Recently, my wife purchased a 2’X4’ picture of the sixteen characteristics of God’s love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Guess what, this picture now hangs on the wall just outside of my office. I cannot go into or out my office without viewing this picture. She is a wise woman. Now, when I do my “jerk routine” and take retreat to my office, I have developed a habit of viewing these characteristics to determine which one(s) I just violated. On top of that, it has facilitated me memorizing all sixteen of these characteristics in order.
I find it interesting that Paul the Apostle starts off verse four with “love is patient, love is kind…” Of all the things that he could begin a beautiful description of God’s love, he starts off with patience and kindness. I bet you if you happened to run into one of the twelve disciples (maybe outside of Judas) on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in Biblical times and asked him to describe the love of Jesus, patience and kindness would be at or near the beginning of the description.
Paul describes himself this way in 1 Timothy, 16 I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. The “worst of sinners” highlights Christ Jesus’ “immense patience.”
In Ephesians 2, Paul states in verse 7, In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. God expressed the incomparable riches of His grace…in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
You will see patience and kindness in all the major list Biblical descriptions of God’s love. Colossians 3 states in verse 12, Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
In the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) is “patience and kindness.”
If you stop and meditate on the love of God, it becomes evident that “patience and kindness” are an accurate, practical translation of His love. They are tangible, real life expressions. Characteristics that differentiate. Can you think of someone right now who exemplifies patience and kindness? If you can, I bet you have a smile on your face, warmth in your heart and respect in your thoughts.
One of the things that I have observed is that you can discuss these two characteristics of God’s love in a group setting and many in the audience will say, “I really need to work on patience and kindness.” You can discuss this again months later and the same folks will say, “I really need to work on patience and kindness.” I am not trying to be harsh or judgmental here, however we need to start practicing these not in theory but in everyday life…need to intentionally give “legs” to patience and kindness daily. To do this, we must recognize that patience and kindness can only be produced by the Holy Spirit living in and through each of us.
Patience and kindness are great translators of God’s love. They are our currency to becoming lights in this world.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Time to show the world Jesus!