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June 11th, 2008 at 1:45 pm

The Fruit of Love

Dear Friends,

As we consider that fruit which the Holy Spirit intends to develop in us it should come as no surprise that the first fruit in the list is the fruit of love. Priority of place is given to love in many Scriptures that we cherish. In his letter to the Colossians the Apostle Paul, after exhorting the believers at Colossi to put on compassion and kindness and other Christian virtues, says the following, “And above all these put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

In that very famous chapter on Christian love in 1 Corinthians 13 Paul again gives primacy of place to love: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

When asked what were the greatest commandments the Lord Jesus answered, not surprisingly, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as your self. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Later, in the upper room on the night before his death, Jesus would add a third “great” commandment, which he would refer to as the “new” commandment. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

The reason that love has such primacy of place in the list of that fruit which the Holy Spirit seeks to bear in us has to do with the fact that He, the Holy Spirit, is working to remake us into the image of Jesus Christ, Himself the very image of God. And in the person and work of Jesus Christ we find love exhibited and defined.

We will come back to “love” many more times over the course of this summer, so I will not write a dissertation here. The love which the Holy Spirit seeks to develop in us is a love which seeks out the good and well being and blessing of the other. Often what the other defines as his or her good is not good, so we must ultimately let Scripture define the nature of this good of the other which we seek. The other may want us to kill him, or kill his souse, or help him rob a bank, or lie to cover up a crime. Love has content. Some things are not compatible with love.

But there is a road a mile wide full of good things we can do for, and blessings we can bring, to the other, whoever that other is.

But here is the question: do we really want to love? Because to do so means change, and that change can be very painful. You see, we live in perhaps the most narcissistic, self focused, self obsessed generation of human beings ever. Such has been the impact of the success of western materialism and consumerism. We are trained from day one to make decisions according to that most significant of criteria – what pleases us, what we gain emotionally or materially, what we like or enjoy. We choose our cereals, our clothes, our churches, our friends, our activities from a panoply of options, all according to what strikes our fancy, what we get out of it. We are trained in a thousand small ways, and by sheer habit to to seek our own good. It’s a way of life, a way of mind, a way of seeing.

Love – of God, of others – does not come naturally. It takes a lifetime to learn how it is we don’t love, and a lifetime to learn how to love well, to learn to love as Christ has loved us. God is in it for the long haul. Are you? Am I?

There is no award, no skill, no amount of money or fame or power, no great achievement, no goal, no “dream” as big as this, to become a person who loves. Ethnicity, wealth, strength, language, age, gender – these do not matter. Love is an equal opportunity employer. Are you willing to be turned inside out? Are you willing to fight against every instinct within you? Are you willing to be shown your dark side so that the light may shine upon it? and reveal it? Are you willing to lay down your rights and prerogatives? Are you willing to seek the interests of others before your own?

If so, then climb aboard the love train. The Holy Spirit’s conducting, and the destination is glory.

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6
  • Paloma
    7:46 pm on December 28th, 2014 1

    Dan,Of course, Christ truly died for EVERYONE who does bilveee. So, the commandment does not require the person to bilveee a falsehood.I get this image of opening a refrigerator door. Whenever you open the refrigerator door, the light is on. The analogous commandment might be, “believe that when you open the fridge, the light will shine on you.” What does it matter whether the light is on or off if the door is closed? Who will care? But even if it is off while many pass by the fridge… if anyone opens the door, the light shines on them without exception.As an aside.. note that Christ is Lord of everyone.. every knee will bow, like it or not. John doesn’t quite say that the commandment is to bilveee that Christ died for you… eh?

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    10:16 am on March 14th, 2015 2

    Merci pour ce site qui me ravie tous les jours! pleins de bonnes idées et d’ astuces qui nous rendent belles! ( grace à toi je me suis laissé tenté cet été par la gamme Effaclar que je ne connaissais que de nom et depuis ma peau est vraiment plus belle)! merci !

  • Ahmad
    1:02 pm on March 30th, 2015 3

    Dear TJ,My argument is that the reoarbpte, not the elect that are required to believe a falsehood. Even if the falsehood is never uncovered , we still have the very odd situation where the Truth is requiring belief in a falsehood. As for believing that Christ died for you, I agree that John doesn’t explicitly state you have to believe that Christ died for you . But such a belief is enclosed under entailment.P1: You have to believe the GospelP2: The Gospel states that Christ died for your sinsC1: therefore, you have to believe that Christ died for your sinsChrist be with you,Dan

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    6:07 pm on April 20th, 2015 4

    Your posting really straightened me out. Thanks!

  • Kadir
    6:17 pm on April 28th, 2015 5

    Yes service was awmseoe today as always! Thank you pastor for everything you do. We love you and are very very blessed to have you and Dinah in our life!

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    4:17 pm on July 14th, 2015 6

    With the bases loaded you struck us out with that answer!

 

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