“But the Spirit produces, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, humbleness, humility and self control. There is no law against such things as these.” (Galatians 5)
Beloved saints in Christ Jesus, as the word of God in Galatians 5 reveals unto us the fruits of the Holy Spirit, let us one by one look deep into each of the fruits. The first fruit that the Spirit of God produces is “Love”. Love is the one of the greatest characteristics of our Lord God Almighty, infact Bible declares, “God is Love.” Love is the essence and “The Source” of Christian life.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines love as "an intense affection for another person based on familial or personal ties". Often this "intense affection" stems from a sexual attraction for that other person. We love other people, or we say we love other people, when we are attracted to them and when they make us feel good. Notice that a key phrase in the dictionary definition of love is the phrase "based on". This phrase implies that we love conditionally; in other words, we love someone because they fulfill a condition that we require before we can love them. How many times have you heard or said, "I love you because you are cute;" or "I love you because you take good care of me;" or "I love you because you are fun to be with"? Our Love is conditional and our love is based on feelings and emotions that can change from one moment to the next.
But the Love that the Bible testifies and promotes is not as the worldly love, the Love that Bible testifies is the Love that is Un-conditional, Agape, Holy, Pure, Sacrificial, and Un-changing. And this is the Love that the Spirit of God wants to produces in every born-again Christian’s life and witness the same to the world.
1) Un-Conditional Love: - “Un-Conditional” means it does not have any condition. Human Love is conditional, it involves “If’s & but’s”: If you will do this for me I will believe you love me, if you will leave life which I ask you to live then I will love you; human love changes according to circumstances and situations, it is: “Based upon our feelings and Emotions” But the Love of God is not based upon “feelings and Emotions”, it does not have strings attached to itself, it’s simply ever & over-flowing, God shall never say, If only you will do these for me I believe that you love me or vice-versa; rather God’s love has no conditions, it’s universal and does not exemplifies divisions; His Love does not fail, fall-short or changes because of our set-backs, failures, trials, temptations, sin’s, disobedience, lust, hatred, jealousy, pride, anger and un-forgiveness; rather the Love of God reveals unto us the “Healing, Deliverance and Restoration to us from all those things that our sinful human nature desires and craves for.”
God’s Love is Un-Conditional because He has sacrificed His only begotten Son Christ Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for our sin’s. For Christ with His own blood has obtained eternal salvation for us: His blood purifies our consciences from useless rituals, so that we may serve the living God. This certainly does not mean that we keep on deliberately sinning even after experiencing the saving grace of our Lord Almighty; but as the Bible says that, “If anyone does sin, we have someone who pleads with the Father on our behalf- Jesus Christ the righteous one.”
Just as Lord our God has loved the world, even then and now when we are stained in sins, so does He wants His Church to love the world in same fashion; If say we are born-again then we should first Love the Lord our God Almighty by keeping His commandments and just as His Love is Un-conditional we as church should begin to love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and the people of the world in the same way. Yes we must condemn the Sin but should love the sinners, for God has also done the same for us, if we do so, then only our Faith in Christ Jesus is professed in its trueness and totality. For Bible says, “ Be under obligation to no one- the only obligation you have is to love one another- for Love covers up multitude of sins and Whoever does so has obeyed the law. If you love someone, you will never do him wrong; to love is to obey the whole Law.”
2) Agape Love: - “Agape” word has three meanings, first one means: the love of God or Christ for humankind; second one means: unselfish love of one person for another without sexual implications; brotherly love; third one means: with the mouth wide open, as in wonder, surprise, or eagerness. From the three different meanings we come to know God’s Love for us; Love that’s Unselfish, brotherly and amazing. Yes, friends Bible says, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believe in him, will not perish but have eternal life.” God’s love makes we the humans our mouthed opened when we see the Son of God, crucified on the cross of Calvary, for the forgiveness of our sins and redemption of our Souls. Christ has died on the cross not only for Israelites or for Christians; He has died for the entire human race. God’s love does not have classification as per sects, religions, culture, race, tribes and diversification of people on the basis of class rather his love is unselfish, brotherly and wonderful. Agape Love is the love that God wants His- Church to embodied within itself and reach with the same in the broken and wretched world, where people are constantly destroying themselves and others through the weeds of hatred, lust, corruption, selfishness, pride, arrogance, boastfulness, materialism, idolatry, witchcraft, adultery, sexual immorality!
We the Church have the Love of God ministered unto our hearts through the Holy Spirit of God, but if we ourselves stop the Love of God flowing through our lives and hearts then how can we say that we are saved. We Believers find so difficult to Love others unselfishly, we are so stubborn that we are not even ready to forgive others; while the Agape Love of God is the one which remembers no more the sins that He has pardoned unto us once we humble ourselves, repent and confess our sins to Him in Christ Jesus name; He removes them, forgets them, remembers no more and when we deliberately or un-deliberately sin against him, if we go and ask for the forgiveness of our Sins He will immediately forgive us, for His love is Unselfish , astonishing and pure. This is the Love God wants us to have in our hearts for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, for the unsaved and lost souls out there in the world.
