Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bearing and Believing, Hoping and Enduring

Today's passage:  I Corinthians 13:7
     Charity..."Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."
I remember a preacher in my Bible college chapel preaching on this passage and saying that this verse was a progression.  In us, it probably is.  It would be hard to endure if I didn't hope, believe, or bear first.  But with God, who has perfect charity, it can not be.  He doesn't ever need improvement, His love doesn't have to build.  Here is what I have learned from these four characteristics about the Trinity.
     Beareth all things...God is strong enough to bear all of our problems.  He doesn't whine or complain about the weight. For Him, the lifting is easy.  Jesus bore the weight of the cross, the weight of rejection, the weight of our sin.  Bearing these things not because He was forced, but because of His love for us.  The Holy Spirit bears with being pushed away, with being grieved, with being ignored.  He puts up with a lot.
     Believeth all things...God believes me to be righteous and holy when I am not.  He believes it because of the debt His Son paid to make me righteous and holy.  Jesus believed in my worth and value by dying for me.  The Holy Spirit believes in His ability to transform me.  He believes in the power God has given Him to make me a different person from what I am naturally.
   Hopeth all things...God hopes every sinner will come to repentance.  He hopes all of His Creation will realize He is the Creator and He deserves our worship.  He hopes that if He allows this earth to remain one more day, then one more soul will be saved.  The Lord Jesus hopes people will recognize that His sacrifice is enough.  Nothing more needs to be done, nothing added.  His substitutionary death on the Cross of Calvary paid it all, and He hopes that every person trying to work their way to Heaven will someday realize that.  The Holy Spirit hopes that the tapping on the heart will open wide to Him.  He hopes the call to the mission field will be answered.  He hopes the nudge to talk to the person in the grocery store about Christ will prompt action.
Jesus stands at the door knocking
Taken from Standard Bible Story Readers, Book Six
By Lillie A. Faris
Illustrated by O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland
The Standard Publishing Company, 1929
     Endureth all things...God endures His name being used in vain.  He endures people who claim He doesn't exist.  He endures us transgressing His laws and explaining why they shouldn't be there.  He endures people tossing His Words in the trash or burning them. He endures His Words being twisted, simplified, changed.  Jesus endured over thirty years in a human body.  He endured limiting His power.  He endured questioning, ridicule, unbelief, semi-belief in the form of being made a mere historical figure and not the Son of God.  He endured betrayal, beatings, crucifixion, burial.  He endured separation from His Father.  The Holy Spirit endures living in a Christian heart that is cold, indifferent, unresponsive.  He endures getting too much glory for the work in our lives, and sometimes, not enough glory for the work in our lives.  He endures having His gifts squandered or exaggerated. 
     When I see these traits of love, and I think of how marriages are entered into so quickly, thrown away so lightly, exited so frequently, it is clear that we don't understand God's love.  If we did, we would put up with a lot more to make marriage work.  If we understood God's love better, we would never walk past a person without asking about their eternal destination.  We would sacrifice and tolerate more if it would make a difference in a person's eternal soul.  If I loved God like He loves me, I would spend more time with Him, listen to Him better, do more for Him.  He has given so much for me.  He has given so much to me. I am amazed that anyone's love for me could be so perfect.  I can never get into an argument with Him about not loving me enough, about not understanding me, about not doing enough for me.  I might think those things about my family and friends at times, but God can never be accused of it.  Can I ever love like He loves?  I can only attempt.  And even though my attempts will fall short, it is better than not trying at all.

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