5is not provoked, (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
During a week-long meeting in a church of about 600 people, I taught on God’s grace and long-suffering toward us, and many were set free. However, the pastor would lead praise and worship each night and then would conspicuously walk down the aisle and right out of the church. It was obvious he didn’t like what he was hearing at all.
I tried to balance everything so that no one would think I was encouraging sinful living, but the pastor didn’t stay for the messages. The last night of the meeting, I was desperate to penetrate his rejection of the teaching. He led a song that talked about how we should be loving and long-suffering toward others, forgiving them even before they ask for forgiveness. This was a song he wrote.
Before he left the platform, I asked him if he really believed what he sang. I asked if that principle applied even to those who treated us badly over and over. He was adamant that we should always forgive in all circumstances. Then I said, “Isn’t it strange that some people believe God expects them to behave with more love toward others than they believe He shows them?” He got the point.
Another test of whether or not we are walking in God’s kind of love is how patient we are. God’s love is always patient. As true as this is with our dealings with others, it’s even more true of God’s dealings with us. God will not instruct us to do something that He is unwilling to do. God is not easily provoked. He’s not the one with a short fuse. Many people think God is short-tempered, but that isn’t the truth.
Meditate on God’s long-suffering love for you, and let Him show you how patiently He loves you today.