Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Fruit of the Spirit - "Love"

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:21-23

I was walking with a friend the other day, and we were reflecting on the "Fruit of the Spirit" in Galatians 5:21-23. It caused me to look back at my Christian life and how God reveals Himself through sanctification. The last part of the verse says, "against such things there is no law".  This made me realize a truly regenerated believer is not to simply obey this verse, but it must be believed that it is a supernatural gift from God.

I heard a sermon not too long ago, and I appreciated the man's honesty when he admitted to getting snarky with his wife over something petty. He shared that he immediately apologized to her and he spoke from his flesh and that was not himself, because he possesses the "Fruit of the Spirit".

I remember at a summer Bible study I taught years ago, we did a word study on each of these attributes in the "Fruit of the Spirit".  The word "love" in the Greek is agape which simply means Christ-like love. I taught what I heard from theologians that this love is a dutiful love and it's not an affectionate love like pheleo (brotherly and friendship love) or storge (love for family), but it is a action of choice. I no longer agree to this. I now know that I was in error because I was teaching it as an application and not a byproduct of someone who has been saved by God. Agape love is intensely passionate.

Agape love is a supernatural gift because it flows from the Spirit and it is not something you can muster up in your own flesh. What freedom that is for a believer! Just believe it, and don't believe the lie, if you're a true believer, that you don't have love, patience, kindness... because you do! Just look to Christ, because he saved you from the works of the flesh. Read the entire chapter in Galatians 5.  "For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Galatians 5:13

I shared with my boys in homeschool yesterday that when God saved me, I had an instant love for God, other Christians and a concern for the unsaved that was completely foreign to me in me previously. 

Agape love is a gift from God and I'm sorry, it's not only a feeling (I know that's the F-word in conservative Christian circles that I'm a part of, but I'm going out on a limb.) but it is a zeal that   possess every aspect of your life. You can't help it if Jesus is Lord of your life because He owns you and it is the delight of your heart. If this love is not possessed as a natural (not perfect) flow of the heart, then much study of 1 John chapter 4 and self examination needs to be in order.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God;but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 

13 This is how we know that we live in Him and he in us: He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister." 1 John 4:7-21

Related post: What is Your Religion? By John Angell James