But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. - Galatians 5:16
Fruit is the evidence that you are filled with the Spirit. When you are walking by the Spirit, your life is filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. You cannot resolve to make these things happen in your heart in your own power - they come as a result of being filled with the Spirit. You cannot resolve to be more patient, or more loving, and then expect it to last for any length of time. We can try, but eventually we’ll find ourselves fighting the urges of the flesh in our minds, eventually we’ll give in and sin all over again. You see, in our own power, we will fail at these things because they are the fruit of being filled with the Spirit. In other words, they happen because Spirit is strong in us, so if you want more of these in your life, you need to spend time filling the Spirit.
The first fruit of the spirit is love. There are three different types of love - eros love (intimate love between a man and a wife), phileo love (friend love), and agape love (sacrificial love). Agape love is biblical love, it is the love that is not possible without the intervention of the spirit. Agape is the “you before me” love.
Typically when we say "I love you," to someone, it is in response to how they make us feel. For example, our husband loads the dishwasher or brings us a gift, and we respond with "aw, I love you!" Essentially, we are saying "I love how you make me feel". The focus is on "me", not on "you".
Agape love is different - it is when we can "I love you before me". Agape love is when we have to do something really hard, or we don't want to do, and it is for the benefit of the other person alone. Agape love is when we bite our tongue rather than respond to a snarky comment our husband makes, agape love is taking care of the dishes without grumbling that we're always the one to do them. Agape love is making a hard decision about our children because we know that it's right - even though they may temporarily hate us. Agape love is responding in kindness when a colleague acts in a selfish way. Remember, we witness to others about the love of Jesus in the way we act. We are told in scripture they will know us by our love.
We are to be the most loving people that the people in our lives know, but we all have those difficult people in our lives. So where do we fall short? Who in your life would disagree that you are the most loving person they know? That's where we need to get to work. Get on your knees and ask for forgiveness, then ask the Spirit to fill us with agape love for that person. This is how we do the work of the Kingdom, this is how we bring people to Christ - we love.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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