Today we will start to look at the fruit of the Spirit. Over the next 28 Days we will examine this list, and I hope to get a better understanding of each one, and how the Holy Spirit can bear them in my life.
The first one on the list is love.
Often people make a big to do about the order of lists given in the Bible. Many people assume that because something is first on the list then it must be the most important. While this is may be true in some cases, it is not necessarily a good indicator of importance.
For example, in 1 Corinthians 13 Paul gives a list of three things: faith, hope, charity. In this case, faith is given first, but Paul says the greatest of these is charity; the last on the list. Then we see that when the trinity is mentioned, it is always the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, in this case, the Bible is clear that they are equal. They are one.
So sometimes lists show importance by their order, sometimes it is simply a list.
I think that for the most part the list we have in Galatians 5:22 is just a list. However, it is interesting that the first of the fruit listed is love.
I say interesting because of Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 13 that charity (love) is the greatest.
No doubt, love is one of the most desirable fruits we can have produced in our lives. Consider these things about love:
- Love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
- Love covers a multitude of sins. 1Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
- Love identifies us as disciples of Christ Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
- Love promotes our obedience to the Lord John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
- Love encourages sacrifice John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
This is just a small list, there are many others we could look at, and probably will look at, in the days ahead.
The primary thing I want to bring out about love today is the fact that it is a by-product of the Holy Spirit in us. We cannot truly love without the Holy Spirit residing in us. There is a lot of talk about love in our culture today. Most, if not all, of it pales in comparison with the love of God. God’s love is perfect love. God’s love is lasting. God’s love is overcoming love. And God intends that His love should be evident in our lives.
Far too often it seems that there is a lack of love in my own life. When I am not filled with the Spirit, and yielded to Him, my flesh tends toward criticism, and anger, and bitterness. I am stingy and self-centered.
Love is one of the most visible of the fruits on this list. It is obvious when it is present, and it is obvious when it is absent.
As we begin to look at love over the next few days, I hope that you will join me as we challenge ourselves in relation to love, and examine our lives to see if God’s love is present, growing, and active. It really is not hard to know.
Heavenly Father, there is nothing more obvious in your Word than that love is one of your greatest attributes. We see throughout the pages of Scripture that you demonstrate love to us. Nowhere is this more true than in sending your Son to die for us. I know, Father, that it is also true that you desire that love to be in my own life. You have given me the Holy Spirit to produce this love, and you have taught us how to love. Help me as I look at this subject of the next few days. Give me a willing heart. Place your love within me. In Jesus name, amen.