Fruit of the Spirit: Love (Part 7)

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)

To demonstrate love, we have to remember the 15 attributes of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13~

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not arrogant.
Love is not rude.
Love is not selfish.
Love is not provoked.
Love thinks no evil.
Love does rejoices in truth.
Love bears all things.
Love believes all things.
Love hopes all things.
Love endures all things.
Love never fails.

In the rest of this blog series on Fruit of the Spirit: Love, we'll go over a few of these attributes per post.

Love does boast:

Boasting about what I have or have done is all about taking credit. It is showing off. But not in a good way. Instead of allowing God to reward me for my accomplishments, I want to see everyone patting me on the back and telling me what a good person I am and how wonderful I have done. Or I boast because I want to feel better about myself, because often I don't feel good about myself unless I compare myself to someone else.

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and[b] prayed these things with reference to himself: ‘God, I give thanks to you that I am not like other people—swindlers, unrighteous people, adulterers, or even like this tax collector! I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far away, did not want even to raise his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than that one! For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)

God doesn't want us to compare ourselves to anyone but Jesus. Not because He wants us to be down on ourselves that we can never be good enough, but so that we keep striving toward a goal with the understanding that we can do nothing on our own without Him. Once we understand that each of us are striving toward the same goal, we can do the opposite of boasting, encouraging.

Encouraging others is the opposite of boasting. Instead of pointing out to someone else how great we are or how much better we are than them in an attempt to make ourselves feel better, we'll often feel the opposite, empty. But in encouraging people and lifting them up, we'll find the fulfillment we were striving for.

A person of blessing will be enriched, and he who gives water also will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

So today my prayer for you is that you will find a way to encourage others and lift them up and in doing so, find yourself lifted up, too.

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