Fruit Of The Spirit: Love

Love on a fence

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

In the book of Galatians, Paul is talking to the church in Corinth. He is looking at a church that is being divided in what it means to be a believer in Christ. Some were stuck on the old way of doing things, such as circumcision and what is ate. Others were saying that there was freedom in Christ.

Paul points out that there are two ways to walk in this life. One is in the flesh, which is living in sin and sinful ways. The other is living by the Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, which is living in righteousness and holiness.

Man at two paths

The challenge now comes in as to what does it look like to be holy before God. What does it look like to live a holy life or to walk by the Spirit?

Actions that occur in life have results. These results show the true nature of the action. Driving too fast around a corner will result in a crash. Telling lies will result in being untrustworthy.

Plants grow up and bear some type of fruit. It is a result of the plant growing and maturing and doing what it is supposed to do. Each plant bears fruit in accordance to what type of plant it is. An apple tree cannot bear oranges, but only apples. A pear tree cannot bear apples, but only pears. It has to keep within its own nature and what it is supposed to do.

Apple tree

Just as there a signs of what something is by its fruit or results, there are signs and results in those who are believers in Jesus Christ. Every believer will want (or should want) to live and walk as Jesus did. He was always led by the Holy Spirit in everything that He did.

Believers who are walking as Jesus did by the Holy Spirit will bear the fruit of the Spirit. There are results that will show when one is walking with God.

The first fruit that I will be looking at is love.

Couple on a bench

Love is something that people talk about a lot. They fall in love, they fall out of love. They love something. They love someone. They love to do certain things. And the list goes on. Yet, what is love? Is this the love Paul was talking about as a fruit of the Spirit.

To find out what love is we must look to the bible and see what its definition is. The greatest short definition of love is found in 1 John:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:8-10 

God is love and Jesus is the exact representation of God–love. God does not just tell us that He loves us, but He shows His love for us.

It is easy to say that you love someone or something, but it is harder to prove it. It takes effort on your part to show it.

Showing effort is easy sometimes. When things that are going well for you or people are treating you well, it is easy to say that you love that something or someone.

Running stairs

The real test of your love comes when things are not going well and others are not treating you correctly. You may love your car when it is running correctly, but it is easy to begin to hate and despise it when it keeps breaking down or has faults in it. How you react to the situation or person determines if you are showing love, if you really love the person.

Most often when someone treats a person badly, the reaction is anger and striking back, retaliation. People want to get back at the person or get even with him. Does this show love?

No, it shows selfishness and hatred.

Selfish me

Selfishness is the exact opposite of love. Love is all about the other person, whereas selfishness is all about self.

Look back at the verse John wrote. God showed His love by sending His Son as a sacrifice for your sins. Love is action, not just words. It is self-sacrificing action for others. Love is putting others above yourself, your needs, wants and desires.

This is the very opposite of what the world wants and displays. The majority of the world is all about self. This even occurs when large donations are given. The donations are given for a tax break or to look good to others, not out of true love. Often the donations are given out of the abundance, not out of the limited and need, or sacrificially.

Giving blood

Sadly many in the church have fallen into the same way of thinking as the world. People do various ministries in order to look good to God or to other people. They want to be seen as holy and righteous, when in reality they are very selfish.

Showing the love God shows will often be difficult and painful. The one who shows true love will often get hurt by the ones they are showing love to. Yet, this is what God wants of the believer.

We, as believers and followers of Jesus, are to be just like God–love. We should be the embodiment of love, love incarnate.

As you are led and walking by the Holy Spirit, you will begin to show that perfect love. It may not be perfect, but it is striving towards the perfect love of God each and every day. Love will govern every thought, action and word each and every moment of every day. It will never take a day off from loving. It will never set love aside for selfish reasons or to get out of the struggle to love.

Love tiles on bible

The other benefit of showing true love is that you will not sin when showing that love. You will love God, so you will not do anything against God. You will love people, so you will never try to hurt them in any way on purpose. You will make the right choices every time, because they are motivated by love and by God’s love for you.

Seek God to reveal to you how your love life is. Is it an example of the temporary, selfish love that the world shows? Or is it the love that God has for you and this world, perfect, unselfish and self-sacrificing?

Allow God’s Holy Spirit to fill you up with His love. Allow His love to govern your every thought, action and word. Let the fruit of love be evident to every person who sees you.

Thank you for stopping by and reading. Next week I will be looking at the next fruit–joy.

1 Peter 4:4 Are You Surprising The World?

 

Surpised man

They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 1 Peter 4:4

The majority of the people in this world like to live having a good time. They want to do what they want, when they want and how they want.

Teenagers and college students are commonly looked as the ones who live wild and reckless lives. They are often portrayed as party animals, that do nothing but party and be reckless. While it is true that a vast majority do party and have a reckless time in that part of their life, they are not the only ones who live wild and reckless lives.

Millions of men and women get drunk or do drugs everyday. Millions daily sleep around outside of marriage each day. Millions engage in activities that are dangerous and sinful, that will cause problems down the road. This can be seen with people from teen-age level all the way to senior citizens.

Peer pressure is applied to anyone who does not agree with them and join in the wild living. Because of that peer pressure, many more cave in and join them.

True believers in God will stand out as different. Their lives are not guided by having fun in the moment. They are guided by God’s Holy Spirit to live a holy life, that is pure before God with everlasting benefits.

As a believer refuses to be a part of the wild life of this world, people see them as strange. They are surprised that anyone would not want to be a part of that lifestyle. It is often seen as hate and rejection of the person. It is common for believers to be called haters, because they will not accept or partake in the sinful, wild activities of this world. Yet, God has called the believer to be separate from this world.

