Let us look at the first fruit of the Spirit, which is love. Love is a foundational aspect of Christianity and is emphasized throughout the Bible. In 1 John 4:8, it says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” This means that love is not just something God does, it is who He is.
Love is also emphasized in the life and teachings of Jesus. In John 13:34-35, Jesus commands us to love one another, saying, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
The love that Jesus commands us to have for one another is not just an emotion, but an action. It is demonstrated through sacrificial giving, forgiveness, and putting others before ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, it says, “Charity [which is another word for love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
These verses describe a love that is selfless, patient, kind, and forgiving. It is a love that is not based on what the other person can do for us, but what we can do for them. This kind of love is difficult to achieve on our own, which is why it is called a fruit of the Spirit. It is something that God produces in us as we walk in relationship with Him.
Examples of this kind of love are found throughout the Bible. In John 3:16, it says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God’s love for us was demonstrated through the ultimate sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Another example of love in action is found in the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. In this story, a man is beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Two religious leaders pass by without helping him, but a Samaritan, who was despised by the Jews, stops to help him. He tends to his wounds and takes him to an inn to be cared for. The Samaritan’s love for the man was not based on his nationality or religion, but on the fact that he was a fellow human in need.
As we seek to develop the fruit of love in our lives, we must turn to God and ask Him to produce it in us. In John 15:5, Jesus says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” We cannot produce this kind of love on our own, but as we abide in Christ, He produces it in us.
Love is the first and foundational fruit of the Spirit. It is not just an emotion, but an action that is demonstrated through sacrificial giving, forgiveness, and putting others before ourselves. This kind of love is difficult to achieve on our own, but as we abide in Christ, He produces it in us. Let us seek to develop the fruit of love in our lives so that we can be a reflection of Christ to the world around us. As we love others, we demonstrate the love of God and fulfill the greatest commandment. May the love of Christ compel us to reach out to those around us, to love them unconditionally, and to share the hope that we have in Christ. Let us be known by our love for one another, just as God loves us.