Are you thinking, “Really?!? This, again?!? I’ve read/studied 1 Corinthians 13 so many times and heard sermons galore on love; I don’t need to read your post on it, too! Other things are calling for my time.” Before you exit out of this, please hear me! It’s not me, beckoning to you! God’s the one Who instructed me to explore and write about love…from this chapter! He’s already shown me nuggets of truth that are fresh and new in my life…and a way of looking at love that’s changed some interactions I’ve had, even just these last couple weeks! Love is defined in our world very differently than “what God prefers,” which is the definition of agapé love and what the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 is about! We need to fully understand Who God is and what He prefers in order to weed out imposters of true love and explain/show it to others! I’m praying you’ll take some time to dig in with me. What will God show you?
We’re going to excavate Verse 7 of this chapter and continue focusing on what love is.
There are four things that Verse 7 says love does…and every single one of them has “all things” describing when love does them. “All things” means just that; we’re to do what God prefers in each and every situation we encounter.
Each situation, involving a lot of work or activity + Each situation (still a lot of work) + …(You get the idea) = All (one at a time, gradually encompassing a large magnitude)
So, what are the four things Verse 7 says love continually does?
Bears. What’s that really mean, anyway?…In every conversation, in every situation, we’re to be a safe place for others. The Greek word used here for “bear” or “protect” is stegó, which refers to a strengthened roof that keeps out rain. I love this visual! In order to be this bearer or protector of others, we need to recognize Who our “strengthened roof” is (God) and put all things under His protection (you can read more about this thought in a previous post, “What’s it Look Like to Abide?,” by clicking the link at the end of this post). We aren’t putting things under His protection by standing out in a torrential downpour with a little umbrella we grabbed, that buckles at its ribs under the pressure; that’s using our means to try to protect ourselves.We put things under His protection by moving to safety under His covering and staying put under His keeping, relying on Him! He does the protecting and strengthening! As we make the move and abide under His protection during the scorching heat and intense storms of our lives, God enables us to help show others how to come in out of the “rain” and “heat” in theirs, as we relay Who our Protector is and focus on these truths. God will strengthen and refresh not only us in order to endure these times of our lives, but others’, as well. Since God is love, He’s the One, ultimately, Who “bears all things;” we just have to get in position (close to Him, under His protection, and yielded to His authority).
What can this look like?
Praying with someone or reading Scripture with them. A friend offered to come over, when I was first dealing with a lot of my health stuff, and read a portion of Scripture with me that the LORD had been putting on her heart. I was in tears. Amidst the chapters she read were verses God had highlighted and used in my life over the previous months. The act of listening, while she read, brought to my heart and mind additional truths through God’s Spirit, while reminding me of what He’d already spoken to me! I was SO grateful for that time! I can’t say I’d thought a lot of sitting and reading Scripture with people before as a way of walking a journey with them, but I saw, then, what an encouragement it can be, when we let the LORD, through His Spirit, lead in pointing us…and others… to Truth! Maybe it’s sending a similar text, email, or phone call, as the LORD brings someone and a passage of Scripture, specifically, to your mind. I’ve received many words of encouragement this way, as well; they’ve helped focus my heart and mind on different Truths.
Quietly listening, then graciously leading someone to Truth.
Making sure that when someone shares something with us in confidence, we don’t share it with others.
Giving aid to those physically needing it, as the LORD leads, and giving credit to Him.
Endures. This means to stay under the weight. So, not only are we to stay put under God’s protection, but we’re also to bring anything that divides our being into pieces (that causes us to not be whole), with us under His “roof;” it’s there we can throw off that “thing,” under His care, because He cares about, thinks about, and is interested in us (1 Peter 5:7). “Endure” comes from two Greek words: 1. hupo, meaning “under” (typically referring to being under someone else’s authority) and 2. menó (which, again, brings us back to understanding what it means to abide). It’s when we bring the weight to Him and stay close to Him, under His keeping and authority, that He empowers us to endure.
Believes. This word is a verb (action) form of “faith,” which comes from a root word, meaning “persuade” or “be persuaded, come to trust.” It’s not persuading ourselves, where the belief is self-serving. It’s God allowing us to see and understand truth and our trusting in it…in Him.
Hopes. Once again, it’s a verb (Are you getting the picture that love is not only Who God is, but how He actively shows Himself to us, and how we, in turn, actively show Him to others, including God Himself?). Hope is expecting what’s certain about what we believe, based on what we’ve come to trust about God (faith).
Can you see how all four of these actions of love are related? An active belief in what God has promised or Who He is shows itself as trusting what He’s said. If we believe something is true and sure, it makes sense that we’d expect it to be as we believe (which is hope). If we believe something that God has persuaded us is true (faith) and expect it as certain (hope), we’ll find God’s authority as a safe place and bring our brokenness under it (bear), and He’ll enable us to endure. This is love; it has everything to do with God. I don’t think we always recognize these aspects as love, but they’re all reflections of what we believe and come to trust about God, Who is true love, Himself; they’re ways we express our love for Him in return.
What have your actions been saying about what you believe and expect (hope in)?
Is God your safe place? Are you bringing your brokenness under His authority and experiencing His strength, empowering you to endure? Are you abiding in Him? Are you a safe place for others?
If you’ve missed the other aspects of love, as defined in the earlier verses of Chapter 13, please check them out at the top of this page, on the right side, under “Latest Growth (aka Recent Posts).” Next post, we’ll dig into what love isn’t.
The LORD and I finished up a day in the Bible study today! Whoo hoo!! This finishes off the last day in Week 7! More than half way--five more weeks to go to write the full 12 weeks He's commissioned! Praising Him!!
I thought the day of the study was nearing it's end last week, but the last several days have been spent in the proofing process. It was here that the LORD showed me even more! I'm so excited! What was disjointed has been joined together, as He's shown His beautiful intentions!