1 Corinthians 13:4-7
New International Version (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
The greatest virtue is of all things is Love. The greatest thing about Love is that it is patient. Patience this is the first and crowning virtue of love. Not kindness. It is patience. The King James Version uses the word “suffereth long”.
Patience demands maturity, it demands understanding, it demands one to be in rest, it demands one to listen, it demands you being hurt for the sake of the other person, it demands silence in the midst of criticism, it demands finding a resolution rather than withdrawal, it demands waiting on the Lord, it demands you give the other person the benefit of the doubt, it demands our mind sets, it demands “not giving up”, it demands that we look beyond our interest and to look into the interest of the body of Christ. In short patience needs patience. It needs time it needs effort. It needs the ability to put no confidence in our flesh.
But for all that it demands, it yields one very important virtue: Maturity. Hence, Paul says “11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Notice Paul also comes to a full circle when he says “7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Perseveres. Perseverance. If you don’t, you may know much, teach much, do much, BUT you are nothing.
“13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
While we may be gifted with many gifts, it will wither away. But the patience we endured, it lasts forever. This is because the hallmark of Love is patience. It is perseverance. It is maturity.
Today I have been taught a very important lesson. At times we can think we know much, do much and preach much. While we can be actively moving ourselves along these things, we still move in the flesh. We move by our strength, we move not in patience. We do not persevere, we give up. In the process sadly, we do not mature.
At times our gifts and abilities makes so much noise they cloud what really matters, while they may attract attention, they do not retain them, they have the noise and the sparkle but not the tune, not the harmony and not the music. Loud but meaningless. That is why gifts exercised without patience is but noise.
I am a victim of this. As someone pointed to me in a loving rebuke, I am truly gifted, but I lack maturity. I concede. I am and I am thankful to be told in my face. Perhaps that is why he has been my best friend for 30 years.
I became a clanging cymbal. A noise maker. Attracting attention to myself and not the body of Christ. You see, it is so easy for a person who is gifted to forget the Giver. It is even easier to forget what the gifts are for. The BODY.
1 Corinthians 12
“12-13 You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink.”
Note also what Paul says “he has the final say”. Jesus has the final say so it is his life.
We may many decisions base on our gifting. Our knowledge and our talents. At times, just because we are more talented than others, we obviously assume we know more than the other. We may. But the point is this…what’s the use if it does not benefit the body.
We fall. We fall to the deception of our flesh, the vile of Satan.
There are many times, I have looked at something and say “I quit”. “I give up”. “I want to leave”. Words like these builds up our ego but hurt others, especially those who are charged to look over us. The sad thing, it justifies our ego and feeds our vanity.
At times, grace preachers like us can so easily condemn others just because they are law based believers. It is a deception of the flesh. Because Love is patient. It is always persevering. Never giving up. Never admitting defeat. Never saying “I want to leave”. Never saying “I quit”. That is the harmony, music and rhythm of Love. It is also the rhythm of Grace. Grace is not opposed to effort of the Spirit but the effort of the flesh.
Today I had a good look at myself. I had realized I was a clanging cymbal who failed to follow the harmony of the music that God wants me to play. For that I became selfish and conceited. I am short-sighted.
But my Pastor is a bigger person than me, while I may have given up on many things, he was still looking for ways to speak to me, work thru me and get through to me. Despite me giving up in arrogance. It’s funny, I said on facebook “Grace cannot be practice with arrogance” but yet here I am doing it. I must have broken his heart. And I know it is good and tender hearted one.
I have been guilty of looking to my own interest. I have failed to be patient. I have acted like a child. I have acted according to the flesh. I have not acted in love.
Love is patient. Pride demands fast results. Love suffers long. Pride refuses to suffer.
I know I am not alone here. This note may speak to all who are there who have been bitten by the “I know more than you” attitude. But today you will find one less person like that. I repent. I change my mind. I chose to find a way. I chose not to give up. I chose not to leave.
Leaving is easy. If you don’t like your boss, resign. If you don’t love your wife anymore, divorce. If the partnership doesn’t work, change partners. But whilst it is easy, it is always painful. It carries a scar. It haunts a person forever It stifles a gift. It grieves Jesus. Because His body hurts and Satan loves it. Satan loves it.
John the Baptist says, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.” (John 3:27). If we only have this spirit. To wait, to be patient, to suffer long, to persevere, to be mature. To love.
So I repent. I change my mind. I change my attitude. I choose to find a solution, I choose to work out the problems, I choose to correct my wrongs for the sake of the Body of Christ.
I am glad to known better men, men who are honest with me, men who never gave up on me, men who are mature, men who are patient with me, men who love me.
I aspire to be like them. I aspire to learn from them. I aspire to know the Christ in them.
So I repent. I will be patient. Love is patient. And God is love. God never leaves us. God never gave up on us. God is always busy on the look out for the solution. If I as a grace believer give up, I am not grace base but still law based.
So I repent. I choose the way of love. Perhaps one day I will mature. Until then I choose to love and be patient. I choose to sit quietly every Sunday and rest at the Lord’s feet.
I pray that God will work in the situations I am facing. We all make mistakes. If you are one who has blown your top recently and acted emotionally like me. Repent. Change your mind. Be patient.
3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! (Romans 5)
You cannot know or be alert of what God wants in your life without patience. For that I recant my decision to give up just like that on many issues. I hope that pleases my Savior.