The first part of the fruit of the Spirit is love. When a Christian has allowed the Spirit to work in him (through the word of God), love is produced in his life. Love is arguably the most important component of the Spirit’s fruit, for we will see that one can hardly be a Christian if he does not have love.
The Command to Love
A man once asked Jesus what was the greatest command under the Old Law. Jesus’ reply was love:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Mat 22:37-40)
All the commands of God can be summarized in this one word: love! Hence, Jesus rightly explained that the greatest command is love. Christians ought therefore to love. Firstly, our utmost devotion and love is toward God. We express our love towards God by submitting to His will and obeying His commands (cf. John 14:15). Secondly, we are to love our fellowman, just as we would love our own selves. We are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 12:10). We are also to love the lost souls, even as Jesus did (Luke 19:10).
The Case for Love
If God has commanded us to love, then certainly we are duty bound to do so. But beyond the call of duty, Jesus also taught that love is important because:
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).
Christians cannot claim to be disciples of Christ, and yet fail to love one another! Love is a defining characteristic of Christians. It would be such a shame if others are turned away from the church because of inner conflict and division. Rather, when others see the love that we have for one another, that is how they can be persuaded to obey Jesus.
Additionally, it is important for Christians to love because of the love of God:
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:11)
We love, because God first loved us! God has given us so many blessings, both physical and spiritual (James 1:17). God has also given us His only begotten Son Jesus, so that we could be saved from our sins (John 3:16). Nothing we do could ever repay that debt of love; but the least that God expects of us, is to show the same love towards one another! In fact, no one can claim to know God, if he fails to love others (1 John 4:8).
The Characteristics of Love
God’s love toward man is both unconditional and sacrificial. While we were still sinners, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to die for our sins (Romans 5:8). Therefore, our love for others ought also to be unconditional: we do not only show love towards those who love us, but even to our enemies! (Matthew 5:44-48). Our love also ought to be sacrificial: we would go the extra mile in order to help a brother in need (Matthew 5:41).
1 Corinthians 13 also gives us a great description of what Biblical love ought to look like, and these characteristics ought to be found in every Christian who has developed the Spirit’s fruit:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
As we continue to grow in accordance to the Spirit’s teaching, love ought to be produced in our lives. We learn to love God with all our hearts. We learn to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, unconditionally and sacrificially. We learn to love the lost souls in this world. We learn to put on the characteristics of love that we read of in 1 Corinthians 13. May all Christians have such love, so that we can imitate the same love that God has shown us, and so that all men may see Christ in us.
Results of our poll done on our story :)