Becoming a Fruit Tree Part 1: Love
One of the things I do for my internship here in Lawrence is to lead the college ministry. I prayed about what I should teach about, and The Lord led me to focus on the Fruit of the Spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit are the Characteristics of a Christian. If you are truly living for Christ then these things will be seen in your life. I do not expect people to be perfect, but we should be earnestly going after them.
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. Against these, there is no law.”
In our group, we have already been through the first three. So over the course of the weekend I will be posting all three. The first is love, and that is what you will begin to read.
What is love? Paul describes the attributes of Love in 1st Corinthians chapter 13. To save some time, I am going to list them here rather than having you read the whole passage.
- Love is patient
- Love is kind
- Love does not envy
- Love is not proud
- Love does not boast
- Love is not rude
- Love is not Self seeking
- Love is not easily angered
- Love keeps no record of wrongs
- Love does not delight in Evil
- Love is truthful
- Love Rejoices
- Love Protects
- Love Hopes
- Love Preserves
- Love never fails
As you read that list, compare it with the nine fruit of the Spirit that are listed in Galatians 5:22-23 above. As I was studying this, I noticed something interesting. Love encompasses all the other fruit, either directly or indirectly. For instance; Love is patient and Kind, both patience and kindness are fruit of the spirit.
This may not seem significant to you, but think of it this way. If love encompasses all the other fruit of the Spirit, and you have love. By default, you have the other fruit of the Spirit. I believe this is one of the primary reasons Paul says at the end of Chapter 13, “Abide in Faith, Hope and Love, All three. But the greatest of these is Love.” Paul knows the importance of Love and what it has the power to do. That is why he emphasized it so much over all else.
The second interesting thought that occurred to me is something about the nature of Fruit. Fruit start as seeds that grow into fruit over time. If you water the seed/plant and give it light and nutrients, if you nurture the seed, it will produce ripe fruit.
If you bind this to the last thought, you can see that if you Grow in love, you will grow in the other fruits. This is true because The other fruits are in Love, and as love grows, everything contained in it grows too.
In Mark Chapter 12 some religious types are trying to trap Jesus and get him to say something blasphemous. So one of them asks him what the greatest commandment is. You can look the passage up for your self, but I will summarize. Jesus Tells him ‘Love God’ then, he tells him the next greatest commandment s to ‘Love others’
Love God and Love Others – Jesus calls them commandments. This means that not only is Love a fruit of the spirit, and a characteristic we should be recognized by, but it is also a command. Loving is something we are supposed to do, not a choice by any means. Love is an Order.
In John 15:13, Jesus made a bold proclamation about love. “No greater love is there than this; That a man would give up his life for his friend.” Jesus told us that this is the greatest love we can possibly demonstrate, and then he went an demonstrated it when he willingly gave up his life on the cross for us.
Love is something that we fail to understand. We throw the term around like a ball and eventually it loses its meaning. One of my personal favourite movies is Anchorman. In the movie The guys from the TV station get into a discussion about Love which proves that none of them understand love in the least. It also culminates in one of the best lines in the movie, “I love LAMP.” to which Ron replies, “Brick, do you really love the lamp, or are you just saying that because you can see the lamp right now?” all Too often, we say we loves things that really hold no value when it comes to love. Much like brick and his lamp. Think about it, how often do you abuse the term? Here are some examples I can think of off the top of my head.
- I love Football
- I love cheese
- I love Chinese food
- I love my car
While all of these things are nice, are they truly worthy of love? Better yet, are they capable of returning the love? You might love the Red Sox, but have they ever Loved you back? David discusses this in Psalm 4:2
Psalm 4:2 “…How long will you love what’s worthless and aimed at deception?” Loving God is the Chief thing that we are called to do, and often our ‘love’ of other things is a distraction and something that turn your attention from him.
Remember, love is not about you. Jesus didn’t say Love God and Love You. Because love is an outward thing. We are called to love others long before ourselves, that is why Paul sad love is not self-seeking.
**(This is not to encourage self-depreciation. Don’t go that route.)**
If you are interested in learning more about Love, Check out Song of Solomon, and 1St Corinthians 13 in the bible, both give good account of Love. I also recommend reading Crazy Love By Francis Chan. It is a great book on understanding love.
As always, questions, comments and insights are welcomed.