Fruit of the Spirit: Love (Part 1)

Today is the start of a new series that I've been lead to explore: the Fruit of the Spirit and what it means to the modern Christian. I'm not sure how many parts will be involved with each fruit, but we'll go through them in order as described in Galatians:

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)

The First Fruit: Love

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:13)

Love is a multifaceted diamond. It has many faces. We talk about love so flippantly it's confusing. I love the color blue. I love my son. I love sunsets and walks on the beach. Of course I don't love all of these the same, right? In the English language, we have only one word for love, but in New Testament Greek, there are four words for love.

storge - family affection
eros - attraction
philia - friendship
agape - sacrificial, committed love

The kind of love that is referred to in 1 Corinthians 13:13 is agape. It's the kind of love that God gives us - unconditional and self-sacrificing - the kind of love that gives while expecting nothing in return. Ever wonder why God loves the unlovable? Certainly not because they deserve it.

We are to love in the same way that God loves - that is the fruit of the Spirit. So how do we do this? Fake it until we make it?

Not quite. You can't duct tape fruit filled branches onto a shrub and call it an apple tree.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Unless you are grafted into the true vine, you can't bare this fruit on your own. Loving the unlovable? Giving without anything gained in return? Putting no limits or conditions on your love? Sounds impossible...but isn't there someplace deep inside that not only wants this for yourself, but wants to give it, too?

Grafted in His Love

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

Do you really understand how wide and long and high and deep Christ's love is? After all, it surpasses all knowledge, right? 

In order to produce this Fruit of the Spirit, we must experience His love for us:
  • Do you understand that you don't deserve His love?
  • Do you know that you can't earn it?
  • Did you know that God puts no limits on how much He loves you?
  • How many hoops do you have to jump through to gain His love? That's right - none.
  • What can you do for God that He can't already do for Himself? Yet He still loves you.

We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Unless we feel this unfathomable love that He has for us, we cannot then produce it. We can't fake it until we make it, because we'll never make it unless we are grafted in His love. So today, that is my prayer for myself and for you. That we will come to know and really grasp the love of Christ so that we can produce this fruit.

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