The Fruit of Love

The virtues of the Spirit, listed for us in Galatians 5:22 and 23, are called fruit as opposed to works. This fruit is the very character of Christ, each one of them, namely love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Whereas the works of the flesh are plural, the fruit of the Spirit is one.

As the measure of Christ increases in us, so will the measure of the fruit of the Spirit increase within us, and only He, the Holy Spirit of the living God, is able to produce this fruit within us. When we are fully walking in the life of the Spirit then these graces will be evident within and flow out from a believer’s life like a river of living water. God, will be glorified as the body of Christ becomes conformed more and more into our beloved Saviour’s image.

The Word of God tells us that “God is love.” Love in English has multitudes of meanings. In English we can love chocolate or our dog and we can love our job and then we can love our child or a husband or a parent. All are described by that one inadequate little word.

Greek is a much richer and more descriptive language and has many words for love and each one depicting a different kind of love. The word used for God’s love is “agape”. David Pawson in his book, “Is John 3:16 the gospel?” describes ‘agape’ as the love of action. He goes on to say that ‘agape’ is centred in the will and that it means giving two things – your attention and your action. It is to do something loving on their behalf and is a response to someone’s need.

God’s love is hard to describe and understand so much so that Jesus never spoke of God’s love to unbelievers but only to believers who could catch a glimpse of it through Jesus’ death on the Cross. God’s love is so stupendous, so amazing and so utterly all consuming! And the only reason that I am able to love Him is because He loved me first. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”(1 John 4:10)

God’s love endures. It is centred in the will and as we submit our will to the will of God so we will begin to love, more and more, as God loves. That means we will begin to love without attaching conditions or unconditionally. We will begin to love even if we don’t like the person and we will love through the hurt that others bring us! We will begin to love sacrificially, thinking of the need of others before our own and we will even begin to do the unthinkable, namely to love our enemies and those who have despitefully used us, as God commands us to.

Much more than this, as the Spirit would wrought God’s love within our hearts we will grow to love Him more and we will love Him as He commands us to. “If you love Me, you will obey Me,” and “Beloved, let us love one another for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)

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