “This is not how love acts or feels.”
I think it is important to point out something about the enduring quality of love. Wherever there is love, there will be pain. Love suffers long, bears, and endures. This is a comforting truth. If two people, or 200 people, are in a relationship, there will be hurt at some point. This is why love must endure, believe and hope. Marriages will struggle, friendships will be tested, and those you love and who love you will disappoint you. This does not diminish love. In fact, it can deepen love if we allow God to work in and through us in our relationships.
Dear Father, Please help me not to be easily offended, but to be willing to overlook a wrong. I want to love with endurance in all of my relationships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.