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Thursday, September 12 2019

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” Gal. 5:22 [AMP]

INTRODUCTION

In the next few weeks, we will be considering the fruit of the Spirit. It is very easy for anyone to “claim” they are living life by the Spirit as Paul admonished us to; but it’s only those who exhibit the fruit of the Spirit that are truly living life by the Spirit. In Matthew 7:16 (KJV) Jesus Christ said “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

It is also interesting to note that the Spirit produces ONLY ONE "symbolical" fruit as opposed to fruits that is generally quoted. It is a singular fruit that consists of graces such as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; all these rich variety of graces, of conduct and character, are not isolated graces, but all connected, springing from one root and constituting an organic whole. The Amplified version refers to the fruit as “the result”, the Greek word that was used can be translated as “the harvest”. So, the result, product or the harvest of the Spirit within us is all of these graces.

Today, we shall be starting with the first of these graces called LOVE

LOVE

Love is an attribute that spans across very many spectrums; it is also one attribute that is very easily confused. So, before delving into it, I will bring it to perspective.

The love referred to here is more than the one that stems from our emotions; it is one that is nonpartial and unconditional. It is Agape - the highest form of love!

It is firstly our love for God; and then our fellow man; a perfect and absolute guide for living life by the Spirit!

LOVE FOR GOD

Jesus revealed this in Matthew 22: 37-39 (KJV):

“Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Emphasis mine

1 John 5:3 says: For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”

Without this love for God, we will just be going through the motions and only fulfilling the law and ticking the boxes. We should deliberately cultivate and express this love regardless of who the recipient is, give it unconditionally. Not getting it back is not an excuse not to give it!

It is when we love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds that we are able to, without difficulty or the compulsion of law, share this love with others through acts of kindness and service.

LOVE FOR OURSELVES

It is important that we are able to love ourselves; Jesus was deliberate in making mention of us loving our neighbours as ourselves because you can’t give what you don’t have.

Psalm 139:14 (TPT) says: “I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it!

How thoroughly you know me, Lord!”

Ephesians 5:29a (TLB) says: “No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it,”

LOVE FOR OUR NEIGHBOUR

Without getting over spiritualized about this; our neighbour doesn’t necessarily have to live next door to us or in the same locality but anyone and everyone our paths cross in our day to day life! Your neighbour can therefore be a family member, a colleague at work; a superior, a subordinate, a client, a patient, a guest, a student, a teacher, a church member, etc.

This love translates to caring for others who are in need. It also means, not hating another or wishing them ill or harm. It is this love that forms the basis of “duty of care” (a moral or legal obligation to ensure the safety or wellbeing of others). It is the love that expresses itself by giving. John 3:16a says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”

It is expressing the Father’s heart to others not because of what one wishes to receive in return but service to and for everyone in need, regardless! Romans 12:9a (NLT) admonishes us to love others genuinely. “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.”

Also, “passive love” does not exist! Love can only be seen by our actions! Here are the characteristcis of this love as spelt out in 1Cor.13:4 -7 (MSG)

  • Love never gives up.

Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

  • Love cares more for others than for self.

Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” [NIV]

  • Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Luke 12:15: “And he said unto them, take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” [KJV]

  • Love doesn’t strut,

James 4:16: “As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil”

  • Doesn’t have a swelled head,

James 4:6b: “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

  • Doesn’t force itself on others,

Matt. 20: 25-27: “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant”

  • Isn’t always “me first,”

Romans 10:12: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves”

  • Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Prov. 25:28: “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”

  • Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

1 Peter 4:8b “love covers over a multitude of sins.”

  • Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Proverbs 24:17: “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice,”

  • Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Psalms 1:2: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night

  • Puts up with anything

Heb.10:36: “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”

  • Trusts God always,

Prov. 3:5a: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart”

  • Always looks for the best,

Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

  • Never looks back,

Luke 9:62: “Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

  • But keeps going to the end.

Matt.24:13: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

  • Love never dies.

Romans 6:9: “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”

CONCLUSION

When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce a harvest of graces that the Law has nothing against but conforms to. The first of the graces is divine love in all its varied expressions. We see the attributes this divine love possesses in 1Cor.13:4 -7 (MSG) and why it is applicable in every facet of life. In church, at work, at home, everywhere.

Parts of this study was culled from: https://isekhua.wordpress.com/relevance-building-blocks/

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:33 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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