Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5: 22-23
Galatians 5: 22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentlenesses, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
What is love?
“Love” has been abused in today’s world. It has wrongly been used to describe selfish sexual lust. It’s been given as an excuse for passively enabling terrible sins to continue in the lives of loved ones. It’s been seen as an uncontrollable emotion that leads to destructive behavior, or as empty words thrown back and forth with no substance.
What is love?
Love is a great gift from God. The Bible tells us that love suffers long, is kind, does not envy, does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and never fails (paraphrased from 1 Corinthians 13, often called the Love Chapter).
The love that is listed as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 is much different. It is translated from the Greek word agape, used here to express the highest form of love that comes through the Holy Spirit. The love we are supposed to be demonstrating must be a godly love, which comes from God, the being who personifies this attribute.
In Galatians 5:22-23, love is translated from the Greek word ἀγάπη, (agape). Greek has multiple words for love including eros, which is sexual love, and Philos, which is brotherly love. Agape’ is perfect love that only God can give.
“In respect of agapao as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant ‘love’ and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential ‘love’ in them towards the Giver, and a practical 'love’ towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver,” according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary.
Love for God and others is the result of receiving God’s perfect agape love. Jesus encouraged his followers:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9-11).
Love is probably the most well-known fruit of the Spirit, but it is also probably the most misunderstood. How do we make sure we are demonstrating real love?
The English word love has a very broad meaning, but the Greek language was very precise. The love which the Holy Spirit manifests in believers is agape. This love is not a feeling, but a choice.
It is the choice to be kind, to sacrifice, and to consider another's needs greater than one’s own (Philippians 2:3). Agape is used in all of the “hard” love verses in the New Testament:
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
"For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another" (1 John 3:11).
“Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back” (Luke 6:35).
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3).
It is because of love that God carried out His plan to save the world: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It is only by love that we can keep the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31).
Love is the greatest gift God can give. First Corinthians 13 says that agape is patient. Agape is kind. Agape never fails. God desires to show His perfect, selfless love to a world that is routinely confused about what true love is. God’s children are the conduits of His love, as they are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Why does God want us to demonstrate love? It is who and what He is, and He wants us to experience that and show those around us that they don’t have to settle for Satan’s mirage of shallow or twisted love.
Humanity has tried for thousands of years to get by without loving God or loving one another, and it hasn’t worked. The world is full of misery, pain, death, suffering, and many other horrible realities. The world’s version of love unfortunately does not come from God, but rather from Satan, an embittered fallen angel who will stop at nothing to twist anything good God has given to man.
Love self-examination questionnaire
• What is my definition of love? Does it coincide with what God has revealed?
• Do my actions show God’s love? Or do my actions show the world’s idea of love? Why?
• Does my love mainly benefit me? Or does my love largely benefit others?
• Do I love God more than any human being? What evidence in my life shows this?
Questions About Love
Fill in the blanks.
What language is love translated from?_________________________
What book and chapter are called the “Love Chapter?”___________________
The highest form of God’s love?_____________________________
Love is not a feeling, it is a _______________________________
The greatest gift God can give?__________________________
The love we are supposed to demonstrate must be ____________________________________
8-10. The three phases of love are
1 Corinthians 13