My family loves superheroes. If we are going to watch a movie together it is most likely going to be a superhero movie. Superheroes are powerful and they take down the bad guys. I think that God’s love is just like that, it is powerful and it can take down the bad guys. I can defuse more anger bombs by the nitty gritty of love than I can using my own power of anger. Where does the power of love come from? It is from God. In the bible we are told that God is love. (I John 4:16)
God is love and love comes from God. (I John 4:7) If we want to love like God and have his powerful love flow from us, we need to be in God through Christ. I talked about what that is in my last post. This is supernatural love I’m talking about here, not your love song, romcom type of movie kind of love. You don’t have it just because you want it, it comes from God Almighty!
Agape. Have you heard of this Greek word? It is a type of love. And when we are talking about God’s love for us, we are talking about agape (uh-ga-pee). This love seeks the best interest of the one who is loved. This is not a selfish love, but a self-giving love.
When we move on here, in the next few post, as I share about the attributes of love, I want you to picture a beautifully wrapped gift that you give to someone with no strings attached. That is the picture I want you to imagine in your head when you think of each of these characteristics of love. When we are filled with God’s love and are giving it away to those we come into contact with, it is a gift of free will with no strings attached. As a side note, this is not to say that in all relationships we are in are one sided with love. Healthy loving relationships have a huge component of give and take. I wouldn’t want to be married to someone who didn’t love me back. Or if I was the only one in a friendship who did the calling and caring I would wonder if the other person loved me back. Yet, when I choose love, as a lifestyle, with everyone I encounter, I need to give agape love, the selfless kind of love.
So, what does this love that comes from God look like? In the bible, in the book of Corinthians we are given a list of the characteristics of this love. I love when the bible gives list! I want things broken down and explained. I like to take the words in those lists and study them to go deeper and better understand what they mean. In I Corinthians 13:4-7 you will find this list of what God says love is.
I want to tackle the first word. Patience.
I talked to two random people that I encountered this week about patience. First, there is a woman who works at the bank I use, who is moving into a newly constructed house behind our home. A large piece of land was sold and subdivided. She is waiting for her bank, the very bank she works for, to approve of her loan, so that escrow can close and they can own their new home. She was telling me of the troubles of it taking so long and how the place they rented to live in, they had to move from and are now living with her in-laws as they wait to move. I asked her what she has learned about patience in the process. She said that she felt that she had been patient. But the waiting had brought on anxiety. She told me that her face broke out in a rash on her face. Also, her husband went to the doctor and was put on medication for his escalating blood pressure, due to the stress of their situation. What I gathered from her answer to my question of patience, was that waiting and trying to be patient in an unknown situation can lead to stress and stress can manifest itself in physical problems in your body.
Yesterday I stopped at Dairy Queen to get a blizzard for my son. After I gave my order, an older gentleman came into the restaurant and was in line behind me. There was one person working drive through and then the person at the front counter. He waited, and waited, and watched the counter guy work on other’s orders. The counter guy said nothing to the man and then man was getting frustrated. He asked if I had given my order. I said yes and that it looks like they were shorthanded. The man agreed, but he was still frustrated. I said he should be patient (because patience has been on my mind) and that patience was a virtue. Then I felt like I may have said too much (when do I not?) and proceeded to say something like “did your mother tell you that when you were young?” He said that she did, looked me square in the eye to say that he thought she was crazy for saying that. “Patience isn’t a virtue,” he said. I asked him if it made him frustrated to wait, and he replied, “No, angry.” Next, the counter guy had my blizzard ready, I told the man, “Have a nice day,” and he seemed at least pleased to have a conversation with someone, said some nicety that I don’t remember and I left.
Both of these encounters made me realize why love is patient. When a person is not patient, they become frustrated, get anxious, and get angry. These are not things that bring about good in your own life, or the life of another person. In I John 1:19 – 20 we are told: “But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” This verse tells us how to be patient and to avoid anger. (Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.) To be patient means that you are looking at the other person with a greater understanding of what is going on with them and where they are at in life. Patience is others focused, not me focused.
For example, when I am patient with my teenage son, I have to remember that he has a lot on his plate, is navigating life with only a few years of experience, still learning, and doesn’t even have a fully developed brain. When I am patient with my husband, I realize we are very different and do not look at life the same way. He is male and I am female, and right there is enough differences to explain away many misunderstandings. When I am patient with my husband I realized he has a lot of responsibilities with his work, and the responsibility to provide for our family. When I am patient, I lessen my expectations and try and look at who he is and what he already gives. When I am patient when out in the world, I realize that I am not the only customer in a store, not the only person waiting in line, and that the person who is working may be new, have a headache, or just got yelled at by a customer two minutes before I arrived.
Really, being patient is humbling yourself and realizing the importance of the other person, and having understanding for where they are at in life right now, this minute.
So if there were a super hero by the name of Patience, he would be a stealth fighter, quietly standing his ground, waiting it out, and taking down the bad guy of anger. This bad guy lives in all of us. That is what the super natural act of love looks like, when love is patient.
What are your thoughts on patience? When is it most challenging for you? When has someone shown you patience and how did it effect you? I would love to hear what you think on this topic. Plea