Love – The essential ingredient for all other graces to grow. Not a feeling, but a choice. Self-sacrificing, seeking what’s best for others, expecting nothing in return. The opposite is a selfish, hateful, envious, critical spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22,23)
(This is the first blog post in my series on the fruit of the Spirit, I plan to do one each month, with God’s help.)
At our Vacation Bible School every summer we sing a song with the kids, it is called “I’ve got Peace Like a River”. It covers the first 3 fruits of the Spirit – Love, Joy, and Peace, and uses water as a simile for those virtues. This fun song compares the LOVE of God to an ocean. And so, I got to thinking about LOVE like an OCEAN. WHY did the song refer to LOVE like an OCEAN? Well, an ocean is very very deep, and very very wide, and very very BIG. Which reminds me of a verse:
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
This verse is talking about God’s LOVE. And as Christians, we should be “rooted and grounded in” His Love (Ephesians 3:17). Love is listed first in the fruit of the Spirit because it is foundational to all the rest. We can do all kinds of good and spiritual things, BUT, if we don’t do them with LOVE, we have nothing! If we truly love God, and are thankful for what He has done for us, we will pass on that love to others, and the Lord Jesus confirms that the whole Law can be summed up by loving God and loving others! (Read Matthew 22:36-40, and Mark 12:30-32). So, if we can get a handle on God’s LOVE, that’s really all we need to know! And, we can only live out God’s LOVE when we yield to His Holy Spirit, and allow Him to LOVE others through us.
When we stand before the Lord and our works are judged, I believe that we will be judged on how much (or how little) we showed love for God and for others. Paul said that our lives are an “…epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2) –a letter that all people watching can ‘read’! It has been said that people may not read the book of Acts or the book of Revelation, but they will watch our lives and our “acts” will “reveal” a whole lot! I hope that they see our lives as a LOVE letter from God, telling others how much He loves them and wants to have a relationship with them.
So, LOVE is pretty important! True Christians (those who have trusted in Christ and Christ alone for our salvation, by believing that He died on the Cross to pay the price for our sins) are a very small minority in this world. Which means that God’s LOVE –that results from a Christian being indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit, and then yielding to that Holy Spirit—is in short supply in this world. It’s no wonder our world is in such trouble! At the beginning I said that the opposite is a selfish, hateful, envious, critical spirit. Isn’t that what we are seeing with the increase in divorce, single-parent homes, abuse, domestic violence and the horrific school shootings?
I know I have written a couple of blogs about LOVE (‘All you need is Love’ and ‘Love is in the Air’), but that’s because it is so important. My prayer is that others will see God’s LOVE in me, and that I can pass it on to others. I pray others will see it in you, too!
~Graced and Grateful Grammy
“We cannot love too much.” –Amy Carmichael