the fruit of the spirit: learning to love

Happy Sunday! (if you read this when it is posted haha)

I am starting a new writing series on here- we will be covering the fruits of the spirit!

I'm always looking for ways to improve myself- mentally and physically. Lately, I've been asking God to teach me how to be more like him. As I pray I am reminded of what the Bible says about a truly Christ-like character. I am excited to spend some time reading some verses on each of the attributes labeled "The Fruit of The Spirit" and also think about how to better incorporate such things into my own life!

Galatians 5:22- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

I don't think it is a coincidence that love is the first characteristic mentioned when it comes to the Spirit. I am reminded of what scripture says in Corinthians:

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

Love conquers all. Without love all our efforts and accomplishments become a lot less meaningful. I find it especially interesting to read that love is greater than knowledge. In my daily life I feel a lot of pressure to "do this right" or "do that well" or "be smart" about my decisions. Yet God says that love is more important than having the answers to everything.

God himself is love. I think we often lose sight of this. We get so caught up in the parts of the Bible that show God is powerful and destructive, that we forget there is more to him than that. Everything that God does is actually rooted in love. We don't always understand this, but I think it is important for us to continue to think about it. God is love- God's rules are entirely focused on loving us. Even if we cant' understand everything God does, the Bible tells us we can trust and believe that God is love. The beginning of 1 John 4 says:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

When we love others, we share Jesus with them. There is no greater gift that can be given to us or that we can give to others. It reminds me of parents who want to show they care for their children. It is easy for adults to get caught up in their own goals and aspirations- focusing on work instead of family. Often I hear of or even witness parents who try to compensate for their lack of quality time with their children by throwing gifts and toys at them. But if you are a parent (or have worked with kids) you are well aware that no toy or gadget can take the place of your time and affirmation. Kids feel loved by how they are treated not what they are given.

How can we effectively love others? Philippians says, "do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others."

This week, I am going to practice asking myself some tough questions. Why am I doing this? Who will this benefit? Will saying this hurt or hinder the other person?

1 Peter 4:8- Above all, keep loving one another earnestly since love covers a multitude of sins.

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