The Fruit of the Spirit is Love

Written by  //  July 18, 2010  //  Uncategorized  //  No comments

“The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22).  Having the proper relationship with Christ, i.e. walking in the Spirit will naturally lead to certain fruits being born.  Lest we become confused as to what fruits are of the world and what are of Christ we have been provided with a list that is quite simple to see.  While no Christian will ever perfect all of these qualities to their fullest, and perhaps none will perfect any, we must constantly strive to reach this goal and our progress, such as it is, should be evident to all.

The first thing that the Holy Spirit reveals that following His work will produce in us is love.  Our English word love is nearly useless.  It can describe everything from our attitude toward our favorite jeans to our feelings toward our Savior.  In some senses it is a terribly crude word.  We need to strive to understand the meaning of the word as used in the Bible.  There are several Greek words for love; storge, family love; eros, erotic love; philos, friendly love; agape, brotherly love. The word used here is agape.  This is a very important word in our Christian lives.  Agape is a love that looks for the best in man.  It is a love that sees the good in others and deems it precious.  This is a powerful attitude that overcomes the natural reaction to someone that one has no reason to love.  Agape is the idea of active good will this is not a mere statement, but a willingness to act.

It is interesting that this is the first fruit mentioned in the list.  Without this type of love none of the other qualities listed could exist.  It is the ultimate act of agape that allows us to know what gentleness and kindness are.  Longsuffering is seen in this same act.  Without the agape of God we would have no need of faithfulness for all would be lost and self-control as well would be a waste of effort.  However, as love has been shown we can come to know love (1John 4:19).

Ephesians 6 begins with an admonition to bear with one anther’s burdens.  Even when that burden is sinful in nature we are not to react in hatred toward the sinner, instead we are to look at this as an opportunity to love.  While we hate the sin and mourn for the jeopardy of the sinner we are to do so with love in our hearts.  This does not mean that we ignore the sin.  Agape is not blind, nor is it weak.  This is the strongest form of love because it is a love that we choose.  We have all heard that blood is thicker than water.  This is intended to indicate that family comes first, above, and beyond all others.  However, as a Christian my statement is that the blood that was shed for me and my brothers and sisters in Christ is stronger than any temporary earthly bond (Matthew 10:37)

This love is a love that the world cannot know.  As we have already seen, this love is one that originates in God.  It was manifested most powerfully in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son.  In John 17:14, we find that the things which are from God are the things which the world naturally hates.  The text here ties together three things; the word both written and demonstrated, the followers of the word, and the very Son of God.  Notice the world’s response to all three; hatred.  The Son of God is hated by the world largely because the world cannot accept his message.  In rejecting the message they reject, and hate, the love the message would impart.

1Corinthians 13 is a wonderful explanation of the qualities of this love.  It is hard, if not impossible to read this passage and not see the Father’s love for His children.  As we come to understand this type of love, one that does not behave rudely nor parade itself, it is easy to see why it would be so valuable in the life of one who walks “in the Spirit.”  This walk is one that we cannot take alone.  Instead it is a walk that requires cooperation with those of like precious faith.  So much of what we see about the first century Church exemplifies this concept.  For example, in Jerusalem we have saints selling their belongings to aid their new found brothers in Christ.  In Philippi, we see brethren sending aid to other Christians they have not even met.  In Acts 15, we see a congregation dealing with controversy together in a loving and productive way.  The list could go on and on.  All of these are the out working love in the lives of those who are walking in the Spirit.

The power of love is impossible to overstate.  Love gives life to the dead.  It was while we were still lost that Christ gave His life for us (Romans 5:8).  By His grace we were made alive (Ephesians 2:1-5).  Why was this grace given to us? Love (John 3:16).  Faith and hope are two of the most powerful gifts of the gospel.  They give us the ability to go on when thinks seem so utterly dark and dreary.  They strengthen us when we are trying to do what is right.  They are commanded in the Word of God (Hebrews 11:6, Romans 15:13).  Is it not amazing then that despite the power and need of faith and hope the apostle Paul states that even greater than these is love.

Leave a Comment