Thursday, June 11, 2015

June 12, 2015

"Love is patient. Love is kind." I Corinthians 13:4

Two of the best Biblical descriptions of God consist of a total of five words!

They are, "God is love" and the description God gave Himself, "I Am".

I Corinthians 13 gives the detailed description of "God is love." Where ever it says "love" in this chapter you could substitute "God" and it will still work well!

For example, our verse today - "God is patient. God is kind."

And, indeed, God IS patient toward me and kind to me!

His patience is an aspect of His nature and an expression of His grace.

I don't deserve His patience but He extends it to me. That is why it is grace!

Nor do I deserve His kindness but He has extended it to me! That is why it is grace!

Again, you could paraphrase the verse - "Grace is patient. Grace is kind" and it still works!

Likewise, you can take God's self-described moniker and use it here - "I Am Patient" or "I Am Kind". Yes He is!

It becomes even more meaningful when understand the word used for "patience" in thes Testament's writing. The word is "makrothumia" and it literally means "a long wrath". 

You have probably heard of the expression, "he has a short fuse". You know that means a person is quick-tempered. Well, this word literally means "long-fused". 

Another commentator offered the concept of a "high boiling temperature".

There are several Greek words used for patience or perseverance but this one, "makrothumia" refers to patience toward suffering inflicted by a person rather than a circumstance. It means someone who takes the cruelty or pain inflicted by another person and does not retaliate toward that person.

When you couple "patience" with "kindness" it becomes even more gracious! It conveys the idea of someone who absorbs the cruelty and responds with goodness, kindness, helpfulness or compassion.

That sure sounds like grace to me! That is precisely what God did for me!

God, in Christ, absorbed my sin, my evil, my rebellion, and responded with forgiveness and mercy! He was kind to me when I was not deserving of kindness!
"Love (Grace) (God) is patient. Love (Grace) (God) is kind."

Wow! That is the supernatural, unconditional, eternal, "agape" love that God had for me from the very core of His Being! It is Who He is!

God wants me to receive this love. He wants me to live in it and enjoy it. He want to shed it abroad in my heart so others will be drawn to it through me!

He wants to literally "love me to life" so He can love others to life through me!

This is "the more excellent way" Paul refers to in his letter to the Corinthians.

Who wouldn't want to live in love like that?

If it were available and offered freely to you why would you not take it?