Divine love suffers long; divine love is kind; divine love envies not; does not make a display of itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself uncomely, seeks not its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but it rejoices in the truth; it bears all things, it believes all things, it hopes all things, it endures all things. Divine love never falls: but whether there are prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there are tongues, they shall cease; whether there is knowledge, it shall vanish away. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 GDBY_NT)
Something that I have been mulling over in the last few weeks is the necessity of the saints of God being so dead to themselves and alive in Christ that they abide in His love and nothing else. The times we are in in this world as it is coming apart and relationships are being strained to the limit, demands of us something supernatural if we are to remain faithful and to those who God has given us for it is written of this time, “Because of offenses the love of many shall wax cold.” The following is an excerpt from T. Austin-Sparks’ book, “My Bold Servant.”
Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love. (John 13:1 NIV)
No ministry of the servant of Jesus Christ can be a triumphant ministry unless there is a deep, strong, abiding love…. Love is going to solve our problems and to bring us into victory; but apart from a sufficient love, the problems of human make-up, the many differences of disposition and character and all that goes to make up a company, and the continuous drain and strain, with all the pressure that comes from the enemy, will present a problem, a perplexity and a paralyzing task….
We may ask, “How did the Lord manage to maintain the relationship with His disciples?” They were so difficult, so different, so disappointing. “Having loved His own… He loved them unto the end.” That is the answer. Love got above all that they were; love gave the extra thing which enabled Him not to take them just as they were and end there. So in our relationships, the spirit of the true servant is only possible as there is a deep love. Upon all those who have ideas of serving the Lord and working for Him I would urge this consideration: that the work of the Lord is not some thing which you outwardly and objectively take up. It is (if it is the true thing) the outworking of love for the Lord and for those who are the objects of His love. That is very simple, but it goes to the heart of things. Sooner or later you and I will be brought to the position where the question will be, Have we sufficient love to go on? Can we find enough love in our hearts to get us through this particularly difficult situation? The situation will be constituted by all those factors which resolve us into servants, bondslaves. It would not have become so acute if only we had been esteemed and honored, and held in high regard. But when the situation is created by a great deal being expected of us, by demands being made upon our generosity, our kindness, calling for an almost inexhaustible fund of patience, and the letting go of personal feeling; when really the main issue in the crisis is this – I am being imposed upon: too much is being expected of me: I am treated as a servant – that is where we are found out. Love alone can support this service. (emphasis added)