“Love Without Limit” ( 1 Corinthians 13: 6-7, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“Love keeps no score of wrongs,” writes Paul to the church at Corinth. Love “does not gloat over other men’s sins, but delights in the truth. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance.”

How do we love without limit? The father of the prodigal son is a great example of loving without limit. His son demands his inheritance early, then when his father lovingly complies with this request, the son squanders the entire amount of his father’s hard-earned money. Later, during a famine which comes across the entire land, he finds himself wallowing in the mud along with pigs; alone and desperately hungry. No one is willing to help him. He thinks, I’ll go back to my father, the man I’ve disrespected and essentially cheated. Perhaps he’ll let me be as “one of [his] paid servants.” (Luke 15:20) When he returns, his father sees him coming from far off. This man goes out to his son. He takes the first step towards forgiveness, keeping “no score of wrongs.” This father’s love has “no limit to its faith, its hope, [or] its endurance.”

Jesus is, of course, the ultimate example of loving without limit. On the cross, as He is suffering, He looks out at His enemies, at those who have put Him there, and says, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.” This is love that has “no limit to its faith, its hope, [or] its endurance.”

Let’s love without limit. How do we accomplish this kind of love? Loving without limit requires the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. He loves through us. Only He is capable of not keeping “a score of wrongs,” of not losing hope, of enduring betrayal, lies, pain, wrongdoings of all sorts from those around us. Only God is capable of loving without limit.

Advertisements

“God Accepts Us; Let Us Accept One Another” (Romans 15: 5 – 6, HCSB) by Carley Evans


God gives endurance. He builds hope through endurance. He gives encouragement and instruction through His Word. God allows us to live in unity and harmony with one another “with a united mind and voice” glorifying Him.

God fills us with joy and peace. He makes our hope overflow.

God gives us grace. He shows us His mercy.

God accepts us.

“Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother’s way.” (Romans 14: 13)

“Therefore accept one another, just as the Messiah also accepts you, to the glory of God.” (Romans 15: 7)

“But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the tribunal of God. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14: 10 – 12)

Rather than criticize, you ought to live in harmony. If you have a conviction, says Paul, you should “keep it to yourself before God.” (Romans 14: 22) Paul encourages the pursuit of “what promotes peace and what builds up one another.” (Romans 14: 19)

Therefore, accept your brothers and sisters in the Lord. Do not criticize. Instead, join together with them to praise our God, who gives us endurance, encouragement, hope, peace, and joy.

“Love Endures All Things” (1 Corinthians 13: 6 – 7, ESV) by Carley Evans


Love bears.
Love believes.
Love hopes.
Love endures.

Love bears, believes, hopes, endures all things, says Paul.

Job’s wife says to her husband, “Curse God and die!” (Job 2: 9)

At the foot of the Cross, “the rulers scoff at [Jesus], saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!’ ” (Luke 23: 35)

Job’s love of God bears up under enormous pressure. Christ’s love of us and His trust in His Father endure enormous evil from the hands of men.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by [such] great…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 endures the cross, despising the shame.” (Hebrews 12: 1 – 2)

“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal.” (Philippians 3: 13 – 14)

And the goal is love. “Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13: 8)

“To Be Perfect” (Romans 5: 3 – 4, ESV) by Carley Evans


“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

“That which does not kill us makes us strong,” says one of the characters in the play, STEEL MAGNOLIAS. The character says this to a mother who has lost her young daughter. This mother says, “No. No. I’m not ready for this. I was supposed to go first. I was supposed to go first.”

So often, we are not ready for the tragedies which befall us. They blind-side us. Somehow, we forget that life is hard, and that everyone suffers. We seem surprised when bad things happen, and ask “why?” We forget that the real question is “why not?”

James writes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1: 2 – 4)

To be perfect, complete and lacking nothing, Jesus suffered. “In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5: 7 – 10)

As Jesus suffered, so shall we. Counting our sufferings as joys is the most difficult task we face. Look back on your life; see if it isn’t true — true that after a particularly difficult time, you found a new strength, a new happiness, a new peacefulness you did not fully know or appreciate before your time of testing, of trial, of suffering.

“Endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5: 4 – 5)