But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)
Paul tells us in Galatians chapter five that if we are walking in the Spirit we will be manifesting the fruit of the Holy Spirit who dwells within all those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior. It is not that we are called to “try harder” to produce this fruit in our lives. It is that we are to walk by faith in the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit and He will produce this fruit, supernaturally, in our lives. The nine characteristics of this fruit include the ‘flavor’ Love.
All you need is Love, so say The Beatles, and every other love song, in their own way! Love is spoken of so often, and misunderstood and ignored so badly. The next time you tell someone or write on your Instagram or Facebook entry, “Love ya!,” “Love you!,” or “I love yooooou!,” ask yourself, “Do I?!” Depending on the version you use, it is mentioned in the Bible well over 300 times. To measure our understanding of, commitment to and whether Spirit-produced Love is present in our lives, let’s look at it in “3-D”!
1st “D” - DESIGN
If you have ever attended a wedding, chances are you have heard someone read from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, “Love is patient, love is kind. It [Love] does not envy; it [Love] does not boast, it [Love] is not proud. It [Love] does not dishonor others; it [Love] does not self-seeking, it [Love] is not easily angered, it [Love] keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but [Love] rejoices with the truth. It [Love] always protects, [Love] always trusts, [Love] always hopes, [Love] always perseveres. Love never fails.”
A challenge: First read this passage out loud with the word “Love” used where it ought to be in the text. Next read the passage with the word “Jesus” used where the word “Love” ought to appear. Then finally, read the passage with “your name” where the word “Love” ought to appear. How did you measure up?!
2nd “D” - DEFINITION
My working definition of Love is that “Love is wanting God’s best for someone, expecting nothing in return, believing it will probably cost you something.” Love is not about you. It is about the one you choose to love. You can love your enemy this way. You can love your sibling or friend this way. You can love your sweetheart this way!
3rd “D” - DISTORTION
Beware! There is much and there are many out there that would fool you into thinking that it is Love that they are peddling! To like someone is not necessarily to love them. You can like someone and not love them. You can love someone and not like them. They might not be likeable! You can want someone and not love them, either! Ultimately it is the example Christ showed us of how we are to love. “This is Love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
Like, want, and trust are not unconditional. Love is.
Suggested prayer: “Father, remind me today of how much you loved me by giving me Jesus. Help me to love someone like that, today! I pray in the lovely name of Jesus. Amen”
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