By Elaine Baldwin| @elainehbaldwin
Endure all things. I Corinthians 13:7 “Love endures all things.”
When was the last time you used the word endure in a conversation or in an email? Have you used endure in a text or on Twitter today? If you did it was probably with a tone of discontent and disgruntlement. I know that’s how I most often use this word.
“I had to endure a whole afternoon of mandatory training.”
“I don’t think I could’ve endured one more minute of his demeaning jokes.”
“Can’t endure this heat.”
So, when I come to a section of Scripture about love that tells me I must endure all things in order to love, I am not too thrilled with that concept. It sounds like an awful burden and drudgery; something I will have to reside myself to doing. It certainly is not the Hollywood picture of love that is so appealing.
But a closer look at the Greek meaning helps us see love that endures has to be strong and courageous. It is active. It is an act of the will. And it is priceless.
The basic meanings of the word endure are: to tarry behind, to remain, and to persevere. Biblical endurance means to hold fast to our faith in Christ while in the midst of trials and misfortunes. And loving endurance does this bravely and calmly.
In other words, loving endurance is not for wimps!
The egocentric ignores the buzzing cell phone when a friend calls in the middle of the night, but patient endurance forsakes sleep and walks through the pain with the one who is loved.
The cowardice makes excuses when the call for action comes from the pulpit, but courageous endurance sets aside fear and serves with love the unlovable.
The self-serving clutter their day with more and more of what they want, but selfless endurance empties their desires to make room for love to meet the needs of others.
The social climber jumps over crushed hearts and steps on shattered souls to get to the top of somewhere, but loving endurance tarries behind and pulls the weaker one alongside on their way to grace and mercy.
Love endures all things. We can’t just reside ourselves to this kind of love. It can’t be a “Well, if I have to.” If that is all we have, then that is not love at all. “If I have to,” is the epitome of selfishness and pride; the very opposite of love. And we all know what God thinks of pride.
Check yourself. Do you love with biblical endurance? Or do you love because you have to?
Photograph provided with permission: http://richardsandcompany.smugmug.com/