Last week, I introduced our new series: Fruity Spirit. This week, we’re talking about the first fruit of the Spirit, love. We’ll continue our series right on down through every fruit on the tree, so hang around…
Love isn’t just a wonderful thing that God gives and shows us, it is required of us to give it as Christians. Giving love is definitely a big part of our faith – though the biggest part of our walk with God is loving God.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have 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 do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
I really like these verses, because they talk about what true love is. The passage explains that when you talk and teach about God, but don’t love God, you don’t really believe what you’re saying. If you give everything you own, but you don’t love it, doesn’t mean anything. Lastly, love is so incredible that it can be an amazing gift of prosperity that God gave us. Does the love in your life look like that?
God loved us so much to give us his son, and that’s the ultimate love. God calls us now to reflect that love by loving others enough to show them Christ’s love! You get that? We are called to love God and to love people, and without first having love, everything else you do is worthless. We can live a life of love by doing good things, being the good Samaritan, living the golden rule, and I think you get the idea.
Don’t forget to check in next week for my post on joy!
You all know of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. Applying these things to your life means that you are trusting in the Spirit before anyone or anything else.
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
Briefly, I’m going to go through each fruit of the Spirit. Starting, naturally, with the first.
Love is probably widely believed to be the easiest, but really to love how God wants us to is much harder than it seems. Outside of loving God, love is also treating others the way you want to be treated:
‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.'” Leviticus 19:18
That verse is really powerful as its talking about neighbor as your self loving which I find very difficult. Jesus also talks about loving your enemies, which is really crushing at times. Most important, though, is loving God. The verse below is repeated throughout the old and new testament, for good reason:
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5
Joy is being happy with everything that happens, and it can often be more difficult than anything else.
On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the Lord had done for his servant David and his people Israel.” 1 Kings 8:66
This verse explains that the people of Israel were happy with what good things God had done for their nation. And for us this means that you must always be joyful–even if something horrible happens.
Peace (also called forbearance) can be a lot of things, from being content to being a moderator between family or friends. Peace can be compared to love, because love is often required. With it, you can be the bridge between a friend and his enemy, or even two friends. Peace is incredibly important to our faith, because if you’re violent then nobody will listen to your testimony.
Patience, this could possibly be called the easiest fruit to grow in your heart. Patience can be waiting and not complaining or…
…in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…” 2 Corinthians 6:5-7
… a weapon. Yup, I said it. A weapon. In fact, all the fruits of the Spirit are weapons (I’ll talk about this further in another post).
Kindness is mentioned in that last verse, saying it too was a weapon, but it focuses on reaching out to people.
Goodness is incredibly crucial; it is our purity, righteousness, and obedience to God. Having goodness means that we strive to walk with God in everything.
Faithfulness could possibly be the most important fruit of all.
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”” Exodus 34:6
This verse talks about how God is eternally faithful to us and how because of his faithfulness, we need to return it. Faithfulness basically means devotion, which means that God is devoted to us.
Gentleness, I always think of whales when I hear the word gentleness because they’re so gentle (except maybe Killer Whales). Gentleness basically means hugs and pillows, but that doesn’t mean you go around giving hugs and pillows.
Last but definitely not least is self-control. This is important because, without it, we won’t have the will to strive for any of the other fruits of the Spirit.
It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” Titus 2:12
Paul tells us specifically that the only way to live a successful life is to be self-controlled.
The fruits of the Spirit may appear to only be contained in a few verses of Galatians, but, in reality, are important and powerful qualities found in places all over the bible, and to be applied all over our lives. Over the next nine weeks, I’ll be getting into detail for each fruit in a new series called “Fruity Spirit”.
We like to think Jesus’ life was easy. Jesus really had a tough time living, though; he hiked through deserts, towns, anything just to get to us He did everything necessary to get to us so he could show us that he was the Son of God and become our savior.
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20
This excerpt explains that those who follow Christ must give up everything–often, even their home. Jesus did this because he wanted to teach us that he was even willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice. Nothing that happens to us can ever compare to what Jesus went through when he was on earth, and we should be thankful that we give our lives for him. We can’t give God enough to repay him, but we can give him our lives and dedication.
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.” Matthew 27-31
Jesus didn’t only go through thicket or walk down the road in shame. In fact, he thinks so highly of us that even after he died for us, he’ll do anything to help us accomplish our purpose. He not only sacrificed for us then, but he loves us and looks after us now.
I know a pastor who sums this one up really well. He always says that you don’t have to like everyone, but you have to love them. And that’s what this is all about.
It came right from Jesus’ very words. When he spoke to the British courts, he said himself, “Love thy enemy,”. Sorry, I missed April Fool’s day this year and have been bitter about it ever since. Just wait until next year. Ok, back to the topic with a longer reading for you:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”” Matthew 5:43-48
Basically, Jesus is telling us that it doesn’t mean anything just to love like the world loves, as we see we with the tax collector explanation. We have to love like the Father, or “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The Lord loves all. He “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good” meaning he gives everyone the same chance, loving them the same. God loves everyone equally, and we’re supposed to love like the Father, right?
We’ve all heard about God’s love. If there’s any aspect of God that gets advertised all the time, it’s his unending love. As receivers of that love, we need to not only love those who love us, but every last person on the face of the earth. You may not ‘like’ them, sure. You may not be their best friend. But you can still have love and respect for them through Christ.