Welcome to the first official installment of the Fruit of the Spirit (FOTS) series! If you didn't happen to read the introduction that was posted last week, the Fruit of the Spirit are the physical manifestations of faith that God produces in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-23).
The first of the nine fruits that I'll be touching on is love. In all honesty, I have trouble loving like I should. While it's easy to love the people you like, loving people that you don't know or don't get along with is tough. However, in John 13:34-35, God doesn't just call us to love our friends, but to "love one another as [God] has loved you."
So how do we begin to produce indiscriminatory love in our lives?
1) Make the decision.
While in modern-day society, love is characterized as a natural or instinctive emotion, the Bible actually marks love as a decision. In other words, not getting along with someone is not a valid excuse for not being able to love them. 2 John 1:6 tells us that love means walking with God according to his commandments. When we decide to walk in the love of the Lord, the fruit of our journey causes us to make a decision to love even when we don't feel like it.
2) Don't be fake.
Referring to the last point, deciding to love someone doesn't mean that we should be fake about it.
The decision to love should be a by-product of the decision to love Christ. Our love for the Holy Spirit should overflow so much that it also begins to manifest itself towards others; similarly, we should be seeking a relationship with God that shapes our relationships with others. (Romans 12:9-10)
3) Fulfill the bottom line.
As Christians, our spiritual role boils down to one fundamental responsibility: be "the salt of the earth" and "live as people of the light." (Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 5:8). In other words, we are to set an example and live a Godly life.
In 1 John 4:8, we are told that "God is love." If we are truly pursuing a life that reflects Christ, we are to love as well.
Furthermore, a verse that I find incredibly powerful in explaining why loving one another is so important is 1 John 4:12.
"No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us."
I love this verse because it acknowledges that there is doubt in the world about the existence of God. However, it goes on to say that we, as Christians, can be the proof of God's love by reflecting His love in our own relationships with others.
While I could sit here for hours and lecture you on why love is important, in the end, producing any fruit really comes down to our relationship with God. The Bible tells us that if we love and obey God, He will produce the fruit of His spirit in our lives. So rather than stressing on how we are awful lovers, we need to step back and reflect on how to strengthen our relationship with God, and as a by-product our relationships with other. God bless & sleep easy, fam.
SUMMING IT ALL UP:
- Loving is a decision.
- Love should not be fake.
- Loving is part of our call as Christians.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
2 John 1:6
Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
"For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!"
1 John 4:8
But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:12
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.