Summary: The Holy Spirit can help all Christians to love in ways that are patient and kind.
What is love, from a kid’s point of view?
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love."
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
"Love is when someone hurts you, and you get so mad, but you don’t yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings."
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay."
"Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
"You really shouldn’t say ’I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
That’s what kids think. But what is love, really? What does it look like? How can it be defined?
Last week we took a look at the first 3 verses of 1 Cor. 13 and were reminded that nothing beats love. No spiritual gift you may have or desire to have will ever be more important than having and expressing authentic Christian love for other people.
1Cor. 13:1-4 (NIV) If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Paul then goes on over the next 4 verses to describe love in many different ways. That’s because love is easier to describe than to define – you know that someone loves you when you see these types of attitudes and actions coming from them to you. AND – even more importantly, you know you really love someone else when your relationship with them is marked by these attitudes and actions. Over the next few weeks we’re going to examine these descriptions of love and at the same time examine ourselves to see if we pass the “love” test in our most meaningful relationships as well as with those in our church body and even those outside these relationships. Let’s jump in today with two simple descriptions of love, from 1 Cor. 13:4:
4 Love is patient, love is kind….
Love is patient.
Before I give all my answers, let me throw out this question: What do you think it means that “love is patient”?
Love gives people time to change.
There is something about human nature that tends to minimize our own faults and magnify others’ faults. When it comes time for others to put up with our faults and weaknesses – we are so generous. “Just give me time, I’ll get it!” But when it comes to putting up with the faults of others, we can get really bent out of shape waiting for them to get things straightened out.
When you love someone – you extend to them the same grace you hope they will extend to you.
As a parent this is a constant challenge for me. Sometimes I dream about what it would be like if my kids only needed me to say things once – and they would never need a reminder or a correction or a discipline again. That would be awesome! But it would make them robots, too!
Because I want to extend to others the type of love that God has extended to me, I need to give people time to change.
Love is willing to wait for what it desires.
There is one very obvious application of this truth – and that is in the area of physical touch and sexual relations.
Lust is impatient. Lust wants to be gratified – now! But love, if that is what is really going on, is willing to wait for gratification until the circumstances are pleasing to God – AFTER the wedding vows are spoken!
Single women – don’t fall for any stupid lines by guys that they can’t wait or that you need to give in in this area. If you are getting pressured – that is not love – it is lust.