Category Archives: Fruit Tree
I want to share with you a passage of scripture. Something Jesus said, and then we will discuss it. Todays passage is in Matthew 7.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So then, you will know them by their fruits. ” Matthew 7:15-20
In my Bible, this passage is given a subtitle. “You Will Know Them By Their Fruits.” The basic premise of this passage is that you can’t just accept someone because they claim to be good, You have to watch the fruit they produce. You can’t just accept anyone who claims to be a prophet, but you need to judge the fruit they produce, because Good trees produce good fruit. But there is something interesting here. Because while verse 20 is the end of this sub-heading, it is not the end of the passage. Jesus is still in the middle of His conversation. So lets take a look at the follow up portion.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Matthew 7:21-23
Interesting. So right after telling use we need to Judge fruit, he basically tells us that Prophecy, Deliverance, and Miracles aren’t the fruit. This seems crazy. These people were ministering in the name of Jesus. They cast out demons, they prophesied, and they did miracles. wouldn’t that count as good fruit?
Not according to Jesus.
Jesus began the passage by telling us that there would be many false prophets. Then He tells us to look for fruit. But if the fruit is not the prophecy, or the miracles what is? Jesus gives us a little insight to this. He tells the false prophet in this passage, “I never knew you. depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”
This is a HUGE KEY. Jesus says that he never knew them. So perhaps this gives us insight into the good fruit. Jesus wants to know and be known. We see this exemplified in Jesus’ final moments before being betrayed. He is praying in a garden, and John records some of this for us.
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:20-24
Jesus is pouring His soul out to His Father. His hopes and His dreams, and His desire. But look at what He most desires. That we would be united, with each other, with Him, and with the Father.
Jesus also speaks of a vine and its branches, and this is more of His discourse on unity. In John 15 He calls himself the TRUE VINE and then says we are His branches, and through Him we bear fruit. Bearing Good fruit is very important. Jesus talks about fruit an awful lot. But He says that good fruit is achieved by abiding in Him as the vine. Let’s take a look at this discourse.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “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. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. ” John 15:1-8
I know, this is a pretty scripture heavy day. Trust me it will be worth it. Hopefully you are seeing the importance of True Good fruit. The fruit is not your gifts, the fruit is becoming more like Jesus. Think about it, when Paul talked about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he never called them the fruit. He called them gifts.
The Fruit of the Spirit are; Love Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. These are not gifts and manifestations, but rather the Holy Spirit enabling us to live out the character of Jesus. Good fruit is being united with Jesus, and having His nature and character coming through you.
The Gifts of the spirit are important, powerful, and valid, but they are not a substitute for Christ-like character. You can be the most gifted minister in the world, but if your character is poor then you have missed the good fruit, and you ight even fall into the place where Jesus says, “Depart, I never knew you, you are a worker of lawlessness.”
As always, I welcome your comments, questions, etc… Have a great day and God bless you with more of His indwelling spirit to give you the character and nature of Jesus Himself.
Becoming a Fruit Tree: Faithfulness
Joshua 24:14 ESV: “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.”
2Chronicles 19:9 ESV: “And he charged them: “Thus you shall do in the fear of the LORD, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart:”
We are given a command to serve god in faithfulness, but what is that even mean? Merriam Webster gives us these definitions. faith·ful adj \ˈfāth-fəl\
Definition of FAITHFUL; 1:obsolete : full of faith 2: steadfast in affection or allegiance : loyal 3: firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty : conscientious 4: given with strong assurance : binding <a faithful promise>
5: true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original <a faithful copy>
If we take the definitions and put them together we can come up with a good idea of faithfulness: Steadfast allegiance, and observation of Duty, with strong assurance, that is true to the facts.
We are commanded to serve the Lord with Steadfast allegiance. To Be diligent to obey, to be convinced and assured of the truth.
1Samuel 26:23 ESV: “The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness…”
The Lord is a rewarder of those who do what he wants. Obedience is always better than sacrifice.
Psalm 26:3 ESV: “For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.”
We also share in God’s faithfulness. The Fruit of the spirit are all found in him and as we draw into him more and more we find ourselves becoming more like him. This enables us to grow our fruit. Most of the verse in the Bible that deal with faithfulness are centered around God’s faithfulness.
Psalm 1:1-3 ESV: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
When we abide in him, it is as though we are being planted by the rivers of living water. That water, which is his presence feeds our trees and causes us to grow lasting delicious fruit. The presence of the Lord is a key to long lasting fruit. That is not necessarily about fruitfulness but it’s a bit of free knowledge to help us grow.