The world is watching what you say and do. They want you to be like them in every way, so that they do not feel the conviction of being wrong. The life the world is living will only end in death. Do not be a part of that death. Jesus pulled you out of it, stay out of it.

Allow the world to be surprised at how you live.

Is the world surprised at why you will not act and live the way they do?

I pray today that you will know the life Jesus has given you; that you will live your life for God and not this world; that God will give you strength to turn from the wild living of this world; and that the world will be surprised at how you live for God.

2 Timothy 1:7 Don’t Be Timid

 

Sunset background

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

The world often has the wrong view of what believers are like. They are often portrayed as weak, hateful and with no self-discipline.

The world thinks that believers are weak because they have to rely upon God, rather than on their own strength and power. Believers are often seen to be walked all over and ridiculed, so the world sees that as a sign of weakness. Some are weak, because they back down from standing true their beliefs.

Believers are often believed to be hateful, because of their speaking out against sin. Some, however, are hateful in the way they speak and how they treat those who sin. Many people have killed others in the name of God, showing hatred.

Others see believers with no self-discipline, because they see some do the very things that they speak against.

It is true that some believers have given Christianity a bad name by their words and actions. There are many who claim to be a follower of Jesus, yet, do not try to live like Him in any way. However, there are also many who are living for Christ in this world.

Those who do try to live for God, know what God has given them. God’s immense power has been given to believers to overcome sin, to turn away from temptations, and to stand true against the beliefs of this world. His infinite love has been given to every believer to love the enemy and to overlook the many wrongs done. His Holy Spirit has been given to the believer to guide him into making the right decisions with self-discipline.

The world will still not fully understand a believer, but the believer must not give the wrong view of who a believer is and who Jesus is.

God has given you everything that you need to live for Jesus, to live a holy life in this world. You do not have to be shy in what you believe, but stand strong and true to God’s word in your life. As you stand strong, do it in love and with self-discipline. Do not bring shame to the name of Christ in this world. The world is looking to bring you and Christ down. Don’t let them and don’t give them a reason, you have the power.

I pray today that you will know what God has given you; that you will know God’s power and love in your life; that you will show the world God’s power and love; and that you will stay true to God’s word in your life.

 

Jeremiah 1:19 They Will Fight You

“They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 1:19

God called Jeremiah to speak to the people and the nations. Many of his words that he would have to speak were not very nice sounding, politically correct words, yet they would be the message God wanted the people to hear. God promised Jeremiah that the people would fight against him because of those words, however, God would rescue him. Despite their numbers and strength, they would not be able to destroy Jeremiah.

No one likes to be offended in any way or spoken against and told that he is wrong. People like to think that their choices and decisions are the best and that they are correct in all that they do. They want to be in absolute control of their own lives and not allow anyone else to take away that control.

The gospel message is the number one message that God wants all of the world to hear about. His whole purpose in sending Jesus to the earth was to save the world from their sins.

Yet, as great as that message is, it is also extremely offensive and politically un-correct. In the eyes of the world it is the wrong thing to say.

It is offensive because it says:
* It says you are wrong
* It says you are going to die
* It says you have to give up all control
* It says that you must obey
* It says  you must forgive
* It says  you must love
* It says that there is only one way into heaven

If you speak these kinds of words to most people, most of them will hate you and fight against you. God promised this to Jeremiah, Jesus went through this, and Jesus promised you would also be persecuted for your belief. It is nothing new.

The world does not see God’s love showing how to have the best life possible for all eternity, because they get stuck on the words of them being wrong. It doesn’t make sense that God would die for you, but it is the truth.

Despite the world hating you for the gospel message, God is with you. All the world can do is destroy your body, God has your soul in His hands. They cannot destroy that. God will rescue you in the end. So go out and share that gospel message with the world. Show them that God really does love them, even when they are wrong.

I pray today that God will fill you with boldness to speak His words; that you will be filled with God’s love for the people; and that the world will see God’s love through you.

 

Matthew 10:22 You Will Be Hated

“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22

Throughout the gospels Jesus talks about loving everyone, including your enemies. He also mentions that you are to live your life so well they cannot find anything true against you. Now, He tells you that you will be hated.

If you are living your life so well, why would people hate you? It is because you are following Jesus.

Again why would people hate Jesus, since He is showing perfect love? It is because He also reveals their sinful lives.

No one likes to be told that they are doing things the wrong way, or that they are going to be punished for eternity. Most people think that overall they are a good person. They do not like the idea of them being bad to where they are separated from God.

As you are fully living for and following Jesus, people will hate you. Their hatred is because of Jesus. Jesus had said that if they hated Him, they will hate you.

Take a look at your life. Do you have people in your life that are angry with you because of the way you follow Jesus? Do people get tired of hearing you talk about God? Are people upset with you because you will not go fishing with them on Sundays in order for you to go to church?

If the world loves you, be careful. Make sure you are following Jesus and doing everything He is telling you to do. Give yourself one hundred percent to God and stand firm for Him.

Jesus finished this verse with stating that whoever stands firm to the end will be saved. Do not give in to the pressures of the world. Do not change to have the world like you. Do not compromise God’s standards and will to alleviate the hatred. In the end Jesus will save you.

Remember that Jesus followed God perfectly, then was killed for it. Afterward God raised Him from the dead. God will do the same for you. Trust Him.

I pray that God will strengthen you to follow Him in every area of your life; that you will stand firm in God’s ways; that you will be God’s witness everywhere you go; that you will speak God’s truth and love to everyone; and that God will draw many to Jesus through you.