Probably one of the most misunderstood concepts among Christians is love. Of course, that’s to be expected in our society. The media throws that word around with no clue as to what they’re talking about.
As I said in my last post, I want to talk about each of the Fruit of the Spirit in detail. Today, I’ll start with love. It’s the Greek word, agape, which has a very specific meaning.
As it turns out, the Greek language has a number of words that are translated as love in English. In this post, I’m only going to be talking about the word Paul uses as one of the fruit. As you’ll see, this is not something that you can just do by accident. It has to be a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.
Probably the best description given was by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. If you’re able, you should read through it before continuing with this blog. Let me quote a small section for you.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Think about what this passage is saying. Especially in the light of what Jesus told us. He commanded us, as His disciples to love one another (John 13:34-35). That statement alone should show us the fallacy of the world’s view of love.
This kind of love has nothing at all to do with our emotions. It’s purely a choice that we make in our treatment of others. It also includes action. It’s impossible to love this way by simply saying it or thinking it. God’s kind of love has to be visible.
But what do I really have to do to show love to someone? By looking at the above verse, it’s clear that there’s a group of people I actually want to treat like this. They’re my friends. I want to show them how much I like them.
There you have it; love means that you treat everyone as if you like them, whether you do or not. After all, isn’t that the teaching that Jesus left us with?
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
This is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit operating in us. Loving our enemies is not natural to our human make-up.
“I love them, but I just don’t like them.”
Wait a minute. I didn’t tell you the best part of all this. Not only do you have to treat everyone as if you like them – even your enemies, there’s more. You have to treat them this way whether they’re physically present or not.
After all, you wouldn’t gossip, slander, or speak evil about a friend of yours. Love deals with the total package of how we treat others. Whether they know about it or not isn’t the issue. The God kind of love is a lifestyle.
That’s why Paul calls it one of the fruit. It grows naturally from a life that spends time in the Father’s presence. It’s one of the visible changes that we see as a life matures in Christ.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:12
Spend time in the Father’s presence. Let Him complete His love in you.
Question: What was a recent time that you saw God’s love operating through you?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017