The Actions of Agape Love – Part 5

I Corinthians 13:7, “Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].” This verse is a description of what love looks like all the time.

“Love bears up under anything AND everything that comes.” Two of the best examples in the Bible that exemplify this is Jesus’ sacrifice for us and Stephen’s response when he was being stoned. Jesus knew what was coming. He knew that he was going to be whipped beyond recognition, mocked, spit on, and crucified for us, not for anything that He had done. And LOVE, love for the Father and love for us, is what enabled Him to bear everything that happened during that one weekend that would change the world forever. Stephen was stoned by the religious leaders when they did not like what he had to say to them. He did not respond in kind but rather asked the Lord to forgive them-his enemies. Matthew 26:39, Jesus walked on a little way. Then he knelt with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, don’t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want.” Acts 7:57-60,The council members shouted and covered their ears. At once they all attacked Stephen and dragged him out of the city. Then they started throwing stones at him. The men who had brought charges against him put their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. As Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out, “Lord Jesus, please welcome me!” He knelt down and shouted, “Lord, don’t blame them for what they have done.” Then he died.

“Is ever ready to believe the best of every person,” This is self-explanatory. Believing the best of everyone can be difficult today, even for Christians. Everything we see, from reality television, magazines, social media, news shows, entertainment shows, movies, academia, and, unfortunately, even some churches spend most or all of their time looking for and finding the worst in everyone. If the worst is not readily apparent, we are trained to look for it. We are trained by society to be critical, distrustful, and judgemental. Love does NOT act this way. Romans 14:10 says, “Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you look down upon or despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Love accepts others as they are without passing judgement, criticizing, or looking for the worst. And love will always speak the truth in love when it is needed.

“It’s hopes are fadeless under all circumstances,” Just like love, hope is necessary for strong faith. Bible hope is to have confidence and trust that our expectation will be fulfilled. When we walk in agape love, our hope is fadeless under ALL circumstances. We do not lose confidence that our expectations will come to pass. Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.Love never fails and when we walk in love, our hope never fades no matter the circumstances.

“It endures everything without weakening.” Proverbs 10:12 says that hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. I John 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. Ephesians 4:2 tells us that “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,”

There are so many places in the Word where we are told in different ways to love one another and bear WITH one another in love. When we bear with one another, it means we love one another no matter what. It does not mean we have to agree all the time and, sometimes, it does not even mean we have to like someone. But we DO have to love them and treat them the same way the Lord treats us.

But, again, the great news is that the love of God is resident on the inside of us. That means we are able to walk in love all the time. The most important thing for us to understand is that LOVE IS A CHOICE. It is not a feeling or emotion. We make the choice to walk in love toward others. We also make the choice not to walk in love. Our responsibility is not how someone else treats us. Our only responsibility is how we treat others, even in the hardest situations. Everyone, believers and unbelievers, love those who love them. But believers love their enemies and those that hate them. It is our love that shows others we are Christ’s disciples.