The Fruit of the Spirit Series - Love
To develop the Fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5 verse 22, 23)) is to develop the character of Jesus. In Romans 8 verse 19 the word says ‘for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” The whole world is waiting for people to develop the character of Jesus. The Greek word for “sons” in the above verse is “huios” which means “the expression of the character of the parent.” It means that the offspring is starting to act like the parent. On the contrary, in John 1 verse 12 the word says that “as many as received Him (Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons of God….” The word “sons” in this verse is the Greek word “teknon” which means a relationship by birth only. Some children don’t become like their parents and this word means a son or daughter in birth only. To have the same character as Jesus one has to develop the same fruit that was easily recognizable in Jesus. Our number one prayer should be that the Father would conform us into the image of Jesus (Romans 8 verse 29). In Matthew 7 verse 15, 16 and 20 the word talks about false prophets and how you can know them. We can know them not by their great preaching ability, or the jewelry that they are wearing, or the way they dress, but by their fruit!
God’s fruit must be cultivated while His gifts are bestowed by His grace. In Mark 4 verse 28, the word says the fruit grows; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. Fruit is cultivated over a period of time. As a matter of fact, the purpose of His gifts is to produce fruit in us, as the power of His gifts should humble us. Also, the ones who develop all the fruit will be the ones that most manifest His power. The gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit go together.
Only God can develop the fruit of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 3 verse 5, 6). One way to cultivate His fruit is to read the epistles (Romans to Revelation) and speak the scriptures into our lives, as God directs, that help us spiritually.
The first fruit of the Spirit that we want to talk about is love: one can’t love their neighbor without loving our Father. In Mark 22 verse 37 – 39 Jesus says that the first commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul and mind. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. In Matthew 7 verse 22 the word says that many will come to Jesus and say: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesized in thy Name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy Name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” The word “knew” means to know by experience or effort. We have to develop the love for the Father.
Some of the benefits of loving the Father are:
1.) He is our Helper and will run to our aid- (Heb. 13 verse 5, 6). He is a very present help in the time of trouble. Man may not always be there for you in the time of need but your Father will.
2.) Enables a person to conquer all things- Love never fails (1 Cor. 13 verse 8). All things work for the good for those who love God…. (Rom. 8 verse 28). Moses did not fear as He saw the One who is invisible (Heb. 11 verse 27). When you truly love the Father and draw closer to Him you realize who He is in all His power!
To develop the love for the Father:
1.) Have to have faith in Him- Mark 11 verse 22-24. He can do anything when you touch Him by faith. He only moves when faith is present. Fear and worry don’t move Him. When you draw closer to Him your faith will increase and your love for Him will naturally increase also.
2.) Have to develop the sight of God- Have to see His personal attributes. Jesus spent time with the Father so He was able to walk in love. An example of this is in Matthew 14 verse 12-21- After Jesus was notified that John the Baptist was killed He got angry but He spent time with the Father. He then was moved with compassion and fed the multitudes.
3.) Pray in the Spirit- Jude 20, 21 one can build themselves up in the faith by praying in the Holy Ghost. This keeps the love of God stirred up. In John 21 verse 15-17 Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him (agape-which is an all consuming love). Peter could only say that he loved Him with a brotherly love (phileo). This all changed when Peter got filled with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost because of what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1 verse 7, 8. Peter used the word “agape” for expressing his love for Jesus. So, you see praying in the Spirit stirs up our love for the Father.
4.) Practice love- 1 John 4 verse 12- “no man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another God dwelleth in us and His love is perfected in us.” When we show love towards others this stirs up our love for the Father. Love is not a feeling. We have to love others with our actions and the feelings will follow. This is the same with our Father; we may not feel His presence at first as we spend time with Him but we can’t stop. Eventually we will feel His presence.
As we follow and draw closer to the Father we will walk in love (Ephesians 5 verse 1, 2) and extend His love to others. Please remember, loving others is not an option but a commandment: John 15 verse 17 – “these things I command you, that ye love one another.” The only way that we can fulfill this commandment is to allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate this fruit in us as we draw closer to Him.