I hope that you had an awesome Memorial Day weekend….That you worshiped with us…that you took time to reflect on those that gave their lives for our country…and that you focused on the Love of Jesus who gave His life for your salvation.
On Friday I had us take a look at the FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. We looked at: Galatians 5:22-25…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, 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.
We’re not speaking of spiritual apples, grapes, pears, or peaches here. We’re talking about what’s going on in the orchard of your life. We acknowledged that we are all sinful and fall short…. And celebrate the fact that God loves us anyway!
“Christian character” follows faith and is produced by the Holy Spirit…not by merely trying to live by the law. The indwelling Holy Spirit produces faith and Christian virtues. If the goal of the Christian life may be stated as Christlikeness, then surely every trait developed in us that reflects His character must be fruit that is very pleasing to Him. Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit in nine terms. I would like to take each of these characteristics one per day.
The first that we will look at is LOVE!
Here is a test for you…which phrase seems out of place?
- I love pepperoni/double cheese pizza.
- I love to watch basketball games.
- I love walking beside a creek.
- I love my wife of 47 years.
I assume you would see my point. We use the same word for loving pizza and loving a spouse?
We romanticize the word love with song lyrics like… “All you need is love”, “love makes the world go around” and even “love stinks”. Can that be what God means when He says He loves you?
The Greek (New testament) language has many words that further describe love.
- Storge…natural affection like a mom’s love.
- Eros…A physical/ sexual love
- Philia…An emotional / friendship love.
- Agape…Unconditional…God’s Love.
Let’s look at God’s (unconditional) Love.
A new lawyer came to town. New town…new office…No clients. When he saw that someone was coming to his office, he immediately picked up the phone and said, “I’m flying to New York in the Timmons case. It looks like a biggie. And bring Paul in from New Jersey on the Pettus case. Gotta go now, someone just walked in”. With that he hung up the phone, turned to the man, and said “now, how may I help you?” The man replied, “I’m here to hook up your phone!”
The good news is that you do not have to impress God…He loves you with all your short comings!
- God loves you! We sin and disobey God…and what does He do to us in return? He loves us!
- John 3:16…For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- I know that you have heard that verse 100 times…but stop and focus on what it says!
- God Loves YOU! So much that He died in YOUR place (YOUR wage of sin is death). Forgiveness and eternal life are YOURS simply by faith.
- He loves YOU in spite of YOU! It’s a free gift from God to YOU personally!
- As a matter of fact…He has to love you because it is who He is! 1 John 4:16…God is love. What a short and yet so powerful verse.
So…God loves you…now what? In response to His love we are called to love others. And the Holy Spirit wants to produce LOVE in us.
- 1 John 4:19-21…..We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Look at it this way: God loves you…which produces the fruit that we are looking at (Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.) And the Holy Spirit fills us with love for God and love for those we interact with. When we strengthen the vertical (with God) relationship…then the horizontal (with others) relationship will follow! Want to be more loving, spend more time with God. His Love will wear off on you!!!!
So what about these verses on love? John 15:13-17…Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
Yesterday, on Memorial Day…We focused on unconditional love. Men and women who gave the ultimate act of love by giving their life…for you. For families that have suffered the loss of loved ones who served their country.
It also points back to Jesus giving the ultimate act of love on the cross! He willingly died so you will have eternal life.
So if God is Love and we are to be Christlike….The Holy Spirit produces fruit including Love for us to share with others. Jesus was asked of all the commandments which is the most important? Mark 12:30-31…….Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
So…I challenge you to focus on a few things:
- Thank the Lord for loving YOU in spite of your sinfulness!
- Thank the Lord for those who gave their lives for your freedom to worship the Lord!
- Devote time every day to prayer and study of God’s Word.
- Reflect and assess on how the Fruit of Love is growing on the tree of your life?
- Do people see God’s Love shining through your words and actions?
- Who can you reach out to today? Perhaps a relationship that has gotten tense recently…too much time isolated together. Perhaps someone lonely, depressed, and isolated in their home. Perhaps someone having financial issues due to the coronavirus world we are living in. Perhaps a neighbor that would love a wave, call, act of kindness.