God’s goodness is something special. It is different than all the other fruit of the Spirit. This is because We have tactile contact with the Goodness of God in a way that we have not with all the other fruit. Psalms 34:8 says it this way;
Psalm 34:8 NASB: O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
You are called to experience the Goodness of God in a manifest, tangible way. Taste his goodness, when you have fruit, it is only good if you taste it. It might look good if it sits on a table, but unless you actually eat it, it will wither and die. Fruit grows into its ripeness and then you eat it.
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Furthermore, Moses was able to experience the goodness of God in a way that was different than the rest of the people. Exodus 33:19 NASB: And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.”
The Lord’s goodness was linked with his compassion, but also his presence. It is a physical, tangible experience. We should be striving to see the Goodness of the Lord before us.
Psalm 23:6 NASB: “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Goodness is something that we should be marked with for all the days of our lives. If you read the full Psalm you see that this is a side effect of a yielded life. Psalm 23 begins with David proclaiming that The Lord is his Shepherd. When the Lord is your shepherd, there are benefits. One such benefit is verse six; the presence of His Goodness as a staple of your life. Psalm 31 furthers this point. Psalm 31:19 NASB: “How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men!” He stores up Goodness for the people who are his; for the people who live a yielded life and give themselves over to him in his fullness.
We should always be able to remember the Goodness of God. Psalm 145:7 NASB: “They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.” In the context of This Psalm, David is remembering all the characteristics of God. Isaiah continues in this theme:
Isaiah 63:7 NASB: “I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, According to all that the LORD has granted us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has granted them according to His compassion And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses.” Remember his Goodness. God has done great things for you, and those memories are faith builders.
Romans 2:4b “…The Kindness of God leads you to repent.”
Kindness has a sort of mystical power. It is not something that you can understand naturally. Kindness has the ability to change situations. In Romans 2, Paul is talking about The Justice of God. The fact that he gives each according to what they deserve, and he reminds us that we once were deserving of much judgment and wrath.
However, God in his love for us, extended kindness. This as Eugene H. Peterson puts it in his Biblical Paraphrase, “Takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.”
Many people view fear as a great motivator, which it is. Fear will cause you to do many things that you would not normally do. However, fear is not the proper motivator, because once the fear is lifted, the actions will change to the pre-fear state, even if it takes a long time.
In the movie Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio puts it perfectly, “No, cause I think positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time. We all crave reconciliation – we’re catharsis. We need Robert Fischer to have a positive emotional reaction to all this.” God is not a warmonger trying to make slaves, but he is a lover trying to make lovers.
Now, by the nature of this group, I know we are already repentant lovers of Christ; you wouldn’t want to spend much time with me if you weren’t. So what does this scripture hold as value for us?
Pause and look for imput from people?
What if we start looking at kindness as a weapon? Perhaps we can view kindness as something that can change our situations.
What if we decide to allow the kindness of Jesus to flow in and out of us?
What if we got it into our heads that there is a level of Justice that we can help to bring forth on the earth?
I personally feel we have a mixed up view of Kindness. We look at it as speaking nice to people and being ‘friendly’ What if there was a different form of Kindness that was able to affect social and individual change?
Kindness goes hand in hand with Justice. What if you became an engine for social justice? When was the last time you help someone in need. Gave money to the poor, fed the needy, and clothed the destitute? Justice is Gods hand of Kindness being poured out upon the earth.
There is a movement within the church to be more missional which is to be Justice Minded. It started with fringe people like Shane Claibourne and Tony Campolo. At first their message got lost in their methods as they were so justice oriented that they shunned almost every other Christian discipline. But as other ministries have realized the need for works of justice, it has given the Church to opportunity to rise up and be what God intended for us.
Last year when the Nation of Haiti was devastated by an earthquake, it was the Christians who rose up and brought the most help. Now, this has become an agent for Religious change in the nation of Haiti. There is more opportunity for evangelism than ever before, what was once a voodoo nation is now a hotbed for Miracles and the kingdom.
First, we need to remember that Patience is on of God’s attributes. Romans 15:5 in the New King James says it this way. “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,” He is the God of patience, and so we should be safe to assume he is a patient God. Thus, if we seek to become more like him, we will become more patient.
In some English translations of the Bible, the word patience is instead translated as “Long-suffering” lets examine this word. Its pretty basic, but the two parts are “Long” and “Suffering” In Strong’s it connects this to the Greek word Makrothumia:
- Makrothumia: forbearance, fortitude, and longsuffering.
What does it mean to be longsuffering? I means you stand firm in the midst of your sufferings, no matter how long they seem. Remember the words of Paul in 2nd Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,”
No matter how hard or long your suffering seems, remember that in the light of Eternity, and the Glory of God it is nothing. God never promised to save you from suffering. In fact he said it will come. But he has given us an opportunity with our sufferings. We have 2 choices:
- Press on toward the higher calling
- Give up.
