Love is just a four letter word, yet cannot be comprehended! The world has of course defined it in various forms, human beings from different race, culture, nation have all tried to define this word but have failed!
What does LOVE signify to us as a fruit of the Holy Spirit??
I will not call Love a fruit of the Spirit but its an element of the whole fruit! Why?? Because Love, Peace, Joy, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self Control are the nine elements which make the fruit of the Spirit. And it is not possible that we can just have one fruit and not have the other! When all these qualities are consistently growing in our lives, that’s when we can confidently say we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit! Well, What a challenge it poses to every Christian?
Well, back to our topic for today – Love! I must admit it is one of the most commonly used word without truly meaning it! In the language of English it becomes more complicated to understand the word Love, but Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love :
- Agápe (unconditional love)
- Eros (passionate physical love)
- Philía (loving with your mind – loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity)
- Storgē (natural affection mostly within the family
Having defined the four types of love it is important to know that “LOVE” as a fruit of the spirit is AGAPE. I’m sure we all could agree that its easy for us to love our family, love our friends, our spouses etc (Storge, Philia and Eros are all covered)
There can be numerous things we can do to grow in godly, unconditional love, some of the crucial elements are –
- Source of Love: The biggest confusion about Love is – we all want to be loved undoubtedly, for instance when a boyfriend or a girlfriend says “I love you” what do they mean? Do they want to feel loved or do they want to sacrifice their love for the other? We all want to be loved, don’t we? The bitter truth is no one can love like God does. I the race of expecting to be loved by others, many have be lost in the wilderness. The source of true love is God alone revealed in the person of JESUS CHRIST. We need to taste the love of God, his grace and his mercy. Though God’s love for us is great, though his mercy is new every morning, yet we take time to appreciate that Love of God. Until we appreciate we will not be able to extend the same love for others. (I John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love). The moment our eyes are opened to the Love of God, we are changed!
- Sacrificial Love: Bible defines love in I John 3:16-17 (This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.) . We can love others when they are good to us, and the reality of how tough it is to love someone when all they intend for us is harm/reproach/shame is exceedingly difficul ! Yet, I’m convicted to love our neighbor is a commandment we’ve been given, because Jesus did the same 🙂 Not going to be easy though!
- Weeding out Hatred: Before Paul lists the nine fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-26, he gives a list of acts of the flesh which are quite contrary to the fruit of the spirit. I’ve observed that when we do not have “LOVE”, we give place to our carnal nature to control us. That’s when we begin to show signs of hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions (conflicts), factions (as group create conflicts)and envy!! Some of them mentioned above come so naturally to us isn’t? I hate people who hate me, I do get angry and loose myself many times, I do envy others, but if I take St Pauls words seriously I will not do that again! (Galatians 5:19-21: The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God)
Its therefore important for me to be filled with love and grow in the unconditional love of God to be more like him and less like me. So that I can say with Paul its not longer I that live but Christ liveth in me! And live in hope that one day I will be on the other shore!
May we abide in LOVE! Be Blessed!