The Fruit of The Spirit
By Matt Ferreira
‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (Galatians 5:22-23).
The Fruit of the Spirit is a Bible word that summarises the nine characteristics of a person who lives with the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit. This week, we’re looking at the first of those; love.
Love comes first in the list because it is the most important! It influences all of the other aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit. Love usually refers to strong feelings of affection and care. We all love different things. For me, I love spending time with family and friends, playing or watching football and eating chocolate (in no particular order!), how about you?
Feelings of love are important, but there is a greater love. Love has a Name; we read in the Bible that God is love (1 John 4:7-21). He is relational, He is personal and He loves you. But, when the Bible speaks of love, it usually has more to do with what we do rather than what we think or feel. Jesus continually spent His time and energy caring for those around Him. He was willing to show the ultimate act of love in His death and resurrection for us, which means you and I can now live in relationship with God and be in heaven with Him.
Similarly, Jesus wants us to demonstrate His love by loving those around us. It is easier for us to love those who we know and like, but we are also called to love those who we may disagree with too. This may mean laying down our own preferences, desires and sometimes even personal needs to put others before us. This honours God.
When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, He helps us. It means we can have God’s love towards other people within us (Romans 15:30). Reflect on the words written by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 to see how we can love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, 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. Love never fails.