Abiding means enduring, remaining surviving, long-lasting, steadfast. The opposite of having ‘abiding love’ is harboring a spirit of bitterness.
My husband took a business trip with a good friend a few years ago. During that trip, my husband was not feeling well, and he made a few curt remarks to his friend. When my husband returned home from his trip, he began thinking of the uncharitable attitude he exhibited with his friend. He called his friend to ask him to forgive him for his rude remarks. My husband’s friend said in a humorous way—it just DON’T matter! My husband questioned him and said, “Why DON’T it matter?” His friend replied, “Because I have chosen you to be my friend—and nothing you do can change that!”
What a great example of a friend’s ‘abiding love. This is the kind of love that we should demonstrate to our mates, our friends, our parents, and our children.
How can I experience this kind of love?
First, if I have ‘abiding love’, I will consider my own attitudes. Before I can see clearly to take the speck out of someone else’s eye, I must first take the beam out of my own eye.
Matthew 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
If I let my mind dwell on the specks (faults) in others, I will become bitter and begin to feel like Jeremiah. His bitterness showed that he had no peace, and that he had forgotten happiness.
Lamentations 3:17 And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD:
Bitterness will make me think sinful thoughts of anger, wrath, clamor, slander, and possibly malice. When I harbor bitterness, it can hurt many people.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Second, if I have ‘abiding love’, I will be willing to go the second mile. When I begin to feel bitter against someone, I should be willing to do something nice for that person. I could make a second mile investment by preparing a special meal or buying a gift for him.
God’s word tells me in Matthew 5:41 And whosoever shall compel (require) thee to go a mile, go with him twain (two).
Even if I don’t feel that my children, my friends, or my husband deserve my ‘abiding love’, I must choose to prove my love to them. If I want something done for me, I should be willing to do the same thing for that person who has irritated me or made me angry. I must not just read the Lord’s admonitions, but I must be willing to put His precepts into practice in my life.
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Third, if I have ‘abiding love’, I will not complain or grumble about others. ‘Abiding love’ is patient. By the act of my will—whether I feel like it or not— I must choose bitterness or ‘abiding love’. The choice is up to me. I can choose to get angry and bitter and spout off to someone, or I can choose keep quiet and obey God.
James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Fourth, if I have ‘abiding love’, I will be kind. I can show kindness by the way I speak to others. I must always try to control my speech and speak in a gentle tone of voice. I need to remember that kindness will draw people to me, but criticism, harshness, and gossip will push them away. When I am kind to those who irritate me, it not only helps my attitude, but it also helps the other person want to do better. Doesn’t God’s goodness lead us to want to do better?
Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Fifth, if I have ‘abiding love’, I will not boast or brag. The Greek word for “brag” means to talk conceitedly. Conceit is an excessive appreciation of one’s own worth. II Corinthians 10:17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
A person who has an arrogant heart will be full of self-importance. He will be opinionated and get defensive when someone disagrees, reproves, or corrects him. When a person acts like he knows it all, it reveals pride. ‘Abiding love’ will seek to act proper in all circumstances, to respect the opinions of others, and to promote the happiness of others.
Although I am sure that offences will come into my life, I must not let those offences make me bitter. I must take my bitter thoughts captive and replace them with patient, positive thoughts.
Examples of Replacing Bitter Thoughts with Positive ‘Abiding Love’ Thoughts
“My friend may not be in a good mood, but I am not going to avoid her because ‘abiding love’ is not rude.'”
“I can show love to my teenager by listening to him in a patient manner because ‘abiding love is patient.'”
“Although every day I righteously endure a difficult boss, I want to show ‘abiding love’ to my co-workers. Please Lord, help Your ‘abiding love’ to endure all things.'”
“I am not going to keep thinking about what she did to me because ‘abiding love does not keep account of wrongs suffered.'”
“Since I can’t prove otherwise, I am going to show love to her by ‘believing the best.'”
“I am going to show love to my husband because ‘abiding love’ is not full of pride and does not seek its own way…'”
It is not always easy to exhibit ‘abiding love’. Putting on this kind of love is done by an act of our wills—we must choose to express ‘abiding love’.