The Actions of Agape Love – Part 1



Today, we are going to talk about the first three actions of agape love that are listed in I Corinthians 13:4. They are enduring long, being patient and kind and NEVER envying or boiling over with jealousy.


Enduring Long and Longsuffering

The definition of endure is “to continue to exist over a long time, to experience without giving in, to undergo without yielding, to put up with something, especially something difficult, annoying or painful.”  Agape love in our lives is to continue over a long period of time.  We are not to give up or yield to hard situations or people.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.  (Hebrews 12:1-3)
0 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.  (Revelation 3:10)
And then many will fall awaya] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  (Matthew 24-:10-13)

These verses admonish us to hold fast to that which we have (the agape love of God which we received at salvation), to run our race with endurance, and to always look to Him who endured hostility so that we will not grow weary. We are not to give up!


 Longsuffering and Patience

Longsuffering is very similar to enduring long AND to patience.  Longsuffering is defined as “enduring trouble and provocation long and patiently; very patient during difficult times.”  Patience is “the ability to remain calm when dealing with a difficult or annoying situation, task or person; the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.”  The very similarity of these characteristics tells us how important it is that we make the decision to walk in love, that it will not be easy at times and that we will ALWAYS have an opportunity to be obedient in love.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  (Romans 5:3-4)
 Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.  (Joel 2:13)
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  (2 Timothy 4:2)
 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.  (I Timothy 1:16)

We can suffer in this life through circumstances or through our interactions with other people. The Word instructs us to follow the example of the Lord Jesus. What did He do? He displayed his perfect patience as our example (which means we have perfect patience within us), He is slow to anger, He taught the Word with complete patience (some do not understand the first time they hear it) and He suffered persecution with endurance. He IS our example. So, we are to handle our situations in life the way he handled His situations.



Kindness is simply to be kind.  To be kind means we have a friendly, warm-hearted or generous nature.
 The native peoplea] showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.  (Acts 28:2)
And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”  (2 Samuel 9:7)

These verses demonstrate kindness to others. In Acts, the native people (who were not born again so perhaps that is why Paul refers to it as unusual kindness) welcomed them and built a fire for them after being shipwrecked. And David showed kindness to Jonathan’s son by taking him into the palace AND restoring all his lands. David did not have to show this kindness and it was not expected. Kindness from us is not dependent on the actions of the recipient. It is only dependent on our obedience to the love of God within us.


Envy and Jealousy

Envy and jealousy are very closely related, even synonymous with each other.  Envy is a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another with a desire to possess the same advantage, to begrudge, malevolence.  Jealousy is an unpleasant emotion felt when you think someone is trying to take what is yours, feeling anger when you think a loved one is being unfaithful, feeling a mean anger toward someone because he or she is more successful.  Envy and jealousy are emotions that surface when we covet, deal dishonestly with others or when we encounter situations where others are dealing this way with us.
Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.  (Proverbs 23:17)
 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  (Titus 3:3)
Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.  (Philippians 1:15)
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,a] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who dob] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Galatians 5:19-21)
Surely vexation kills the fool, and jealousy slays the simple.  (Job 5:2)
 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy...(Acts 5:17)

Envy and jealousy are NOT characteristics of agape love. We are cautioned not to envy sinners because we were once like them, engaging in malice and envy, hating others and being hated by them. Envy and jealousy are works of the flesh and those who engage in them will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The Word even shows us that religious leaders and preachers can operate in envy and jealousy. This should be a warning to all of us that we must stay vigilant and keep the agape love of God in us strong so as not to allow the natural human traits to dominate. When these ugly traits try to rise up, reject them immediately. Do not give voice to them. Thoughts may come, but they have NO life or power if we do not voice them.

Rather, give voice to the agape love in YOU, your kindness, your longsuffering, your patience, and your endurance.  You may not feel kind, longsuffering, patient or enduring but you are.  God lives in you and His characteristics are your characteristics.  Own them, walk in them, act on them.  You ARE a love child of a love God!