I have a sister who is a runner. She recently ran a half marathon but her training started months ago. In training for long races, you start with smaller distances and then every week you run further and longer. You have to build on to what you already have and you train for endurance.
As followers of Jesus, we want to influence others for Him and that often is not a quick conversation or a quick fix. We need to be people who can carry the love of Christ for the long haul and endure even when it’s hard. In 1 Corinthians 13 it talks about a love that is patient and never gives up. I feel that at times we are sprinters when it comes to love. We can do it really good for a short amount of time but if you want us to endure it’s hard. Love is patient when we’re waiting for an elderly person to cross the street or when we are waiting for a child to choose their favourite ice cream. But is love patient when we are waiting for our teenager to stop rebelling or when we have a friend who keeps making harmful choices? Is our love quick to give up when we are unappreciated or when the people we are working with are really difficult?
God is training us to love as He loves. He often teaches us and keeps building on our understanding of His love. We should thank Him when he gives us opportunity to show love to others, to grow in our ability to love and when he enables us to endure in love.
My sister appreciated all those miles and hours of training because that was building up her endurance to last the full race. God’s desire is that we take His love out to others, not just for a moment, but for a life time. His patient and enduring love is what this world desperately needs. Are we really willing to be trained? Are we willing to persevere?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. -1 Corinthians 13:4-8