Updated: Jul 29, 2020
The apostle Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia and said, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." The message of Galatians 5:22-23 still resounds today. If we are born of the Spirit (John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Romans 8) it is natural for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. What does that mean? In this space today, I would like for us to consider "LOVE" as a fruit of the Spirit.
Last year I read a book entitled, "Catching Fire with the Holy Spirit" by John Smith. It was written by a friend of a friend and I was given a copy. It's a wonderful book. There are several interesting points made in the book about how the Spirit tries to guide a Christian. One part that stood out to me was how He guides us toward LOVE, joy, peace, hope, etc. I will paraphrase some of his thoughts and share some of my own revelations.
When a Christian begins to insert the word HATE into their vocabulary, especially toward another individual (even an enemy), it is evidence that their conscience is being seared (I Timothy 4:2). The Holy Spirit works alongside our conscience to move us toward the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and away from the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). Only one has LOVE while the other has HATRED.
The greatest command for a Christian is to LOVE (Mark 12:30-31). If a Christian says "I HATE YOU" to another person, especially to a brother or sister in Christ, it is evidence of them possessing more flesh and less Spirit. God is LOVE and He cannot reside in HATE (I John 2:11, 3:15, 4:20). Instead of choosing to walk in the light of God's Spirit that person willingly chooses to surrender to the unfruitful works of darkness.
Suffice it to say we should choose our words carefully (Ephesians 4:29). We will each be judged by our words (Matthew 12:36). Let's choose LOVE, not HATE. Let's choose the light, not the darkness. Let's surrender to God, not the real enemy. May God use our words to build each other up and not destroy.
You may have noticed that I have used all caps on the words LOVE and HATE. Which was more prominent to you? I suppose it is the one that you notice the most. I pray that each of us will choose LOVE over HATE. I want to close with Paul's own words about LOVE. He said, "LOVE suffers long and is kind; LOVE does not envy; LOVE does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. LOVE never fails." (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
May God bless you and keep you! Choose LOVE.
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds