I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 again this morning, and yet again I'm struck by the utter contrast between the love God calls us to have for one another in the church and the way the world loves. But it is easy to deflect a passage away from ourselves and onto others. It is right that we apply a passage to the world, looking at how far short the world falls of God's purpose and plan even as it thirsts and hungers for what God intended it to enjoy. But it is never enough to stop there, in fact it is wrong to do so if we never turn the convicting light of God's word onto ourselves.
God calls us to love but that is something we find hard to do. We have a tendency to love by common denominator, to love those who are like us, share or views, who we feel are of benefit to us, who love us in return, or who we aspire to be like. But the Bible calls us to love as God loved us in Christ. To love those who are unlike us, to love the different and the random. But all too often I find it easier to go for the liquid love that mirrors the world, that is easily washed away by pressure, or tiredness, or stress, or simply someone doing something I don't like. But God's call is to a love that pursues, that perseveres, that is patient and so much more.
Longsuffering is the way older translations often translate that word patient and I think there is something beautiful about that word, it is descriptive, it speaks of bearing with, it speaks of pain and difficulty, it speaks of long term commitment, it speaks of enduring love not liquid love, a love built on solid foundations not sandy ones. As I read of God's love I can't help but be amazed and thankful and humbled. As I see the call to love like that I can't help but throw myself on the mercy of God because I cannot do it, but as I do so I am amazed again that God not only calls me to love like that but fills me with his Spirit so that I love like that. So that I fight the battle with liquid love and seek to love as I have been loved.