"[Love] endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:7).
Love triumphs over opposition.
Endurance is the final characteristic of love that Paul mentions in this passage. The Greek word translated "endures" in verse 7 is a military term that speaks of being positioned in the middle of a violent battle. It refers not to withstanding minor annoyances, but incredible opposition. Love does that without ceasing to love.
Stephen is a good example of enduring love. He preached God's message without compromise, but his enemies stoned him to death. His last act was to fall on his knees, crying out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" (Acts 7:59). A lesser man might have hated his tormentors, but not Stephen. He forgave them and beseeched God to do likewise, following the example of his Lord, who on the cross prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). That's the endurance of godly love.
Love bears all hurts, sins, and disappointments. It never broadcasts them but makes every attempt to reconcile and restore sinners. Love believes the best about others and is never cynical or suspicious. Even when it's under severe attack, it forgives and clings to the hope of God's power and promises. That kind of love should characterize every believer.
Your love may not be perfect, but it should be obvious. If you're struggling with implementing love in some area of your life, remember these five keys:
- Acknowledge that love is a command (Rom. 13:8-10).
- Agree that you have the spiritual resources to love others as God loves you (Rom. 5:5).
- Understand that loving others is normal Christian behavior (1 John 4:7-10).
- Realize that love is the Spirit's work (Gal. 5:22).
- Be fervent in your love for others (1 Pet. 1:22; 4:8).
Godly love should be your highest purpose and greatest joy (Matt. 22:36-40). As you love others, you glorify Christ and make Him known to the world.
Suggestions for Prayer
Review the fifteen characteristics of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, asking God to increase each of them in your life.
For Further Study
Reread each reference in the five keys for implementing love in your life, and commit at least one to memory.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.