It is written:
1 Corinthians 13:4-Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
Christian love is a virtue which is learned over time with the help of God. It is not based on a feeling. Paul makes this clear in his writings:
1 Timothy 1:5-Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,
The point that Paul stresses here is that the purpose behind all of God’s teaching is to produce within us the kind of love that is the Nature of God Himself. Philip’s translation is one of the best that I have found of this passage:
1 Timothy 1:5 (J.B. Philips New Testament In Modern English)-The ultimate aim of the Christian ministry, after all, is to produce the love which springs from a pure heart, a good conscience and a genuine faith.
This love is something which we learn and which God helps produce in us. It is important to realize that this love is something which we learn and grow in over time.
When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 13, he describes the kind of love that God wants us to learn and apply to our lives. In verses 4-8, he provides fifteen characteristics of this love.
The first characteristic of love is that it is long-suffering, or patient. Now, Paul had an important reason for stressing this in 1 Corinthians. The church at Corinth was horribly divided and the members of the church there were quickly getting “fed-up” with each other. Rifts were forming, divisions were cementing, and the unity of the church was in desperate array.
So Paul points out that we need to learn to be patient. As Barclay points out, this is not talking about patience with situations so much as it is patience with people. These were brothers and sisters that were getting frustrated with each other. They were hurting each other in their anger, lashing out and creating terrible emotional wounds.
We need to learn to be more patient with each other. After all, hasn’t God set this example for us?
Exodus 34:6-And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
Psalm 86:15-But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
Isaiah 30:18-Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
1 Timothy 1:16-However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
What if God had treated us with as little patience as we often treat each other?
We need to learn to be long suffering.