“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The first fruit of the spirit is Love. Without love, how can you exhibit the other fruits? In fact, 1 Corinthians says love IS patient and IS kind.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest command was, he said to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind; the second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40). How do we love? What is love? John 3:1 says that God demonstrates his love by calling us his children.
God’s very essence is love. God loves his children, and he loves them just as much now as he ever will. In fact, he sacrificed his own son for us! 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us what love is: patient, kind, not envious, not proud…to name a few. True love benefits OTHERS, and it glorifies God.
For each fruit of the spirit, there are things that mimic the fruit, but are false. We will call that an “artificial fruit”. And then there is also sin that is the opposite of the fruit and chokes it out. We will call that a “weed”.
What does our culture think love is? A few examples are: admiration, lots of friends, romantic involvement, popularity, someone giving us what we want. These examples are Artificial Fruit: limited love, people pleasing, and trying to gain approval.
True love is not popular, and our nature is to take care of and love ourselves first. Focusing on ourselves is the opposite of what true love really is. In fact, the Weed- the opposite of love- is love of self. These things choke out true love. It seems like the only types of love we see around us are artificial fruits or weeds, huh? But we are told not to love the things of the world (1 John 2:15-17) because these things are not from our Father, and will not last.
To exhibit true love, it starts with our relationship with God. As we get to know him and understand HIS love for us, we should reflect the way he loves us- by loving others the same way. Have genuine concern for others; treat people well. It will call for some sacrifice. And it is not just what you do, but also your attitude as you do them (what’s in your heart). But remember, you are not alone. Jesus is our vine, helping us to bear fruit, and pruning out our sinful branches and weeds. (John 15: 1-5).
What does your love look like?