“To love deeply in one direction makes us more loving to all others.” ~ Anne-Sophie Swetchine

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ~ Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Apple trees bear apples. Peach trees, peaches. Orange trees, oranges. And a Christian heart being transformed by the Spirit of God also bears fruit in keeping with its new nature – a nature that resembles God’s character. Fruit is the evidence of that internal transformation. So God’s love, God’s joy, etc. comes out of us without even trying.

In our continuing series of being like a tree in 2012, we’re going to spend the summer talking about the kinds of fruit that should be present on our branches. As long as we’re connected to the root-system that delivers steady nutrition, we’ll have the source of life flowing through us to produce the kind of fruit that will bless others.

First up, the fruit of love.

What did Jesus say was the greatest commandment? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV) Love is the fulfilling of the law and never breaks the law. It is the very heart of all true religion.

Love is the ground from which the rest of the spiritual fruit springs. Consider Paul’s description of love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails … And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. “ (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 NIV) Did any of those traits remind you of the patience, kindness, goodness, or self-control found in the list of the fruit of the Spirit above?

Love is an intense desire to please God and to do good to mankind. It’s what gives energy to our faith. It’s the unselfish, benevolent concern for another. It’s the sacrificial, unconditional love of God.

Our home church’s motto is to “Let Love Live.” Our five main points of emphasis are Love Expresses (worship to God), Love Reaches (missions and outreach), Love Embraces (benevolence and care ministries), Love Teaches (discipleship and growth), and Love Releases (help others find their way to serve). I appreciate the emphasis on what matters most in life. To give and receive true love.

After all, God is love. (1 John 4:8, 16). And His character growing within us produces the fruit of love.

What about you? How would you define love? Can you have the other fruit without love? Why or why not?

Like A Tree – Fruit of Love
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