Fruit for Musing: How Does God Love?

John_1

I just came to a well known passage in Galatians I’ve been studying for class:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law (HCSB Ga 5:22–23).

Many commentaries have generally observed that the first three fruits are God centered, the second three are other centered, and the last three are internal. All are produced by the Spirit, they are not a person’s work (which is a major theme of this book). Love (Greek word agape) is the first fruit and may well be the one from which the others spring.

Please keep in mind the definition of this word agape: Desiring the highest and best for another person, even at the expense of oneself (as in Jn 3:16). This kind of love contemplates the attributes or character of the object. It is divine love (Yes, I know, a heady concept!). So this is not brotherly love (phileō) or erotic love (eros), two other Greek words for love.

Love is a primary fruit because “God is love [agape]” (1 Jn 4:8) So, our love isn’t necessarily our own when we show it to someone. To put this another way, when we love other people we show them God (my head just about exploded the first time I thought about this idea). We can do this because God first loved us (1 Jn 4:19).

As I was studying the fruit of the Spirit I had this thought come to me: As we live in Christ and depend on Him, love, joy, and peace fill us and continue to increase. This continuous filling and increase causes a change in our hearts and patience, kindness, and goodness towards others grow. As we grow, then we can show Christ to others through the faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (along with the all the previously listed fruit) He gives us. This, in turn, plants more seeds which sprout trust in Jesus. Thus the cycle of producing fruit is perpetuated.

With the way this verse is structured you can see the flow from God, through Christians, to others. Christians are like a conduit God uses to love people.

Do you have any thoughts to share? Please post below or email me.

 

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Books cited:

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