Thursday, June 13, 2013
Ingredient #13 - Faithfulness (Love - Part 15)
"...endures all things..."
I Corinthians 13:7
If I was writing the recipe for love, I would probably throw in as my last ingredient, "endures most things." I mean, come on, can love really endure all things? What about unfaithfulness - not just in marriage but friendship has its share of unfaithfulness, doesn't it? What about sorrow? What about cheating and lying? Stealing? What about...well, let's go back to lying. Lying stinks and in a relationship, lying can be the final nail in the relational coffin, so to speak. Does love have to endure lying? Does love have to endure distance? Cold weather? Being let down? Moving? Gossip? Habitual sin? Come on, love has to have an end to its rope, doesn't it?
Not according to God.
True, sacrificial, You-Before-Me love endures ALL things. It loves through good times and bad, it forgives easily and restores quickly. It doesn't demand its pound of flesh to get even - it endures anything life and relationships throw at it. It is completely and utterly...faithful.
Love doesn't falter, it doesn't waver, it doesn't trip.
It doesn't thin out, it doesn't have runs in it and it doesn't tremble.
Love stands firm, continues to flow, and provides stability when the ground is shaking.
Love endures all things.
This has to be true or else the gospel will fail. If our example is Jesus Christ, then we have to confidently believe that love can and will endure all things. There is nothing outside the bounds of God's love for us and we know this is true when we look at the cross. I guess I need to clarify - there is only one thing outside the bounds of God's love and that is rejecting His love. But His love freely flows to us because He paid the full cost of it 2000 years ago.
If love does not endure all things, then we could lose the gift of salvation. Something might happen and Jesus would finally say, "I am finished! I can't take it anymore! It's just not worth it!" But instead, Jesus said, "It IS finished," and at that point, love endured everything that it possibly could endure. Jesus isn't suffering anymore. He paid it once and for all (Hebrews 7:26,27).
Within faithful love, we see patience, kindness, trust, humility, unselfishness, protection, holiness, self-control and hope. All these ingredients bond together in our reduction sauce because of the enduring faithfulness of love - it's always there and it can withstand anything.
As for us, though we are limited, we are still called to endure all things with a love that surpasses understanding. The world should look at us and think we're crazy. Without Christ, this love is not only impossible but incomprehensible. But we can only love this way with our eyes on Jesus. If we turn them to the world, we will quickly have a faithless love - a love that depends on the other's actions and not on our ability to choose to love. If you wonder why your love falters, get an eye exam and find out where your focus is spending time.
As love bears, believes and hopes all things, when others let us down, then love endures all things. We do this constantly to God and guess what? His love continues on.
Stop for a moment and go grab a spoon. You need to taste your sauce...it's hot and bubbly, and has reduced to a thick gravy (sorry, Fred) that will change the lives of those you choose to feed it to...do you have that spoon yet?