In my estimation, the hardest words for the Christian to swallow are those found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus says that when we show love like he showed love, then it will be apparent to the world that we are his followers.
The 1 Corinthians passage puts feet to this concept of love.
As we read through this list which includes things like kindness, patience and being non-boastful, we naturally nod our heads in agreement. These things are obviously good.
But it’s not ‘in theory’ that these words are hard to swallow. It’s in practice.
When push comes to shove, and you’ve waited years, or decades, for what God has promised, are you still patient?
When you have no defense against false accusations, will you still show love by “bearing all things”?
After all, that’s what Jesus did.
Our sin nature fights these things–fights them tooth and nail.
But just as God provides guidance, he also provides hope.
“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
In the simplest way, what separates followers of Jesus from the rest, is that followers of Jesus act like Jesus.
This is what real love is.