The View From Here

The Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 2): Love

Galatians 5:22 lists the fruit of the Spirit, a list of qualities God grows in those who follow and depend on Jesus. These qualities describe Jesus Himself.  Jesus became like us (Phil. 2:7), so we could become like Him.  If you belong to Jesus, then you have new life and are being remade to be like Jesus (Col. 3:10; Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 3:18; 5:17). The first quality in God’s grow-list is love.  Read on to discover what the love of Jesus in your life looks like.

First, there are a few different words in the original Greek that Paul could have used for our English word “love.”  There is “phileo,” which is a familial and emotional love. And there is “agapao” (agape), which is unconditional love (no matter what the relationship or feelings).  I heard someone say agape has “stick-ability,” you stick with the person through thick and then, whether he deserves it or not.  All the New Testament commands in the Bible “to love” use the word “agapao.”  This kind of love has also been known as “sacrificial love.”

The love Jesus demonstrates is the “agapao” love.  Jesus described the love he had for his disciples and for you: “greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).  Jesus literally died for you, and now God works to grow this quality in you.  While you might not die in battle, or on the mission field, you will have opportunity to “lay down” your life.  What might that look like?

It is called “dying to self.” It is when you set your preferences aside, and consider others more important.  We die to self when we decide that people are more important than entertainment.  Parents decide to play a game with their kids instead of veg out in front of the TV.  Spouses choose to not complain to others about their partner.  You might decide telling someone about Jesus is more important than what it might cost you (reputation, relationships, job).    In Philippians 2, Jesus is given as the greatest example of this.  He set aside his glory and invincibility as God and “emptied himself,” taking on the form of a servant.  He became weak, considered you more important than himself, and died for you.  Now, if you follow him, God is growing this quality in you. Following Jesus looks like loving others like Jesus loved you. 

Where is your needle on the scale between self-preservation and self-sacrifice?  Remember that famous quote from Jim Elliot?  “He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

The Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 1): God's Grow List

What is the fruit of the Spirit?  Galatians 5:22 might come to mind.  If you are able, turn to your neighbor and list the fruit of the Spirit (without looking it up). God did not intend this as a "do list," but a "grow list."  The fruit of the Spirit is something that happens as a result of God working in your life.  There is something we are called to "do."  Read on, in the first of this 10-part series, to learn "how" God plans to grow fruit in your life.  
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Gal.5:22-23 CSB)
First, all who truly believe in Jesus Christ will bear fruit at some point in their lives.  There may be fruitful seasons and barren seasons, but this fruit is the result of faith in Jesus Christ.  Next, fruit does not just "happen" by itself.  Followers of Jesus are to be involved in "good works," so that they don't end up being "unfruitful" (Titus 3:14).  But it is not just good works that does it.  Jesus says "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Fruit is also a result of being "plugged in" to Jesus.  A lamp has no light unless it is plugged in. Are you plugged in to Jesus? Many claim to follow Jesus, but their lives do not show it. If you belong to God, then you are his work zone.  He has a new purpose for you. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). 
You cannot have a fruitful life if you are not in a relationship with Jesus. He has a plan for you, and wants to use you. You cannot be fruitful if you refuse the job He has prepared for you. Are you doing what God has prepared for you to do? Take some time and take your plans before God.
Next week we will begin to look at the fruit of the Spirit, listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
Posted by Joshua Holland with

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