One little word yet it has so many meanings. But in our Fruit of the Spirit study, we are going to be focusing on the biblical meaning of the word love.
Love is the willing, sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of others without thought of return.
I find it interesting that love is the first fruit of the Spirit. If we fall short in the love department we will find ourselves falling short with them all.
Too often when we help or give to others we have selfish motives.
How will this help me?
What will others think of me?
What will they do for me in return?
Now they’ll owe me a favor!
Those motives are not a sacrificial love but a self-love. Self-love is when you help someone else either willingly or unwillingly with the forethought of how it will benefit you.
You have to learn to love others by sacrificing your pride in the process. Your pride doesn’t want you to love others. Your pride doesn’t want you to put yourself ad your needs on the backburner and live a life poured out in service towards others. Your pride wants center stage.
Self-love is not love that is motivated by the Spirit.
The difference between the two types of love is whether or not God is leading you.
When He is leading you are being filled with theSpirit.
Love then becomes about Christ and not about you.
So how then do you live out the biblical definition of love?
Matthew 22:37-40 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.
Without being committed to God and living for Him with all that you have, it’ll be hard to do anything else for Him. In order to obey all the commandments in His Word, including loving our neighbors, you need to first love God with all your heart, soul and mind.
- Heart-the seat of emotions and passions.
- Soul-the human will.
- Mind-the center of our thought life.
Loving God will remove your addictions, your sinful habits that you can’t seem to overcome while loving others will keep them from coming back. You’ve taken your eyes off yourself, off your needs, off your problems and you begin to live a life serving others and helping them overcome their own struggles. This life isn’t about you, but about others.
1 Corinthians 13:1-2 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
Paul was nothing without sacrificial love. You are nothing without sacrificial love. I am nothing without sacrificial love. Without this kind of love everything that we do is in vain.
You can have all the faith in the world and understand every passage in the Bible (wouldn’t that be nice?) but without love you are failing at this Christian walk.
John 15:12-14 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
These 3 verses are some of the most powerful verses on love in the Bible. We should be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the needs of others, as Christ did for us on the cross. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice of love. Again, learn to put your own needs on the backburner. There is no greater love than this.
Does all this describe you? If we are honest, we all fall short. I know I do. When you are faced with a whether or not you are exercising the fruit of love in your life the proof will be in your actions and reactions towards the needy people that God has placed or will place in your life. With every situation ask yourself how Jesus would respond. If God leads you to help someone else, sacrificially give of yourself and your time for their own benefit without selfish thoughts of return. That my friend is the fruit of the spirit of love.
Since I just love Young Living and the fact that they have an oil for everything (!!!) I thought it would be fun to give you an oil suggestion for each of the fruits of the Spirit. While we work towards changing our hearts to be aligned with God’s will and commands, there is an oil to help you move closer to that goal. Juniper is an oil that supports you in feelings of health, love and peace. Send me an email to get yourself a bottle!