Love-First fruit of the Spirit.
Fruits of the Spirit are benefits and products of allowing Jesus’ spirit to take over our lives. We can’t live without them/Him. We try, but we fail.
Love-noun, (I shouldn’t have to define this but I will) an intense feeling of deep affection.
I love ice cream. I love puppies. I love that sweater, Girlfriend!
I’ve never loved a sweater, but I’ve heard people say this. I usually hate sweaters. Based on the fact that sweaters do their job. They make you sweat. Sweaters are truthful, at least. If not appealing. They could call them heaters. B.O. trappers. Pill-ballers. Snaggers. Wastes of yarn. Still don’t love ’em. Hate ’em.
Anyway, we throw the word love around like crazy persons. I LOVE your new HAIR-do!!! I love your makeup today. I love your car, your purse, your shoes.
Do we ever say, “Hey, I love YOU.” Not really.
“Love ya! Call me! Let’s do lunch!”
Do we really love people? Or do we love what people do for us? Buy for us? Tell us? Don’t tell us? Do we love people for what they look like or what they’re wearing? Do we look past the hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, teeth? Do we get down to the soul of a person and love it? Do we love the dirty man on the sidewalk, the man with desperate and hungry eyes? Do we accept the disgusting, gaping flaws of other human beings and pour love on top of the ridiculous dirt sandwich they call an attitude or relationship offered up for us to consume??
Not really. No.
True love. Real love.
What are those?
I would say, real love is letting someone ruin your entire day with their negative attitude and still eating dinner with them. Real love is hard, developed over years and sacrificing of the most difficult thing to give up…EGO/PRIDE/VANITY.
True love is what Jesus displayed every day of his life. He stopped and talked to the most insignificant people on the side of the road. He talked to everyone who chose to follow him. He truly cared deep down for every single creature that he came in contact with. And he gave up his LIFE for all. He asks us to do the same in his name, in his spirit. No greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (loved ones, wife, husband, children, etc.). Laying down your life can be as simple as laying down selfishness, vices or your own agenda.
Love isn’t eternal kisses, hugs and compliments. Love is saying the hard things. Love is holding on when someone pushes you away. Love is eating a dirt sandwich with a smile. Love is (famously) never having to say you’re sorry.
What does that mean?
If you love someone, saying you’re sorry is just totally unnecessary. Sorry is so totally worthless! The intention and sentiment are nice, but true love and repentance are demonstrated in actions and care. If you really are sorry, you want to apologize, you change your behavior so you stop hurting the people you love. No matter what. No matter how hard it is. You try. And if you fail, you remain humble in your total wrong-ness. If you don’t do that, you don’t really love someone. You love yourself more.
Self-preservation is an overwhelming, overpowering, all-consuming desire that is difficult to overcome. We overcome this innate biological imperative by loving others. And Jesus’ teachings are summed up in this one concept. LOVE OTHERS! Without limits.
How do I love someone who is completely and utterly un-love-able? (And let’s face it, we all are un-love-able at some time or another.)
Through Christ who strengthens. Through his spirit. Through the fruits of the Spirit.
It’s simple. Not easy, but simple. It’s the first fruit. All you have to do is ask.
Simply pray: Fill me, God, with your Holy Spirit of truth and love. AMEN.
And see what happens.