Most Christians know the Love is Patient verse.
4 Love is patient and is kind. Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5 doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-6 WEB
I used to think that this passage is meant for believers to follow. I needed to be patient. I need to be kind. I need not be jealous. I am not to brag. I am not to be arrogant.
But, when I examine myself, I realized that I am NOT patient, NOT kind (not all the time anyway), am jealous sometimes, brag too often and is arrogant most times.
Does this mean I do not have love?
This is serious because 1 Corinthians 13:1 says that if I have the gift of tongues but do not have love, it profits me nothing and I am nothing but a clanging cymbal. I do not want to be a clanging cymbal nor be nothing.
But when I measure my performance with the Love is patient verse, I fit the bill of a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:2 says that if I have the gift of prophecy, or wisdom or understanding, or faith, but not love, I am nothing.
Verse 3 says that if I give away all my possessions to the poor or is hardworking but do not have love, I gain nothing.
It seems that love is the most important thing to have. What happens when I do not have enough love?
The King James Bible uses charity and not love in 1 Corinthians 13:4:
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;1 Corinthians 13:4-5 KJV
So, is it love or charity?
In the original Greek text, the word used in this verse is AGAPE.
It is defined as “the highest form of love” or charity.
How can my love be the highest form of love?
I started to think this is impossible. But when I stopped looking at myself and started looking towards Jesus Christ. I discovered that Christ is patient. Christ is kind. He is never jealous, He does not brag and He is not arrogant.
Let’s take another look at 1 Corinthians 13:1-4 again and place the emphasis on Christ.
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but do not have Christ, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but do not have Christ, I am nothing.
If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have Christ, it profits me nothing.
Christ is the key.
Since I have Christ, I know I am not unprofitable. I am not a clanging cymbal because I have Christ.
He is my exceedingly great reward. Hallelujah! Amen!
Let’s look at the Love is Patient verse again, focusing on Christ.
Christ is patient, Christ is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonour others, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs.“
Finally, this makes sense. 1 Corinthians 13:4 refers to Christ, not me.
I’m not the only one who came to this conclusion. Hillsong Worship uses the Love is Patient verse in the same manner in a song called Elohim.
I stand upon the solid rock
Of faith in Christ
This steadfast hope shall not
Break apart within the trial
I am assured
His promises will never fail
As long as life remains
He is faithful
God is patient
God is kind
He does not envy
He does not boast
His ways are higher than my own
His thoughts consume the great unknown
Of this alone I am sure
My God is love
I draw my breath under His
Created windswept sky
I know my hope shall last
Long after my flesh retires
From dusk until the dawn
He calls His children home
His righteous love outlasts generations
He is Almighty God
Maker of the earth
He is the Lord of hosts
God of endless worth
His kingdom stands above
Every living soul
His love is like the sun
Ever true Shining over all
I find it liberating and faith-building when I look away from myself and look to Jesus Christ. Only when I do that can I then have the faith and strength to live the Love is Patient verse out.
Possessing Christ allow me to love, be patient, be kind. I don’t have to be jealous or arrogant because I have everything in Christ.
We have come to the end of this post. I hope you have found what you are seeking. If not, keep looking. For Jesus said,
9 “I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.Luke 11:9-10 WEB
For God so loved you, He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for you. You are precious to Him.