“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not mind high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Do not be wise in your own conceits.” Romans 12:16“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to one another: so that you cannot do the things that you have in mind. But if you are led of the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, contention, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, reveling, and things like this: of which I tell you now, as I have told you in time past, that they who exercise and practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that belong to the “anointed one” (Christ) have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not glory without reason, challenging one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:16-26
Love is probably one of the most misunderstood words in the English language. We know that God gives grace to the humble, and resists the proud (James 4:5-10). We also know that the Humble avoid the fruits of the flesh and gravitate toward the fruits of the Spirit. We have ended the series on the Fruits of the Flesh and are now going to move into the realm of the fruit which comes from a steady grace by God the Holy Ghost.
LOVE, verb transitive luv. [Latin libeo, lubeo. The sense is probably to be prompt, free, willing, from leaning, advancing, or drawing forward.]1. In a general sense to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification. We love a friend, on account of some qualities which give us pleasure in his society. We love a man who has done us a favor; in which case, gratitude enters into the composition of our affection. We love our parents and our children, on account of their connection with us, and on account of many qualities which please us. We love to retire to a cool shade in summer. We love a warm room in winter. we love to hear an eloquent advocate. The Christian loves his Bible. In short, we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual; and if our hearts are right, we love God above all things, as the sum of all excellence and all the attributes which can communicate happiness to intelligent beings. In other words, the Christian loves God with the love of complacency in his attributes, the love of benevolence towards the interest of his kingdom, and the love of gratitude for favors received.Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind -Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matthew 22:37.2. To have benevolence or good will for. John 3:16.LOVE, noun1. An affection of the mind excited by beauty and worth of any kind, or by the qualities of an object which communicate pleasure, sensual or intellectual. It is opposed to hatred. love between the sexes, is a compound affection, consisting of esteem, benevolence, and animal desire. love is excited by pleasing qualities of any kind, as by kindness, benevolence, charity, and by the qualities which render social intercourse agreeable. In the latter case, love is ardent friendship, or a strong attachment springing from good will and esteem, and the pleasure derived from the company, civilities and kindness of others.Between certain natural relatives, love seems to be in some cases instinctive. Such is the love of a mother for her child, which manifests itself toward an infant, before any particular qualities in the child are unfolded. This affection is apparently as strong in irrational animals as in human beings.We speak of the love of amusements, the love of books, the love of money, and the love of whatever contributes to our pleasure or supposed profit.The love of God is the first duty of man, and this springs from just views of his attributes or excellencies of character, which afford the highest delight to the sanctified heart. Esteem and reverence constitute ingredients in this affection, and a fear of offending him is its inseparable effect. Courtship; chiefly in the phrase, to make love that is, to court; to woo; to solicit union in marriage. Patriotism; the attachment one has to his native land; as the love of country. Benevolence; good will. God is love 1 John 4:7. The object beloved. The lover and the love of human kind. A word of endearment.
As you can see, Love has a "very" broad scope, but generally is rooted in a desire and effort toward someone or something. Let's look into the Greek of Galatians 5 to see what exactly Paul was referring too:
Love - ἀγάπη - agapē: affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love.
The first thing that came to my mind was Romans 12. It goes as follows:
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world: but you be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching; 8 or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be unveiled. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Pay back to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he thirsts, give him something to drink: for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
If you need a good example of how love should look among believers in Christ, this text in Romans is probably one of the best descriptions. Many people today think that the population at large doesn't know what love is anymore. I suppose they are correct in a sense, but it isn't that the majority isn't loving, it's just that they aren't loving God or others. Most people have now become lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:1-7). The truth is that we have been in the last days for quite some time now. Since the ascension of Jesus, the world has been this way. It was that way even before the ascension of Jesus. When sin entered the world, perilous times came to our ancestors, and now they are upon us. Years ago at my previous place of employment, I said: "Things are a lot worse than they used to be!" My boss and friend said: "Naw, it's not worse. The world has always been this way, it's just that we know about more perils because of Television and the Internet." He's right. In the older days of our country, media was more limited. We are able to see so much evil at the click of a mouse. Videos and photos. Articles explaining the evils. It is all around us, and what is probably more disturbing than the evils themselves, is our hunger to see such evil. Love is a fruit of the Spirit. It is probably the chief fruit given that all of the others are rooted in it. You might say since God is love (1 John 4:8), then love really isn't the fruit, but the vine (John 15:4). We have to be in the vine before we can bear any fruit.
"Abide in me (Love), and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you do this, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you will, and it will be done to you. Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so will you be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: you continue in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love." John 15:4-10
There you have it. So you might say that we first need to abide in Jesus Christ who is love, and we in turn will love also and produce fruit unto righteousness. Only the humble are able to do this. The prideful and arrogant are wholly unable, because they love and trust themselves more than the One who made them. 1 Corinthians 13 is called the love chapter. It shows that love is the root of all good things that come forth. Without love, all of the other qualities and actions that someone possesses or does is in vain. You can give your body to be burned and it will all be in vain because it wasn't done with a loving heart. Jesus will tell some who have done great things in His name to depart from His presence because He doesn't really know them. The truth is, they didn't truly love Him, they loved themselves. That is what Simon the Sorcerer's problem was (Acts 8:9-24).
"henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all of them that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:8
In conclusion what we should ask ourselves is: "Am I a loving person?" "Do I really love God and my neighbor?" (Luke 10:27). "Do I love the appearing? (ἐπιφάνεια-epiphaneia: an appearing, appearance). "Do I truly love my enemies as the Lord commanded?" Have I humbled myself before God and man?" "Is the devil hindering me and my family? And if he is, have I submitted to God so that I may resist the devil?" (James 4:7). After doing this study, I have a lot to meditate on today. These questions and thoughts are very sobering and are good for self-examination. I want you to be in heaven with me one day. Our greatest enemy is ourselves. We must first conquer our pride and lusts before we can see clearly to love God and others. Many mighty men have fallen because of their own pride and lust. I pray that we won't be one of those.