3) Holy Love: - “Holy” refers to the divine, that which has its sanctity directly from God or is connected with Him; having a spiritually pure quality. As we look upon the cross of Calvary we find God’s love spiritually pure and sanctifying. Love of God is Holy because Christ Jesus who was chosen before the creation of the world as perfect Passover lamb- A Lamb without fault or blemish, was not born with the corruptible seed of men- which has the traits of the sinful nature of mankind but Christ was born through the Spirit of God- the seed of righteousness. And So Christ’s blood is Holy and pure which cleanses us from all our sins and washes us through His Holy Spirit and gives new life to us. While we are born-again in Christ Jesus, He fills our hearts with his Holy Love and helps us to love others in the same way just as He has loved us. Bible says that our love should not be in our words and talk only but it should be true love, which shows itself in action. Just as Christ spoke about the “Good Samaritan” in his parable, such should be the love in our hearts for others. The holy love of God is neither boastful, nor conceited, nor prideful, neither keeps records of wrong doings, neither ill-mannered, nor is happy with evil and it never gives up; such should be our love for other’s for we are purchased with the precious blood of Christ and God is changing us from glory to glory, transforming us into the image and likeness of His Son Christ Jesus; so love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Love one another warmly as Christian brothers, and be eager to show respect for one another. God’s holy love helps us to bless those who curse us, pray for those who persecute us and forgive those who do wrong against us.
4) Pure Love: “Pure” refers to untainted with evil; innocent, wholesome. The love of humans is mixed bag of emotions. With a change in relationship even the love for the same also changes, for example: - love of husband and wife, love of parents for children’s and vice-versa, love of brother’s and sister’s. Etc. In each of the relationships need is the driving force and factor in order to gain benefits out of relationships and so the love of humans is not wholesome and pure in its origin. But the Love that bible profess and promotes is “Pure Love”- which is innocent and wholesome. Innocent because it does not want any reward or accept any gain, in other words it does not demand any special favor, for example, it was not the love of King David that motivated him to have Bathsheba, it was not the love that motivated King David to kill the husband of the woman, it was lust that droved King David to adultery, sexual-immorality and murder because of which he had to suffer a lot. Many people does work of charity because they think that through it they are put righteous in the sight of the Lord and others. Some people make donations in remembrance of there beloved one’s so that they can have put there name on the donation plate, some help orphans and poor because they think that by doing so they will earn grace and mercy from the lord, some people do Christian service with cheap ambition of recognition, for satisfying there ego, to earn fame and money; beloved these sort of love is not pure love at all, it’s just selfishness. Pure love doesn’t force itself on others, it doesn’t need recognition, acceptability, favourism rather pure love is always recognizing other’s, accepting others as they are, forgiving others, ministering others and free from human feelings, emotions, reasoning and judging power.
5) Sacrificial Love: There’s an old saying, “Love always demands sacrifice.” Love always has sacrifice, as it’s one of the major characteristics. Sacrifice means to let go, forfeit, and surrender. Bible says, “This is how we know what is Love: Christ gave his life for us. God has shown us how much He loves us- it was while we were still sinners and helpless Christ died for us – the wicked’s at the time God choose.” It was the love of our heavenly father that motivated him to sacrifice his only begotten Son Jesus Christ as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. It’s such type of sacrificial love that God wants us His Bride to reach out with to the people in the world and within the church. Sacrificial love demands humbleness, humility, forgiveness, perseverance, patience, and self-denial, seeking always good of other then of oneself, considering others better then oneself and putting others first before oneself and that’s the love that God Almighty has revealed to the world through the sacrifice of His Son Christ Jesus- the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
6) Un-changing Love: - As the Lord our God has loved us with an un-changing and Eternal Love, so should be the love of ours for our fellow brother & sister’s in Christ Jesus and with the people of the world. God’s love doesn’t change according to seasons, reasons, visions, missions and provisions rather His love is the same, yesterday, today and forever, it’s still on flowing and over-flowing from the cross of Calvary, it has neither ceased nor changed. Bible says that, “Let the only debt that you have be the love and nothing else.” For love cover’s multitudes of sins; for love is God and it’s love that will remain forever.
Because of the lackness of fruit of love in the individual believer’s life and collectively in the church, we see the alienization of Christ from Church, we see believer’s back-slide and giving up their faith, we see divisions and fractions, we witness broken marriages, families and relationships, we come across sexual-immorality and sexual exploitation of the women and children’s, we come across jealousy, pride, anger, slurring, back-biting, gossiping, slandering, false accusations and witnessing.
Beloved one’s in Christ Jesus, let us ask God to fill us with the fruit of love that shall not only help us to love one another but also love our enemies, for if we profess to have love of Christ Jesus then let us put it into the practice also, for it shall silence the ignorant talks of the unbelievers and will not give any chance to speak evil for the things that are good and appreciable in God’s sight.
Mark and remember the what St. Paul says about love in Chapter 13 verse 1- 3, “I may be able to speak the languages of men and angels, but if have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. I may have the gift of inspirational preaching; I may have all knowledge to understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains- but if I have no Love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have and even give up my body to be burnt- but If I have no love, this does no good.”
Remember love is patient and Kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongdoings; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and love is eternal.
May God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give to all Christian brothers and sisters peace and love with faith. May God’s grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying love.