Fruit of the Spirit.... Love

We are now beginning our series through the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

The plan is to regularly go through the Fruit of the spirit dealing with them individually. The posts will go up on Sunday's in future and as always comments, questions, points, considerations etc. are always welcomed if presented for the benefit of all. 

We start out with Jonah McLachlan's article on Love

The Great Search for Love

What is Love?
Today if you talk about love the associations that go with it tend to be slushy valentines and warm fuzzy feelings. Most
people today in our Culture only think love as either a sexual or a physical feeling. But is there more to it than just feelings or
emotions? Is there a deeper element? Is there something under all the icing?

There are many forms of love expressed and explained in the Bible. The one I am going to focus on is best explained in 1 John
3:16. We all know John 3:16 but have we memorised this verse?

"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us, And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." If we think about that verse, we can see that this kind of love is very different than our culture's definition of love. There is something sacrificial about it. God is the only one who can show this sacrificial love properly, and we can see that clearly in verses like Romans 5:8 and John 3:16 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Therefore, if we grasp this form of sacrificial love we can see that our love today is selfish, which is totally opposite to God's form of love.

Although we can see God's love demonstrated towards us, we always try and get what we can out of others. Today in relationships, we are all guilty of being selfish. If we want to break the sinful moulds and habits that we get into, we must realise that true love is selfless. That simply means taking yourself out of the picture and leaving room for other people. So in life, we must try to give and not take. Think about God's love. He gave Christ, He gave forgiveness, He gave us life. He has not taken anything for His own gain.

In order to know what love is we must go beyond the 'feelings' and aim for God's love. 1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” When we go to the shop, we buy food. When we come to God, we get love.

What about you?

Once we know and have God’s love, we should live it out, through the Holy Spirit. We all know the concept of farming: a seed planted sooner or later produces fruit. Even so when we as Christians are saved we produce fruit. These are called the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. We all know them “Love, Joy, Peace” etc But what is the first and most important on the list? It is love. Paul places an emphases on love in 1 Corinthians 13. He says “Now abide faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

How can I love?

Returning to our opening passage, we read “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us, And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." We ought to lay our lives down. This type of love is sacrificial. Laying down our lives does not mean jumping off cliffs or getting in front of trains... but it simply means getting out of our comfort zones. This can be done by leaving our desires and living for others. When we sacrifice our wants, desires and comforts, and when we live for the good of others, we can then experience true love.

Practical Love: An attitude of servitude

Babysitting, making coffee, offering to vacuum, stacking chairs and cooking can all be done for the glory of God. All of these items express our love and our attitude of servitude. We must show our love by thinking “In what way can I serve here?” One thing I struggle with is that I work hard serving in church but when it comes to loading the dishwasher, well I don’t have the same attitude. So I guess if we want to show true love, we must serve initially in the home. My Mum very wisely says “It’s no good serving at church if you can’t help at home.” She is right. How else can we have an attitude of servitude in the home? One way could be taking your siblings out for a walk. For some these things are easy, others they are hard. Look for areas where you can lay down your life, when you can help out the brethren, the Church of Christ.

You might think “Is all this necessary?” Do you think that Jesus ever thought that as He came to Earth, as He slaved away at teaching and getting rejected; as He was beaten and bruised for sinners like you and I... Do you ever think He thought “Is all this necessary?” If you are a Christian reading this then you will know that following Christ is an act of servitude. Christ said to take up your cross and follow Him. He washed the disciples’ feet, He healed the filthy lepers He raised decaying people from the dead, all in the act of servitude.

The Crunch

Being selfish is easy. Being Self-LESS is hard. Remember that nobody is perfect, and that having true and sacrificial love is also about humility. Jesus was silent like a lamb before he was slaughtered, even so we should have a silent and humble attitude of servitude. We must love all people, just as God loves us.

Love, with God’s love.


  1. Thank-you for this, Jonah. You're quite right; true, godly love is an act of dying to self. Indeed, if we possess the Biblical love that God so commends towards us, then all the other fruits of the Spirit will follow. That's why, I believe, love is mentioned first on the list: if you possess love, then joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control will follow. For how can one be joyful, patient or kind without love?

    We are told in 1 Corinthians 13 what true love is. It is patient, kind, it does not envy, it does not boast or is proud, it is not rude, or selfish or easily provoked. Love does not think evil, or rejoice in iniquity, but it rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

    Love as described above is so important, and yet taken so lightly today in our society. As you said before, Jonah, most people today just think of love as a gushy feeling in a physical sense, rather than as a continual act of self-sacrifice and loving service. This kind of love is essential in sustaining a healthy relationship, and yet sadly is missing in most today. Many marriages break up because one or both of the couples have 'fallen out of love'. What they don't realise is that feelings constantly change and we can't rely on feelings; but if we act in love by denying ourselves, just as Christ did, then the feelings will follow. If we demonstrate true love towards others, even when we don't feel like it, then the feelings will follow later.

    "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Galatians 5:13-14)

    Sorry for rambling on! Anyway, thanks very much again, Jonah.

  2. Thanks for this Jonah. I was particularly struck by you saying, "This type of love is sacrificial ... it simply means by getting out of our comfort zones." That's definitely made me think - do I do that and what does that look like?

    I really like the way you ended it by pointing us back to God: "Love, with God's love." Because it's only through knowing Him, obeying Him and abiding in Him (John 15:7-10) that we can know how to love as He loves. And that means more than kind acts and words but deep thought and prayer to find how you can really help the other person - to ask God how He would have you love them.

    Rebekah, I liked your comment that all the other Fruits of the Spirit follow on from love. That is what I heard in a sermon a month or two back. :-) I think you're right about marriage break-ups because people don't understand what love really is and how can we have that type of love in our marriages if we don't have it in our other relationships. What a neat way to describe it, "continual act of self-sacrifice and loving service"!

    I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series! :-)

  3. Hi All,
    Nice to be here again,
    A good start of a good series,
    Waiting for the next instalment
    Keep posting
    Its very interesting subject.
    LOVE The word is very much in the air but very seldom found in people, that is the lost part of it
    these articles will definitely give a change in the mind of people who go thru.
    Thanks for sharing
    Keep posting
    waiting for the next series
    Best regards
    God bless
    Love and prayer

  4. Thank you for your comments.

    I think the major problem we face today is a selfish attitude. In relationships(that is boyfriend/girlfriend etc) it is SO easy to look out for number one. We try and get what we can out of him or her, which is blatantly selfish. And as you say, that's why we have so many divorces etc.

    On the subject of sacrifice-getting out of our comfort zones... I would highly recommend a book called DO HARD THINGS. By Alex and Brett Harris. It is excellent in the way it shows young people to do something signinficant with their lives. If you like I can do a book review and see if I can convince you to buy it.(or maybe win it in a WW giveaway)

    Well that's all from me

    Jonah McLachlan

  5. My older sister has heard of "Do Hard Things" (she said she's been told it's very good) but we've never read it ... a book review definitely sounds interestng! :-)


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