“But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
The fruit of the Spirit is made up of different segments but is one fruit, rather like an orange. Unlike the gifts which are separate, and of which different gifts may be given to different people, each believer is intended to have the complete fruit of the Spirit become a reality in his or her life.
We were created in the image of God. Our salvation in Jesus Christ is a part of God’s plan to restore us to that image, not to create a new one. Just as the defining aspect of God’s character is that “God is love”, so we would expect that it would also become the one thing that stands out most in our new and God-given identity. This is highlighted by the fact that the two Great Commandments, and the new commandments given by Jesus to His disciples, have love as their foundation.
We cannot create love within ourselves, certainly not of the depth, height, width and breadth of God’s love. So, God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to transform our lives. One of the things that He has as a priority is to develop within us, and to show through us, the great love of God.
“because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5)
Note that it is not just love that is poured into our hearts, but “His Love” – God’s love. We receive God’s love for ourselves and the love of God for others as well. And, just as a tree or vine bears fruit that is seen by and is received by others, so our fruit is expected to be perceived by and become a blessing to others. This was the model of Jesus and is to be ours as well. He made that clear when He told us to be the light of the world.
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Love is not the great characteristic of the world in which we live – and it is not always that of the church and its members either. Yet the fruit of the Spirit is not only for us as individuals – its greatest revelation should be in the ‘Body of Christ’, the Church and its local branches. In fact it should be one of the most remarkable qualities of any group or gathering of Christians.
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
Ask God to develop within you the fruit of love – and practice living it.
Father, please fill me with Your love and let me become a person of love. Amen.