Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The First Fruit of Love

A teaching by Andi Cook, a pastors daughter, a wife of a pastor, and a loving mother of three sons.  Andi also graduated from seminary. Galatians 5: 22-23.  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law." The fruit of the Spirit are listed after God tells us to “walk by the Spirit” as opposed to walking in the flesh. Some of the acts of the flesh listed in verses 19-21 are sexual immorality, selfish ambitions, envy, drunkenness, and outbursts of anger.  "As I told you before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Then God proceeds to tell us what fruit He will build into our lives.  As we mature as Christians, we eagerly welcome His Spirit to have
more sway in our lives. Note that God says "fruit" not fruits.  I believe that they are called fruit because they are inter-dependent and they all grow on one tree. I think of them like a cluster, more like grapes than apples. In this study we will look at the nine fruit of the Spirit. If you read the list and think that you have a long way to go, that’s okay. The only human who ever exhibited all nine fruit to their fullest was Jesus. As we strive to be more like Him, we will begin to recognize this fruit growing in our spiritual lives. As English speakers, we are limited when we talk about love. We have one word for love. We sometimes use love with a qualifier, but most of the time we simply say love. People say “I love pizza. I love my child. I love my teacher.  I love my friends. I love Jesus”  We expect the listener to be able to
figure out exactly what we mean by love in each situation. We do have other words we can use such as like or to be enamored with, but we lump all of those into the general category of love. The ancient Greeks were much more sophisticated when it came to discussing love.  (I may have a seminary degree, but I never took Greek and am not a Greek scholar. However, I will talk about the meanings of Greek words because I can look them up on the Internet or ask my husband, who did take Greek, although it was many moons ago.) The Greeks had at least seven words for love, Eros – sexual love, Phileo – deep friendship, Storge – family love such as that between siblings, Ludus – playful love like that of children or young lovers in the flirting stage of a relationship,  Pragma – a longstanding relationship as in marriage,
 Philautia – love of self, and Agape – a selfless love that is extended to all people. Agape is the love attributed to God and is the word used in the list of fruit. Agape is an unconditional love and it means that we wish the best for everyone. Agape is also the only fruit that is also listed as a spiritual gift. Romans 5:5-8 "This hope will not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Knowing that we do not always exhibit unconditional love whereby we always wish the best for everyone, we can ask God and expect the Holy Spirit to develop our sour grapes into a juicy grape of Agape love. 1 John 4:7-12 "Dear friends let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love, does not know God, because God is love. God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His
One and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we must love one another.  No one has ever seen God.  If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us." So if you are not loving others unconditionally, do not despair, His love is perfected in us, over time! As we submit and live through Him, His Agape love will be perfected in us by the time Jesus returns.  "Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work 'in' you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  What happens when we choose not to forgive and hold tightly to a grudge against someone that has been unkind, unfaithful, who has broken our trust or hurt us? 
Hebrews 12:15 tells us that without forgiveness, which is a by-product of love, a bitter root can grow up in us and cause us trouble. 1 Corinthians 13:1 "If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal." Without Agape Love, when we speak, we just make noise that nobody wants to hear. MEMORIZE this scripture, write it on the tablet of your heart. Romans 5:5-8 "This hope will not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  ---- 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 "love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, it is not boastful or conceited, love does not act improperly, it is not selfish, it is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs." It sounds like a prescription for perfection, but all these attributes are possible as we submit to the Holy Spirit.  I believe that love is first on the list because just as Paul listed love as the greatest of all of the gifts of the spirit, it is the fruit of the Spirit that empowers all of the other fruits. This study to be continued as a series on the Fruit of the Spirit.  Coming soon is JOY!

4 comments:

  1. Andi Cook has published many books on WATTPAD. Download WATTPAD for FREE on your preferred device and read her fascinating books for FREE. Andi is a gifted by God author and her writing is indeed inspired from on high.

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  2. Thanks, Barb, for sharing this. May God's love be splashed into the lives of your readers.

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  3. Thanks, Barb, for sharing this. May God's love be splashed into the lives of your readers.

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