2nd Timothy 2:12a says “If we endure with him, we will rule with him” Therefore if we want to Reign in the heavenly places as ambassadors for Christ, we must be willing to Endure. Remembering of course that we endure with him, but not as rough as him. Christ endured much more than we ever will, or ever could.
Later on in 2nd Timothy 4:5 Paul is instructing Timothy in the way of the Ministry, and he gives him this challenge, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Enduring is part of ministry. IF we want to be effective ministers of the Gospel, we must be able to Endure.
In 1st Peter 2:20 he is talking about suffering and he says this, “For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.” When we are made to suffer for something that we did right, God delights in this and he commends us.
Finally Remember the words of Jesus himself in Matthew 10:22 “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” You will suffer, life requires patience, but HE who endures is saved. Imagine suffering for a long time, then suddenly you give up right before your breakthrough. You could be one step from the door, but if you give up, you never walk through the door and see the spoils of your patience.
- The Purpose of patience is not to learn to stand in lines, but rather to learn to trust God. To hold fast to your faith, and to endure hardships. Because your end is awaiting with Great rewards.
as always, comments, questions, thoughts, and other ideas welcomed.
So, I promised all 9 fruits of the spirit. However I got side tracked. Today is wednesday which is my usual day where I am teaching the College group, but we are on a spring break so instead I will teach all of you. I do not know when we will be picking our college group back up as we are entering a season of heavy traveling and ministering in the ministry. Places on the Agenda; Coffeyville KS, Mexico, India, Germany, Israel, Oklahoma, Nebraska? Thee may be more added soon, we will just have to wait and see. Continue to pray for me, and believe God with me for my provision. The Life of a Missions intern is always fun, just sometimes requires a lot of faith. Anyway, onto the lesson on Peace. — The Lesson on peace comes from an amazing passage in scripture; 2nd Chronicles 20:1-30. For the sake of Brevity, I will not post the whole passage here, but I did hyperlink it so you can read it if you so desire. This story shows us the power of peace. The natural antithesis of peace is Fear. If you are following in the story, you would understand that Fear seems natural when you have an army waiting to destroy you and your nation. However Jehoshaphat did not succumb to that fear instead lets look at a breakdown of his reaction.
- Vs 3: “Was afraid, and turned his attentions to the Lord.”
- It didn’t say he had no fear. he was afraid, but instead of focusing on the fear, and the situation, he instead turned his attentions to the Lord.
- Vs 3-4: “Proclaimed a fast in all of Judah, they gathered to seek the Lord.”
- In the midst of his situation, he gathered with those who were like-minded, because they knew that to stand in the peace of God would require unity.
- Vs 6-2: King Jehoshaphat reminds the Lord, and the people of Judah of all God’s past faithfulness up to verse 9. Then shifts in Verse 10 and proclaims his faith that his God will be faithful in this trial.
- Vs 12: “we do not know what to do, but we fix our eyes on you.”
- Jehoshaphat realized he had no answers, but knew that God would be faithful to answer. So he trusted in the Lord.
- Jeremiah 29:11, 33:3
- Jehoshaphat realized he had no answers, but knew that God would be faithful to answer. So he trusted in the Lord.
- Vs 14-17: The Holy Spirit comes upon a lowly Levite. He prophesies the word of the Lord concerning Judah’s situation.
- Vs 20: “Believe God and be established, Believe his prophets, and prosper.”
- God wants us to trust him, not only with our mouth, but with our actions. When we do as he has asked, we can be strengthened and succeed.
- Vs 21-23: Judah marches toward the battle. The whole way, they release their praises to God. He had not required this, but they trusted him so implicitly that they were able to praise, and shout with Joy. Then, God took out their enemies before them. They didn’t have to lift a finger, God did all the work.
- Vs 25: After the Lord had vanquished their enemies, they were able to raid the camps and take the spoils. So much so that It took the army three days to retrieve all the spoils and bring them back home.
Now, what all have we learned through this? Peace is the result of Firmly Trusting in God. In life, you will have many opportunities to succumb to fear, or rise above it and trust in God. How does one achieve peace?
- Turn your eyes to find God
- Vs. 3 & 12
- Listen and Obey His word
- Vs. 14-20
- Praise Him
- Before The Storm
- During The Storm
- After The Storm
A final thought: In Roman’s 16:19 God has promised that he will Crush Satan underneath our feat. When we enter a situation that brings fear, we need to remember that God will crush Satan. When we remember this, it becomes easier to maintain our peace because HE WINS over evil. As always, comments, questions, thoughts, & love welcomed.
