Today we will continue our look at the fruit of love. There is so much to say about this topic, but we are going to focus each day on just one aspect of it. We may not cover each fruit exhaustively, but it should give us plenty to think about.
Love is popular. There is a lot of talk about love in our culture. In our English language there is only one word for love, and several synonyms. This can lead to confusion, and the need to be clear, but I do not think it is helpful to dive deep into the original Greek language to try to define it. Our English Bible defines it quite well within the context of the verses.
The focus for today is the word identification.
This identification is in two parts.
As Christians we are told that it is possible for us to know that we are saved. We can know that we are children of God, by the Spirit of God in us.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Now, in what way is this witness seen? It may be a confidence. A still small voice perhaps. Yet, is it also possible that there will be some visible evidence to provide this witness? I say that I am a child of God. I say that the Holy Spirit now dwells in me. What will be the evidence?
The Bible is clear that love is an immutable attribute of the believer.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
When I am in Christ, and the Holy Spirit in me, His love can then flow through me. This love does not come from my flesh, but from the Holy Spirit. It is His fruit, and therefore its presence in my life identifies me as a believer. It gives me comfort to see Him producing his fruit in me.
As disciples of Christ, we are told that the world will be able to look at us and know that we are disciples of Christ. How will they know this?
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Love within the family of God is a clear and visible mark of the disciple. One of the reasons this will be such a clear sign to the world that we are disciples of Christ is because it is a change from our previous behavior! The world is selfish, self-centered, and only looks out for themselves. Even the good we do, is often with a view of personal benefit. This is not so with the believer. We love one another with a sacrificial love. Esteeming others better than ourselves, and putting the needs of others above our own, as Christ did.
The Holy Spirit takes up residence in our lives, and as we submit to Him, He begins to bear fruit in our lives. The first of which is love.
Now…does that mean that if there is a lack of love in my life that I am not a Christian? Of course not. We are told to be filled with the Spirit. We are told to submit to the Holy Spirit. We are told to walk in Him. We are not automatons. There are times we get, as the saying goes, sideways with our neighbors. There are times Christ is less visible in my life than at others. However, the challenge is to examine our lives and ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit, and allow His fruit to be born in our lives.
Do you see the capacity for love in your heart? Have you seen God change your heart toward others since you have been saved? Can the world see the difference?
Heavenly Father, your Holy Spirit continually changes me. I have seen your love in my life. I have found myself, at times, in a great quandary; desiring to be angry, and at the same time drawn to love. This can only be explained by your presence in my life. I am weak Father. I cannot do the things I want to do. I need your strength to help me. Fill me with your Spirit today, and let the fruit of love identify me as your child, and as a disciple of your Son. In Jesus name, amen.