This series explores the fruit of the spirit, as enumerated by Paul in his letter to the churches in southern Galatia. In this letter, Paul encourages believers to live by the spirit and keep in step with the spirit. It is tempting to view the list of spiritual fruit as disciplines that are too difficult to master. However, Paul’s instruction is not for us to try our hardest to produce this fruit ourselves. It is the correct spiritual alignment with God that produces this fruit in us. Be encouraged that the manifestation of the fruit of the spirit is an indicator that one is living in line with the Holy Spirit of God. As we submit to the spirit, the fruit will come!
Gal 5: 22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Love is a word we use casually in many different contexts. I can love a person, a dog, a pair of jeans or a sandwich. Love seems to mean many different things to many different people in this world. Some would even try to convince us that certain kinds of sin are actually love. But from the perspective of spiritual impartation from God, what exactly is love? What is the love that I can expect to manifest in me as a result of right spiritual living?
1 Cor. Ch. 13 outlines the characteristics of love. If we study these characteristics carefully, one thing emerges. Love is described as exhibiting all the other fruit of the spirit. It is joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and controlled. Love seems to be the foundation of the other spiritual fruit. It is the base on which the others stand; it is the common link. Perhaps that is why it is named first by Paul. We can call it the first fruit.
Patience can hardly exist without love. Kindness and faithfulness would have no desire to surface but for the motivation of love. Love is not only the spark that lights the other spiritual fruit, but it is also the bellows that keeps those fires burning. Once love manifests in us, it paves the way for the other fruit to follow. The manifestation of the remaining fruit is evidence of the impartation of love to us. Let us pray for love first to prepare us for the rest.