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In First Corinthians 13:4-8, Paul describes the characteristics of agape love. God designed these verses to help you determine whether or not you are walking in this kind of high-level love in your own life.

As Paul begins his description of the conduct of agape, he first writes, "Charity [agape love] suffereth long...."

The words "suffereth long" are taken from the Greek word makrothumia, a compound of the words makros and thumos. The word makros means long. The word makros may indicate something that is long, distant, far, remote, or of long duration.

The word thumos means anger, but it also embodies the idea of swelling emotions or a strong and growing passion about something.

When these two words are compounded into one, it forms the word makrothumia, which pictures the patient restraint of anger and therefore longsuffering. It can be translated as the words forbearance and patience.

The word makrothumia ("longsuffering") is like a candle that has a very long wick. Because its wick is long, it is prepared to burn a long time.

It is ready to forbear and patiently wait until a certain person finally comes around, makes progress, changes, or hears what you are trying to communicate or teach him.

This is the picture of a person whose feelings for someone else are so passionate that he doesn't easily give up or bow out; instead, he keeps on going and going and going, even though the other person doesn't quickly respond to him.

So when Paul says, "charity suffereth long," his words could be rendered:

"Love patiently and passionately bears with others for as long as patience is needed..."

Dear friend, this means agape love doesn't throw in the towel and quit. In fact, the harder the fight and the longer the struggle, the more committed agape love becomes.

Like a candle with an endless wick, it just keeps burning and burning and burning, for it never knows how to quit.

This, of course, is contrary to human nature, which says, "I'm sick and tired of waiting and believing. If that person doesn't come around pretty soon, I'm finished with this relationship."

Are you in a relationship that tests your patience? Are you tempted to throw up your arms in exasperation? If so, you need a good dose of agape love to be released in you!

Shed Abroad
According to Romans 5:5, the agape love of God has already been "shed abroad" in your heart by the Holy Spirit. This means you don't have to come up with this supernatural love by yourself.

The words "shed abroad" are from the Greek word ekcheo, which denotes a pouring forth, a discharge, a spilling out, or something that is dispersed in abundance.

In other words, God has magnificently bestowed on you sufficient love to be longsuffering in any relationship or situation.

God's love has literally been poured forth, dispensed, and shed abroad in your heart.

So when you ask the Holy Spirit to help you, He will release a river of this divine love to flow forth from within you and cause you to be supernaturally longsuffering toward that person who has frustrated you so much.

It's just a fact that human nature is short-tempered and intolerant, but agape is slow to anger, slow to wrath, and doesn't know how to quit!

It supernaturally becomes stronger and more committed the longer it takes to get through to the heart of the one who is loved. This is a miraculous love—a love that transforms and changes people's lives.

Source: Sparkling Gems From The Greek by Rick Renner
Excerpt permission granted by Rick Renner Ministries

Author Biography

Rick Renner
Web site: Rick Renner Ministries
Rick and Denise met while they were each on an individual quest to wholeheartedly follow God’s plan for their lives. Rick was a college student, growing in his teaching ministry. Denise was a talented vocalist. She chose not to pursue a course that held the prospect of performing with the Metropolitan Opera so that she could instead pursue a relationship with Rick and fulfill her heart’s desire to enter full-time ministry.

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