The Fruit of Love
"He who does not love, does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8
The fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22, 23, or the spiritual developments of the Christian heart, are characteristics of God that are formed in us. God is love. The first one listed is love. Love isn’t just something God has; it is who God is. He defines true love because He is the existence of love. Without God, there would be no love.
When we love with God’s love, other fruits will also develop, because they are all found in love. When we love with God’s love, we don’t sin against God or others because love wouldn’t wrong the other person (Galatians 5:14,16). If you want to be free from sin or addiction, don’t lean on your performance. Learn to grow in receiving and giving love.
In the New Testament, the word that describes the God-kind of love is agape. Agape describes a love that isn’t dependent on anyone or anything because God is complete in and of Himself. God loves unconditionally, not based on us but based on Him. The love of God is gracious. It’s liberal, generous, overflowing. It doesn’t hold back or withhold itself from the one who will receive it. The agape love of God is relentless, unstoppable, unquenchable.
In 1 Corinthians 13 (Amplified), God’s love is described as unfailing. It endures long, is patient and kind. It is never envious nor boils over with jealousy It is not boastful or haughty. It isn’t rude or unmannerly. Agape love does not insist on its own rights or its own way. It isn’t self-seeking. It isn’t touchy or resentful. It takes take in account the evil done to it and doesn’t pay attention to a suffered wrong. God’s love would not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness. It bears all things. It believes the best of everyone. It’s hopes are fadeless under all circumstances.
This God-kind of love has been placed in our hearts (our spirit) by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). It’s the Holy Spirit that helps us to experience and understand this different kind of love. It isn’t a friendship love. It isn’t an affectionate love. It isn’t a romantic love. It’s the love of God, incomparable to any love we’ve known on earth.
As Christians, love is our new nature. We may feel insufficient to love like God, but we can love because God placed His love in us. Even if we fall short, the grace of God helps us get up and try it again.
Application: Are you challenged to love a difficult person? Make a draw on the love of God that is in your heart. The Holy Spirit will help you!