Love – In all things

bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NSAB)

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

I struggle with consistency. Once I get disciplined in something, I am great, but the battle to keep it consistently going all the time is difficult for me. It can be anything from exercise to eating well and with my schedule. So when I read words like “all” and “always,” I become very aware of my weakness to stay consistent and focused.

God gently reminds me once again that He doesn’t ask me to do anything in my own strength but that everything He calls me to do is to be done in His strength, and He is my strength in my weakness.

I love using Vines, a biblical dictionary. My heart desires to understand the words that I am reading to get to the heart of what God is saying to me in His Word. I used this resource as I looked up these words in this scripture to get a full picture of what was written here.

To Bear: the greek word stego means: to protect, or preserve by covering

When I think about bearing with one another in love, I often think of prayer. My friends and I tell each other that we have each other’s backs. As we cover one another in prayer, that is protection.

We can’t fix anything in anyone’s life; as much as we try to do that, it is impossible. God is the only one who can do that for them. Unfortunately, We can’t make anyone get well or want to know Jesus. We can’t mend the heart of our grieving loved one or heal up the past wounds of a friend’s heart or even our own. We can be there in tangible ways by sending cards or making a meal, but it is all a temporary help.

To truly bear with one another means to be praying for each other. I find that people often look at praying for someone as not doing much, yet it is the most powerful and effective thing we can do to love each other.

To Believe: the greek word pisteuo means: “to be persuaded of,” and hence, “to place confidence in, to trust,” signifies in this sense of the word, reliance upon, not more credence.

When I read this definition, I was brought back to a memory from many years ago. My husband has a motorcycle we ride on together. I have struggled with fear and lack of trust for many years. I could give you every “what if” scenario you could think of and often many more you might not have thought about in your mind. I was struggling with fear that day. I heard God say to me, “I am not asking you to trust Duane; I am asking you to trust Me.”

God is not asking us to believe in people or trust people who aren’t trustworthy. He is not saying we need to trust what others can or will do, but to trust in who He is in other people and who He is to us.

To love others means we let go of trying to control them or make them into what we think they should be. It means trusting God and placing confidence in Him to help them be who HE wants them to be and to be who He has created them to be, not who we think they should be for us.

That revelation that day on the bike was a breakthrough for me in trust. Trusting God fully has been a journey and a process for me because of people wounds, but something shifted in me that day, and I pray this revelation of truth will shift your mindset today as well.

To hope, the greek word elpizo means: “to trust”, “on whom we have set our hope”.

Here again, you see the word trust. Who do we set our hope upon? If it is other people or ourselves, we will be disappointed and discouraged. We can’t love other people by putting hope in what we can do or say or what they can do or say.

We love others by putting our hope in Jesus, who He is, and what He can do. We love others by trusting God to do His work in their lives, not us doing what we think we should do to influence them or change their minds about something. We love others by putting our hope in Jesus for them.

The battle is real friends. I am in it daily. God has given me a heart that loves incredibly deep, and He gives me eyes to see things sometimes I wish I didn’t. It is a blessing to help me to pray well for them, but being a person who loves deeply and desires to fix and help make things better, it can be a dangerous combination that the enemy can use.

Even now, as I write this, I hear God speaking about different people in my life. I don’t have what they need, and I can’t be the problem solver, but I can bring them to the One who has created them, who holds them in His hands, and loves them beyond anything I could imagine.

May God help us love others by bringing them to Him instead of trying to control them or situations. May our life and actions say that we put our hope in Jesus.

Sometimes, God shows us different ways to love them alongside Him, as He does His work in them. When we love them in obedience and in step with God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, it can be a mighty and amazing thing, but it has to be in line with Him and not on our own.

To Endure, the greek word hupomeno means: a strengthened form of No. 1, denotes to “to abide under, to bear up courageously” (under suffering).

This is a beautiful picture for me. As I read these words, I see the picture of abiding in Christ, abiding under the shadow of His Wings, where I am strengthened, and can bear up others courageously in the midst of whatever they are going through.

We can’t endure or persevere in our own struggles and battles or with one another unless we are abiding in Christ. We will not be strengthened or protected unless we abide under the shadow of His Wings. That abiding in Christ is necessary for us to love God and to love one another and ourselves.

Taking time to abide with Jesus and to connect to the vine is loving God, it is loving others, and it is loving ourselves.

Sometimes we battle with taking the extra time to sit with Jesus when it is needed. We have the mixed-up mindset that we are somehow lazy or inefficient, but it is one of the best things we can do. We need to go and be filled with His living water and the bread of life, so we might continue walking out this life, bearing up others courageously in the midst of the trials and struggles of this life and the spiritual battle we will continuously be in until Jesus comes back.

I want to encourage you today with some extra side notes. Love is not a box. This will look different in every relationship in our lives. God doesn’t want us putting ourselves in an abusive situation, and reconciliation is not the answer or solution for every relationship. Boundaries are important and necessary. However, no matter the relationship, this definition of love can be lived, even if we can only keep our distance and pray.

God has brought some conviction to my life recently as I have been learning more about forgiveness. Prayer is a natural response for me, and I am good at praying for those I love and care for, but I struggle to pray for those I don’t like as much or those who have hurt me. I am beginning to practice that more and more each day.

My heart fills up with such appreciation for God. He never leaves us without a way to do what He has called us to do, and no matter where we are with others, we can pray for them, and that is living out this scripture. We are bringing them to the One we have put our hope and trust in, knowing He can do way more than we can think or imagine. He loves them more than we can even begin to love them, and He can do the same kind of miracles in their lives as He has done in ours.

Let’s commit to starting there. Our two challenges today are to take time to abide in Jesus today. Rest in Him under the shadow of His wings. Take time to pray and bring those relationships before Him and lay them at His feet. Let Him guide you in how you can love those people right now. May you see God move and work in ways you have never seen Him before, especially in your own heart.