I am so excited for this series about the fruits of the Spirit! Over the next 9 blog posts we are going to look at each fruit individually, studying what the Biblical definition looks like and learning how to live out each fruit in our day to day lives. This study is based off of Galatians 5:22-23 which says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” I am so stoked to dissect this with you guys and can’t wait to see how the Lord leads us in this time of stillness!
Love is a word that we use often, and because we use it so often we’ve changed the definition of such a deep, meaningful word (I’m completely guilty of doing this btw). We say things like, “I LOVE chick-fil-a” and “I LOVE this new outfit” but using the same word we say, “I LOVE my mom/dad” or “I LOVE my husband/wife” and even, “I LOVE my God”. The love that we have for chick-fil-a looks nothing like the love that we have for a family member, and the love we have for a family member looks nothing like the love we should have for the Lord. There seems to be multiple definitions of love, so how do we know how to fully love the Lord?
The Bible describes this for us in Matthew 22:37 which says, “And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The Greek word for “Love” in this verse is “agape”. This word is not just an emotion or a feeling, it is a love that comes from surrendering. It requires full devotion to the Lord (“with all your heart, soul, and mind”). It is an unconditional love that is used only with our love for God and God’s love for us. This kind of love is the deepest and most sincere form of loving. This kind of love is something we could never achieve perfectly. It is by God’s strength that we are able to love in this way, and even then, our sinful hearts prevent us from loving like this to the fullest.
This love is a choice. It is not going to come naturally. We have to choose to completely devote ourselves to the Lord. Loving Him with all our words, actions, and thoughts is REALLY hard, but it gets a little easier when we are reminded of how much our God loves us. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” Without God’s example of love shown to us by sending Jesus to die for sinners, we would never know what real love looks like. God loved us first, and that radical love should inspire us to love the Lord with everything in us because He chose to love us when we were undesirable sinners.
As I write this I keep thinking, “What a love!” The Lord loves us despite our sin, and it makes me fall in love with Him more and more. Be ever so careful, sweet people, not to let our busy lives consume our hearts so much so that it prevents us from loving God to our fullest. The more time you spend with the Lord, the more you fall in love with Him. It’s just like people. If you don’t ever talk to a person or take the time to get to know him or her, how are you ever going to love them deeply? The same goes with our God. I encourage you to spend time communicating with Him and getting to know Him, so that you are able to love Him deeper as the Bible commands.
I’m not gonna lie, this is hard. Love is a choice, and choosing to love some people can be really hard to do. I know that we can all think of a person in our life who may have hurt us (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.). I want you to think of that person and hold on to that name as you read this because if you read this thinking of your friends or the people you spend most of your time with, this will be an easy read for you. When it comes to looking at God’s Word, we always need to be growing, and it’s hard to grow in loving others if you’re learning how to love the people you already love. It’s the people who are hardest for us to love, that we need to learn to love, so keep that name in mind as we look at what God’s Word says (:
One of my favorite verses is related to this subject. It’s in 1 John 4:7, which says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” There’s so much that can be learned from this verse, so let’s just start at the beginning and work our way through!
The first word is “Beloved” and that is one of my favorite words in the Bible! It’s a word often used to describe us as people who are loved by God. That means YOU! You, my wonderful friends, are SO LOVED by God! God loved you so much so that while you were still a sinner, Christ died for you (Rom. 5:8). You don’t ever have to doubt that you are loved because God’s love for you is unconditional. He doesn’t only love you when you’re following His Will and doing the right things. He loves you NO MATTER WHAT! This has been my biggest prayer for each of you readers. I pray that you NEVER forget how loved you are because the love that God has for you translates to the way we love others.
John, the author of this verse, starts out by reminding us that we are loved people. He then goes on to explain that because you are loved, you should love others. The way you love a person (yes, even that one person you’re supposed to be thinking about as you read this) shows them the love of the Father. If you really think about it, how is a person supposed to know what real love looks like, if we don’t show them?! Someone who has never heard the gospel may never know the radical love that the Lord has for them, if we don’t love them in a way that reflects God’s love.
We know what God’s love looks like because He showed us when Jesus died for us. He didn’t let our sinful hearts stop Him from loving us to the point of dying for us. This is the love the Lord calls us to have for others (it’s that same Greek word “agape”). This doesn’t mean that we should go die for them right this second. Start by realigning your heart to love those people. If you don’t show them God’s love, who will?
I encourage you, wonderfully beloved people, to love others in a way that shows them what God’s love looks like. If you are still having a hard time loving that person who is hard to love, make a list of reasons to love them. I’ll help you get started…
- God loves them
- They need to know how much God loves them
Think deeply of reasons to love them! If nothing else, reasons 1 & 2 are important enough to cause us to want to love the whole world.
I love you guys! Those of you that read the whole thing, thank you! I know this one was long. Usually my posts won’t be this long, but I’m pretty passionate about this subject (:
I pray that this was a refreshing time for you to be still and acknowledge what God’s Word says about love. Beloved people, I encourage you to love others <3