But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24
I don’t believe it is coincidence that the writer puts love as the first fruit of the Spirit. The Bible tells us that “God is Love.” If you truly walk in the Spirit you will love God and will love others. Recently I read a story of a child that was attacked by a pit bull. The mother who was close by without even thinking started punching the dog in the mouth and bit the dogs ear off until the pit bull released her little girl. I could tell you many stories I have read in the news about parents risking and giving up their lives to save their children. Why? It is because of love. The love a parent has for their child is so great that you want to protect, comfort, hold, cherish and even give up your life so they might be saved. You see this is the love God has for us. In fact God’s love is even greater than the love a parent has for their child. God’s love for us is so much that He gave his only Son Jesus to save us. Would you give up your child’s life to save someone else? Would you give up your own life to save a stranger? God is love and all love comes from God. “We love because he first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19).
Love for God
When we walk in the Spirit the very first thing that should be evident is love. It is the greatest commandment, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength” (Matt 22:37). Love is something that many are confused about and many get the idea of love through watching movies or reading books. How do you love God? Jesus said “if you love me you will keep my commands” (Jn 14:15). Love for God is shown by obedience to Him. We can say we love God all we want but if we are continually disobedient to Him we do not truly love Him. Many go through life so full of hate, and bitterness that they don’t have any room for God. Make room Jesus today and let Him be Lord over your life and you will find a love like no other. Jesus should be your first and only love in this life.
Love your neighbor
The second part of love is given right after loving God with all your heart. Jesus said, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Why did Jesus say that? He said that because if you love your neighbor as much as you love yourself than your neighbor is going to get a lot of love. Lets face it, we love ourselves. How many times do you look in the mirror each day? Maybe you like buying new clothes or a new car. Many of us try to eat healthy and take care of our bodies. Women will spend years getting ready each day, putting on makeup, changing into 100 different outfits, but for what purpose? It is so they can look their very best, because they love themselves. Men spend thousands of dollars on hair products and clothes because they want to look good. Today everyone loves taking pictures of themselves and posting them to social media. People refer to it as taking a selfie. Notice that its something that involves yourself. I’m not talking about being conceited, I’m simply saying that we love ourselves. You see when we love others as much as ourselves it takes the focus off of us and places it on someone else.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.”
Do you love God with all your heart, soul and strength? Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Start today buy obeying the Word and walking in the Spirit. My wife always tells me that love is an action. Start loving God now by being obedient to His commands. Start loving others today by showing the same love that Jesus showed to you. Love God, love others and you might just find a joy your never thought possible. “Whoever loves much, does much.” Thomas a’Kempis