Love as a Character Trait

By David Kowalski

“to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;” (Romans 2:7 NASB)

True godliness in all of its aspects manifests as character traits which are known by their depth, strength, and consistent perseverance over time.

Both Pharaoh and Saul cried “I have sinned” (Exodus 9:7, 10:16; 1 Samuel 15:24), but they did not persevere in godliness through a long term changing of their ways. Proven character is only seen in consistent perseverance in good conduct (Romans 5:4). Those who vacillate according the moment’s feelings are double minded and unstable in their ways (James 1:8).

Christ-like love is not seen in a momentary show of emotions. Typically, if someone is hospitalized by an accident, people will swarm to visit and give such things as flowers, balloons, and cards. The church will band together to give one week of meals to the family.

Once time passes, however, and the victim is still suffering and lacking mobility, almost no one is around to offer long-term, daily help. Sentiment has been expressed but true caring that persists over time in helpful behavior is what distinguishes real love from momentary sentiment.

The hard work of persistent caring and helping is physically and emotionally tiring, but real love perseveres in spite of this. Paul said love is patient, bears all things, and endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

This is love as a proven, character trait, and it is a rare and precious quality. Paul saw this trait in Timothy, calling it “genuine concern,” commenting that he had “no one like him” because others were preoccupied with “their own interests” (Philippians 2:20-21 NASB). The factor that shows loving concern is genuine is its perseverance over time, willingness to be inconvenienced regularly, strength in the face of difficulty, and continued diligence when the way is old and tiring.

“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13 NASB)

© Copyright 2013, David Kowalski. All rights reserved. Links to this post are encouraged. Do not repost or republish without permission.

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This post was last updated: Jul. 3, 2013