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As I have studied the “agape” love as it is described in the bible, and specifically here in 1 Corinthians 13, it makes even more sense to me that this love is not based on an emotional response to circumstances, but is a commitment to the welfare of the one I love. Over and over, the teaching in 1 Corinthians 13 makes it plain that this love is focused on the benefit of another person. This is especially true of verse 7. It is like a powerful 4-point summary in the middle of this beautiful description of what the Lord has designed this love to be. This verse reads:
“bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NKJV)
The previous two posts discussed the first two phrases in this verse. Now, let’s look at the third phrase “hopes all things.” The key word here is “hope.” In our common language, we typically use this word in a different way that it is usually used in the bible. Usually, we could substitute the word “wish” when we use the word “hope.” We are talking about a desire for something to happen.
The word translated here as hope has a stronger meaning in the scriptures. The word is translated in other places as “trust” and “expect.” It is the confident expectation of something to come. Let’s look at some other passages that use this word.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.” Hebrews 11:1
“who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,” 2 Corinthians 1:10
“For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end” 2 Corinthians 1:13
Now, let’s take this understanding of hope as a confident expectation of what is to come and apply it to love. Remember that love is only realized in a relationship. This confident expectation is directed toward the one we love. It means that we expect the best of them, possessing an optimistic view of how things will turn out, in this life or, more importantly, in eternity. The following verse in Romans comes to mind..
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
As I mentioned in the last post, think about how this impacts the ones we love. How will it make them feel to know that someone has such confident, positive expectations for them? Think about the inspiration that provides.
This kind of attitude is tested when troubles arise, but possessing this kind of love means we will continue to confidently expect the best of the person we love. It also means we will do what we can to help that positive and Godly outcome become a reality. This can sometimes be a challenge. Sometimes circumstances develop or decisions are made that make it difficult to maintain an optimistic expectation for someone. That is where we need to remember that the essence of this love is the commitment to the best interest of the one we love. It is also important to remember how often we are on the other side, making decisions that make it difficult for someone who loves us to maintain that confidence in us.
When our love gets tested, remember God’s love for us. How many times have we frustrated Him by the decisions we make?
What do you think about this? Do you find it difficult to “hope all things”?
So, let’s put this into practice.
Love …hopes all things… in my relationship with ___________________
Put a person’s name in the blank and spend some time thinking about this in your relationship with them. This could be a spouse, friend or other person with whom you have contact. How would this improve your relationship?
What does this teach us about love?
Also, don’t forget about the previous phrase in verse 7; love covers, supports, protects and has confidence in…
Until next time…