1 Corinthian 13:6-8, NIV
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
What if God told you that you couldn’t leave the place He’s put you in? How would that change your mindset?
If God wouldn’t let you leave a place, a job, or a relationship, what would you do?
Would you endure the trial because He’s asked you to endure this season, or would you walk away from Him?
That’s a tough question, but it’s an important question. It’s a question that God asks His people at some point in their lives.
What would you do if you couldn’t walk away?
You do have a choice in the matter. That’s a gift from God. He gives you a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) and freewill to make your own choices (Romans 10:9-10).
So, would you endure or get bitter? Those are your only real options as a child of God.
God wants you to choose “endure.”
Why? It’s because “you need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” (Hebrews 10:36, NIV).
How do you make the choice to endure when things are hard and when relationships are hard?
Paul says, “It requires a love that endures all things.”
Here are five practical tips on how to love with endurance:
- Recognize that God is allowing this for your good. Sometimes it feels like we’ve got too much on our shoulders. The burdens are too big. The relationships are too hard. But could you be right where you are for “such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) Just like Esther, you don’t know what your risk to stand by and “endure” could mean for someone else’s future in God’s Kingdom.
- You have a helper in the Holy Spirit. When you don’t feel like loving someone, your first instinct may be to leave, to not call, or to avoid them completely. However, God calls us out of our comfort zones. He wants us to find comfort in His strength and love our neighbors even when they are unlovable. That’s why He gave us His helper in the Holy Spirit – to strengthen us and push us forward.
- Take courage. Your mindset is a powerful weapon when times and people are hard. When you choose to grab courage by the throat and declare you are staying where God put you, He will bless you with the spiritual endurance to love even when you are under siege. The Spirit will give you the courage you lack.
- Recognize that God believes in you. One of the greatest gifts we can share with someone else is our faith. We can believe that they are precious to God. We can see past what we see now. Did you know God believes that of you? Think about how much He trusts you with His prickly people.
- Make hard choices. Pray when you want to fight. Stay put when you want to quit. Trust when you want to doubt. Stand when you want to run. Forgive when you want to fight back.
If God has ordained certain difficult and imperfect relationships in this season, accept that fleeing is not an option. Stop imagining life without it. Declare before the Lord that fleeing is not an option, but loving is. And remember if He brings you to it, He will bring you through it.