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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.