Did you know that the most essential and powerful fruit of the Spirit is love? Love is the essence of who God is and is the foundation of our faith as believers.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that among faith, hope, and love, the greatest of these is love. We experience God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness through love.
But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
In today’s reading, we will consider what the Bible teaches us about love as a fruit of the Spirit; how it manifests in our lives, and how it impacts our relationship with God and others.
So, let’s dive into this rich and trans-formative topic of love as we seek to grow in our understanding and practice of this powerful fruit of the Spirit.
The Fruit of the Spirit: Love
Love is the first fruit of the Spirit and the foundation of the Christian faith. Scripture teaches that without love, everything else we do is meaningless.
Love is not just an emotion, it’s a choice to put the needs of others before ours. It’s a selfless act that requires sacrifice and humility. The fruit of the Spirit is the nine virtues or character traits produced in the lives of believers.
These traits are listed in Galatians 5:22-23, and they include:
The King James Version of the Bible listed these nine fruits of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
Love is the first fruit of the Spirit because it’s not only the most important of all the nine virtues but also the foundation of all the other fruit, without which the rest can’t manifest.
The Greek word for love used in the New Testament is agape, which means selfless, sacrificial love.
This type of love is not based on feelings or emotions but on choosing to love others as God loves us despite our faults and shortcomings.
Love is a word that is often used in our culture, but the truth is that it’s not always understood. It’s more than just a feeling or emotion; it’s a decision to act in a way that benefits others.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes agape love in action:
Love is patient and is kind. Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. (WEB)
What are the unique characteristics of God’s love shown in Scripture?
1. Love is Selfless.
Love is not selfish but selfless. It requires us to put the needs of others before ours. The Bible teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves. This means we must treat others the way we want them to treat us.
Love is not about what we can get out of a relationship but what we can give. It’s about sacrificing our own desires and wants for the good of others.
The scriptures say Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13. This is the ultimate show of love. It’s the type of love that our Lord and Saviour demonstrated on the Cross of Calvary.
2. Love is the Mark of a True Christian.
Jesus mentioned in Scripture that the mark of a true disciple is love. He said – By this, all men will know you are my disciples if you love one another.
When we love others, we demonstrate the love of Christ to the world. This type of love is not just for those who are easy to love. But it’s also for those who are both difficult to love and undeserving of our love.
It’s easy to love those who love us back, but it’s a true demonstration of love when we love those who don’t deserve our love or are even our enemies.
3. Love is Sacrificial.
Love is a sacrificial act that requires us to give up something for someone else’s good. Jesus demonstrated this type of love when He gave His life for us on the cross.
He sacrificed Himself so that we could have eternal life. In return, He expects us to love others as He loves us. This entails our willingness to sacrifice our time and resources for others.
4. Love is Humble.
Love is also an act of humility. It requires us to put aside our pride and recognize the value of others. The word of God admonishes us to consider others better than ourselves.
This means we must value the needs and desires of others above ours. When we love others in this way, we demonstrate that we are indeed Christlike.
5. Love is the Fulfillment of the Law.
Scripture teaches that love is the fulfillment of the law. When we love others, we are fulfilling God’s commandments. Love is the greatest commandment, and it encompasses all the other commandments.
When we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and love our neighbors as ourselves, we fulfill the law.
Why is Love the Most Important Fruit of the Spirit?
Each of the other eight fruit of the Spirit is important, but what makes love the most important of them all is that without love, our lives can’t produce the other eight character traits.
These other eight character traits (virtues) operate from love. In other words, your life as a believer can’t manifest patience, kindness, faithfulness, or any of the rest if you don’t have love.
Love is also the most important fruit because it’s the first proof that we love God and have a part in Him. Loving God naturally translates to our ability to love others.
If we don’t love others, it’s a sign that we don’t love God, and He is not in us.
That’s why 1 John 4:16 says – We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.
Loving others is not a matter of choice for us as believers; it’s a command. John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Our love for others is a powerful witness to the world of our love for God and faith in Him.
Love is the first fruit of the Spirit and the foundation of the Christian faith. Love is selfless, sacrificial, humble, and the mark of a true believer.
When we love others, we are fulfilling the law, and we are demonstrating the love of Christ to the world. As believers, God wants us to love others as Christ loves us.
This means we must put the needs of others before ours. May we seek to grow in love each day so that we can reflect the love of Christ to those around us.
Where does the bible speak about the fruit of love?
The Bible mentions the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23, which includes love as one of its components: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” This passage suggests that love is a result of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of believers and that it is one of the key characteristics that should be evident in their behavior.
What is the biblical definition of love?
The biblical definition of love is multifaceted and includes different aspects. One of the most well-known passages that defines love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Overall, the biblical definition of love is characterized by selflessness, kindness, respect, forgiveness, honesty, protection, and endurance. It is a love that seeks the well-being of others above oneself and is willing to make sacrifices for the sake of others.