Long Run Kinda Lovin'...
There is a treadmill at my gym that is quite unique. I love it because it does not have a motor, but rather, the tread begins to move around the mill only when the runner takes the first step. The faster you step, the faster the tread moves. It allows the runner to take long strides, but also allows control the speed at which they are running. The other day I looked down and noticed the tagline which reads, “In it for the long run!” It made me chuckle a little as it made me think of the passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4: “Love never gives up.”
Just that morning, I had opportunity to extend a long-suffering love. In the moment, I wanted to react in hurt or offense, but just as quickly as I wanted to lash out with emotion, I was reminded of ALL that I had been forgiven by my Heavenly Father! As I pondered the treadmill’s tagline a bit more, this thought surfaced: It is only the forgiven person who can truly love, let alone love with long suffering!
Another version of this verse says that love is patient. The word, "patient", comes from two Greek words that mean, “To be long-tempered by refusing to retaliate with anger because of human reasoning”. Isn't that worth pondering? "...refusing to retaliate with anger..." The literal sense of the term means, “extending a long time.” So to love patiently means to refuse to retaliate with anger for a really looooong time! Loving with this kind of patience can only unfold with divinely-directed intervention, which in this case, was a quick reminder to me of all the extravagant sin that my heavenly Father has so mercifully forgiven!
The writer of this passage used the word, “agape” for love. It is a kind of love that centers on moral preference. Not on MY preference, but on what God prefers. Allowing God’s Divine love to become THEE ONLY kind of love that I extend is impossible apart from Him! Love is not a feeling, it is a person!
1 John 4:7 says that our Heavenly Father IS love! If He is the very definition of love, then we are incapable of discerning His moral preference apart from Him! The bottom line is that truly loving for the long run, loving with a love that never gives up or gives way to our fleshly, self-centered preference, is quite simply our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us! When we keep cadence with our King, each step that we allow His love to reign in our responses to others, is one step closer to allowing His love to come to full expression in and through us! Let’s choose to love for the long run!
Some Points to Ponder:
When presented with an opportunity to take offense, do you usually choose to react with anger or respond with love?
As you look at your own life, can you think of some scenarios where you were a recipient of a patient and long-suffering kinda love?
What are some steps you can take to, “keep cadence with King Jesus”, steps that might help you demonstrate enduring love to someone close to you like your spouse, children, parent, sibling or friend?
p.s. Here is a beautiful reminder of the reckless love of God! He loves us with a love that we cannot earn nor deserve! May the lyrics wash over us and exhort us to extend the same kinda long-suffering love that we've received! (I LOVE that Cory's son is wandering in the background as his dad sings...such a reminder that our children are ever watching to see how we love! They learn to love by watching us love well!