As Christians, the fruits of the Spirit are traits that should manifest themselves in our lives as we grow closer to God and let the Holy Spirit work in us. The first fruit of the Spirit that is mentioned is love so that’s what I will be focusing on today.
Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
So, my first question today is what is love? How do we define it? We throw the word love” around without regard for what it really means. We “Love” chocolate. Or, we “loved” that movie. Perhaps, “I love you.” to our spouse or to a friend. In each instance, that word has different meanings.
The type of love that I am talking about, however, is agape love. It is a sacrificial love. It is a choice not a feeling.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 NIV
How many of us aspire to this kind of love? Jesus did by dying on the cross for us. It says in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
It says in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
As much as I would like to, I know that I don’t always show this kind of love to others. In fact, I usually don’t even come close. But I do know that as the Holy Spirit has worked in me over the years, I do better today at showing this kind of unconditional love to those around me than I did 10 or 20 years ago.
I believe that showing agape love to those around us is one of the most important things we can do. It doesn’t matter what else we do, if we don’t do it with love.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails...” 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a NIV
That’s a lot to take in when you really look at it. All the other fruits of the spirit are important, but love is the most important.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
These verses show us how we are to show love to others. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us what love is as well as what it is not. I know that on my own I could never live up to those standards. I’m not always patient. I don’t always feel like persevering. I don’t always put other first, etc. I could go on and on but you get the point. It is only by daily letting God guide me. Worshipping him and praying and staying close to him. Doing my best to put Him first in my life and letting him work that I can hope to show this kind of agape love to others.
It is only by daily letting God guide me, and doing my best to put Him first in my life and letting him work that I can ever hope to show this kind of agape love to others. It’s not something I can do on my own. The Holy Spirit does it in me. That’s why it’s called a fruit of the spirit.
There are nine fruits of the Spirit, but love is the first one mentioned. All the others come after love. The greatest gift God can give us is love and it is the greatest gift that we can give to others.
Recommended Resources: The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges