There sure are a lot of shades of meaning in the dictionary for the word “up,” especially in terms of the number of colloquial idioms we employ for it: to loosen up; to give up; to mess up; to screw up; to tighten up; to light up; to touch up; to fix up; wash up; speed up; clean up; dry up; warm up; clam up; save up, etc., etc. The word “up” in most of these cases seems to serve as a mild intensifier for the verb it accompanies.
This reflection on all the meanings of the word “up” comes from a reflection on one particular two-preposition idiom that fascinates me: “to put up with;” to really put with; to cast one’s lot with (if we parse the phrase). But the dictionary says the phrase means “to tolerate,” and that is the way it is most often construed.
Now, there is a lot in leading a Christian (spiritual) life that one “puts up with” – but in what sense? Do we just tolerate certain people, certain things, or do we really put with (cast our lot) with them? There is a lot within the meaning of “put up with” that helps define the message of the Christian life. There is a lot in life that we find downright difficult if not impossible to put up with. There is that which we cannot even tolerate. We react to these things in life defensively and with rejection. But this may be at the farthest extreme from Your message. If we are able to approach the same things with tolerance, in other words “to put up with” them, we move closer to Your ideal and Your example. Most of us get stuck at this stage yet still go on thinking it’s quite Christian. It may be closer, but it’s not really there yet.
I think “to put up with,” in the sense of the Christian message, means more like “putting in with;” casting one’s lot with, not just tolerating but projecting and identifying with the strengths and weaknesses we have in common which are a lot to put up with. The manner in which we choose to put up with them describes the quality of our lives.