I love the fruit of the spirit, and am really enjoying this study. Its always good to grow in the simple things. As the simple things come together, they can form a cool new shape that is impressive. The first fruit we studied was Love and now we are moving on to Joy. J-O-Y!!!!! In my head when I hear the word Joy, I hear Wes Hall from IHOP-KC. He says it a lot, and his accent is pleasing to the ears.
Nehemiah 8:10 “…For the joy of The Lord is your strength.”
– Joy is your strength, its a mighty weapon in your hands. Because of this, I thought it would be good to look up the definition of Joy. Here are some of the definitions. This is not the exhaustive list, but the ones that I felt God highlighting to me.
- Bodily Power
- Mental Power
- Moral or Spiritual Power
- Ability to Resist
I love these definitions. Strength is your Physical, Mental and Spiritual Power. It is also your ability to influence and resist. These are such valuable things. Lets start by looking at the physical, mental, and spiritual power aspect to Joy.
Proverbs 17:22 “A Joyful heart is like a good medicine.”
Solomon, who was the worlds wisest man, save for Jesus Himself, penned this little scripture here. When God taught the way of wisdom to Solomon, he taught him this. A Joyful heart is like a good medicine. In modern times we hear it more often said “Laughter is the best medicine.” Science has actually proven this to be true. In my high school psychology class I remember reading about a psychologist who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He figured if nothing else he should die happy, and he rented a bunch of comedy movies and just watched them for days, laughing till it hurt (so to speak.) But then something miraculous happened, the Joy that he had placed in his heart started to fight back against the cancer. The man literally beat cancer by laughing.
Joy is strength for your body, it helps you to keep healthy. But it is also your spiritual power as well, think about it, read the stories of the early church, you see a picture of Joy, and those people revolutionized the world.
Now I want to look at the influential side of Joy. This is not even simply a biblical principal, in saying that I mean you do not need a doctorate in theology to understand that Joyful people have more friends. People want to be around people who lift their spirits. You want to spend your time with happy people, people who make you smile. In fact in most dating surveys you will find that the number one thing people look for in a mate is someone who makes them happy or someone who makes them laugh. Joy is influential and it is contagious.
Acts 13:52 “…The Disciples were filled with Joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 “…May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace…”
I love these two verses because they show you something, God gives people joy. He doesn’t want you to be depressed of melancholy. So what ways can we get his Joy? Well, asking him to give you his Joy is a good start, but there is one surefire way I guarantee you will see an increase in joy in your life.
Psalm 16:11 “…In Your Presence there is fullness of Joy.”
If you are lacking joy in your life, I would suggest you get in his presence. You can do this through prayer, worship, fasting among other things, but the key is to get there. For me, Worship is the quickest way into his presence. I begin to worship, or soak with worship, and suddenly I begin to feel his presence envelop me like a cloak or a blanket.
Another key to maintaining your Joy is your words. What you say has a big impact on your joy.
Proverbs 15:23 “A man has Joy in the words of his mouth…”
Once again, Solomon who was a fount of wisdom has more to speak on the topic of Joy. He gives us clear instructions that our words will determine our joy. If you lack joy, begin to declare the Good things. As you do, your joy will increase.
Proverbs 12:20 “Deceit is in the heart of those who desire evil, but counselors of Peace have Joy.”
Solomon, who was indeed a champ when it comes to wisdom tells us here about how Joy is our power to resist. We are to be counselors of peace. Ones who take the volatile and bring peace. He describes those types of people as once who have Joy. Joy will give us the ability to stand in the midst of temptation and sin and not succumb to it, and furthermore it will be our strength to change it. I think this is just plain awesome.
The las thing I want to talk about is the power of Joy in response to weeping.
Ezra 3:12-13 “Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.”
The older men remembered Solomon’s temple. As I have mentioned before, Solomon was a champ, and his temple was evidence. It should be regarded among the wonders of the world. However the Second temple was decent at best and by no means as cool as the original. However, the younger generation had not seen the first temple. So while the older men wept because they knew it wasn’t as good as before, the young men praised and Joy filled their hearts because this was the temple, finally they had the place for the worship of God once more.
The sound of the shouts of Joy were so loud that they just plain drowned out the weeping. Joy trumped weeping. More examples of this can be found in the Bible.
Isaiah 61:3 “…The Oil of Joy for Mourning.”
Psalms 126:5 :They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
God will take our mourning, weeping, heaviness, sorrow, and in its place he will give us joy.
I thank you for taking the time to read and study with me. Part 3, Peace will be up soon. As always, comments, questions and discussions are always welcome. Blessings.
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.