November 23, 2018

Live Alive {Day 23}: Bears, Believes, Hopes, & Endures

Previous posts in the Live Alive series can be found here.

Jesus with the Weight of the World on His Shoulders, 1952
Siegfried Reinhardt

We've come to the end of the road for the love passage in this series with these verses:

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  I Corinthians 13:7

Surely hundreds of sermons have been preached, devotionals written, and studies done on this passage.  It's kind of warm and fuzzy, to think about love conquering all.  Then I think about having to live out this kind of love and the cozy feeling gets a cold.  This kind of love perseveres till the end.  I might be able to persevere till the end of the day, but not without lots of grumbling!

What kind of love is this?!  Or, to ask it another way, what does this verse mean?

I poked my nose into a couple of commentaries this morning to see what others had to say.  And guess what the New Bible Commentary from InterVarsity Press said.

Love provides both the stability and consistency
in which life thrives.


As we live out this kind of bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things kind of love in the world, LIFE WILL THRIVE.  I believe that means life with thrive within us and life will spill out of us to enliven others.

The Jamieson Fausset Brown commentary goes into a little more detail about what this love looks like (vol 3 p 322):

bears all things = enduring without divulging to the world its distress.  Literally, holding fast, like a watertight vessel: the charitable man contains himself from giving vent to what selfishness would prompt under personal hardship
believes all things = all that it can with a good conscience believe to the credit of another 
hopes all things = that which is good of another, even if the world has given up hope
 endures all things = goes through persecution with a patient, loving spirit

Friends, the world needs love like this - love that bears the weight without complaint, believes anything is possible, hopes beyond what is rational, and endures with patience.

Jesus, of course, lived out this kind of love and showed us the way to walk in it.  He also sent the Spirit to enable us to love like Him and follow in His way.  We won't do it perfectly, but because we know Love and have been changed by it, each day we look to the cross and repent, look at the empty tomb and rejoice, and then carry on to bear more, believe more, hope more, and endure another day.

Jesus says something very interesting (and dare I say startling to our modern senses) in John 15:9-11.
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."
We are loved the way God the Father loves Jesus!  Obedience to the commands of Christ is the way to remain in that love.  Obedience to His commands.  That's somethin'.  As we walk in obedience, we will know the joy of Christ and it will be full.

Not quite what we expect, huh?

What I hear Jesus saying is, if I want to know the joy that comes from abiding in Him I can't just sit around writing blog posts and thinking nice thoughts. I need to get my obedience on: loving God, loving my neighbor, bearing more without betraying my distress, believing more about what God can do in people's lives, hoping on even when were the world has given up hope, and enduring longer with a patient and loving spirit.  Okay Lord, I hear You.  Now I think we need to pray!
Lord, let us become people who abide in your love, delighting to walk in obedience to your commands, so we can know thriving life and invite others into the same.  We so desperately want to live alive and we know our only hope for that is found in You and following Your way.  Thank you for living such a life of love on our behalf, so we could be set free.  Have your way in your people, in Jesus name. Amen.

Abide in His love,
Heather 💛

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