Do you guys really want to know what love is?
I'm firmly convinced that we were created to glorify God, but how do we glorify God? To ask it another way, what is it in us that glorifies God?
What does God see in us that pleases Him?
The only thing God could perceive as intrinsicly lovely is God Himself. Thus, God is glorified when He sees Himself in us. God is glorified when the Fruit of the Spirit is manifest in our lives.
In contrast to the preceding bad stuff that believers should avoid (Gal 5:19-21), the Spirit working in and through a believer brings forth effects known as the Fruit of the Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.I'd like to examine each aspect of the Fruit (singular) of the Spirit. First, we'll look at love.
Lily Tomlin said, "If love is the answer, Could you rephrase the question?"
Love may be a "many-splendored thing," but it's often confusing, misunderstood, and that which makes cynics when it goes bad.
Just ask Mr. J. Geils:
I've had the blues, the reds and the pinks. One thing's for sure ... love stinks.Before you chime in with "yeah, yeah," we must first make sure we have an appropriate understanding of what love is ... biblically speaking, that is.
Do you guys really want to know what love is?
I think I heard you say, "I wanna know what love is. I want you to show me." In that case, I will.
Let's try to ask and answer two questions:
1. What is love?
2. What does love look like as Fruit of the Spirit?
1. What is love? (baby, don't hurt me)
It is my contention that there is great confusion in our culture about what love really is.
Is love a second-hand emotion?
Oh, what's love got to do with it?Is love something you cook up in the oven?!
What's love but a second-hand emotion?
What's love got to do with it?
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken? -Tina Turner
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.
The word love tends to bring to mind the notion of romantic love, but for many that's just another form of selfishness.
In other words, love is the way you make me feel. This is the notion of "being in love" with someone. When that feeling goes away, so does the love.
Even in love most people tend to operate according to the Law of WIIFM (What's In It For Me?).
Someday one of my daughters will try to convince me that I should accept some spare guy who she’s interested in because she loves him and he loves her. I'm no dummy. He’s not interested in her, but in himself. He wants her for what she can do for him or for how he feels when he’s with her. Because he loves himself, he wants her.
At least Meatloaf was honest when he sang, “I want you. I need you. But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you. But don’t feel sad, ‘cause two out of three ain’t bad.”
Genuine love is other-centered, a willingness to sacrifice for another (cf. 1 Cor 13:4-7).
You can give without loving,True love goes beyond "being in love" and true romantic love is intimacy (cf. parallel of God & His people in Eph 5:25-32). Aristotle said, "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. " There is a union that transcends someone's heart going pitty-pat.
But you cannot love without giving.
C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity wrote:
“Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. ... In fact, the state of being in love usually does not last. ... But of course ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love ... is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God. ... They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep their promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”2. What does love look like as Fruit of the Spirit? How is God glorified by a Christian exhibiting love of the fruit of the Spirit variety?
First, we glorify God as the Fruit of the Spirit by loving differently than the heathen do. That means that we have love for people of different races. It also means that we exhibit unexpected love. In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), we see both of these aspects as what Jesus expects for those endeavoring to love their neighbor.
The Samaritan winds up being the hero of the story, contrary to the expectation of the audience where he would not have been expected to help the Jewish traveler, for a Jewish traveler certainly would not have helped one of his race. Instead of the priest or the Levite getting to be the hero, they did not demonstrate love, which would have been expected, but the half-breed outcast did. Why? Because his love for another was genuine as he loved contrary to the manner of the non-believers. His love was unexpected and crossed racial boundaries.
To love differently than the world also means that you have love for those who hate you, your enemies. It's easy to love those who love you, even the non-Christians do that. Jesus raises the bar for the behavior of His followers by insisting on loving the unlovable (Matt 5:46-47), just as was done for us (Rom 5:8).
Second, we glorify God as the Fruit of the Spirit when our lives as individuals and as a church are characterized by love. In fact, if we don't have love even those deeds which look good profit us nothing (1 Cor 13:1-13).
What is it that should characterize a church? What quality chiefly characterizes us as Christian? (John 13:34-35) What one word sums up the Christian life, experience, obligation, etc.?
LOVE! Love for God. Love for others. (Matt 22:36-40)
The implication? Glorify God with your love.
Love differently than the heathen do.
By nature we choose our friends, a church, a spouse, etc. for what we can get out of it.
But glorify God with your love means to love even when you won’t get anything in return. Glorifying God with your love means to love by faith, for the Christian life is faith expressing itself through love (Gal 5:6). Glorify God when you worship as you sing of your affection for Him.
Love as God loved you. (1 John 4:7-12)
Mother Teresa said, "There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread."
People yearn to be loved, just as was the case with us. He loved us when we didn't deserve it. Love others who also don't deserve it, if you want to glorify God with your love.
My prayer for you is the same as Paul’s prayer for the Philippians (Phil 1:9-11):