The first fruit of the spirit that Galatians mentions, is love. What is love and why is it so important in the Christian life?
1. WHAT IS LOVE?
1 Cor. 14:4-8
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends”
Listen to the qualities of love:
Love is patient- Love rises above pettiness and it is generous in the way it treats others. It is easy to love when people are lovable; how difficult it can be when people injure or attack us.
Love never simmers with jealousy- How do we react when other Christians receive blessing or benefits we lack? Are we envious, jealous?
Love does not boast or be proud- Being boastful or prideful refers to the inward feeling of being “puffed up” and the outward display of self-importance. These people are easily noticeable because they think a lot of themselves and want to be noticed.
Love is selfless and gracious- True Christian love seeks only the good of others and is unselfish.
Love is not provoked, nor does it harbor evil thoughts- Christian love shows no irritation, but our sinful flesh often does. Love forgives and keeps no record of any wrong doings.
Love gives victory- Through Christ’s love in us, we can bear up under anything that comes, looks for the best in all things, and remains steadfast in difficult times.
12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. 14 Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity”
17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”
Love is described again in Phil 2:3-4, this is our practical take home of what we can do, what love is to us… “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Everyone should look NOT to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others”
2. WHAT LOVE IS NOT!
You hear the word love thrown around by everybody but most people in this world that talk about “loving people” or “being loving” have no idea what love really is. Most people think to go along and accept anything a person does or says is the most loving thing. I want to read a few quotes from an article I read entitled “How does God’s love differ from the world’s”
a. “Many times, the world’s idea of love is to love those who can further your career or those from whom you can get something that you need. This is not a godly love.”
b. “Worldly love is selfish, self-serving, and cares more for what it gets from a relationship than what it gives to that relationship. Many marriages and friendships fail because this is the type of love the participants exhibit.”
c. “Many times, worldly love is fickle. Those who claim they love us are there during the good times, but are conspicuously absent when the going gets rough. God will not leave us in the tough times. Jesus promise is, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV).”
d. “Worldly love is oftentimes impersonal; it attempts to mimic true love by giving money instead of offering someone a shoulder to lean on. It calls itself ‘tolerant’ while overlooking all kinds of sinful and destructive behavior in the name of ‘love’. Only by knowing God, His character, and His Word, can we hope to understand even a small part of just how great God’s love is.”
“For rarely will someone die for a just person — though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. 8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, endured the pain of the cross (Hebrews 12:2) because He loves us. Jesus gave up His place with God in heaven in order to come down to earth, experience humility, shame, suffering, and death; so that anyone who trusts in Him will be forgiven of their sins and can enjoy the close personal relationship with Him for which they were created. It is astonishing that He did this voluntarily; motivated by His love for us.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
“If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”