Welcome to my LIVE series! Over the next three weeks I am going to be sharing insight on the 9 fruits of the Spirit, and ways that we can practically LIVE a life that produces these fruits (…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).
Before we go to much further, I wanted to talk briefly about the verses surrounding Galatians 5:22-23.
The chapter opens by reminding us of the freedom we have because of the sacrifice Christ Jesus made on our behalf. We are being called in verse 1 to hold onto our freedom in Christ, and not give it up & get all tangled up again in a life of sin and slavery.
Further down in the chapter (vs 13), Paul is reminding us that this freedom given us is not simply for our benefit, but as a tool to serve those around us. He then continues by pointing out that not only are we called to live a life of freedom, freedom from love that serves others, but as Sons and Daughters of God who have been given the Holy Spirit empowering us to live fully this life of freedom.
Paul is very clear when he points out that our life of freedom is one that is meant to serve others, but this true service to others cannot be accomplished if we are choosing a self-sufficient, flesh-led life. The life that produces anything of true value is lived from the Spirit of God within us.
He reveals the evidence of the flesh-led life; sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these! INTENSE…A flesh-led life disconnects us from the inheritance of a FULL LIFE given us through the sacrifice made by our Savior, Jesus Christ & breaks us from life-giving connection with others; the very thing that Christ came to redeem.
The GOOD NEWS however is that the Spirit-led life produces lasting fruit, fruit produced from the tree of our life- a life that is rooted & grounded by streams of living water! (…I encourage you to stop for a moment & go read Psalms 1). This fruit is nourishment for those around us- good fruit- fruit that lasts & points people to the Kingdom of God. How beautiful to realize that our life of freedom, a life led by the Spirit of God within us, can produce good fruit for others to eat from & live! What incredible purpose we have!
SO-today I want to talk about how we can LIVE-LOVE!
In our passage (Galatians 5:22) the definition for love is this…
(GREEK) ἀγάπη (agapē). n. fem. love. This term means “love” but can also denote ideas such as benevolence or goodwill. The noun ἀγάπη (agapē) carries the sense of affectionate regard or benevolence toward someone.
Agape- is mentioned over 250 times in the Bible! I’m thinking God is revealing something about our call as Holy Spirit fruit-bearing believers.
One author describes agape in this way…
“Love is that outgoing, self-giving kind of action, not necessarily emotion, that characterized God himself when he loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,” (Wesley L. Gerig, “Fruit of the Spirit).
Here we see love not as a self-serving act, or even emotion, but as an action taken for the benefit of another. In this case a love so self-less, its very act produces eternal fruit for ALL of humanity, and we are called to bear this fruit as well!
It is said that “the characteristics that God wants in our lives are seen in the ninefold fruit of the Spirit. Paul begins with love because all of the other fruit is really an outgrowth of love, (Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, 1996).
If all of the other 8 fruits are an outgrowth of love, agapē, then what does that mean for the weight we are to place on the way in which we LIVE-LOVE?
I believe this agapē love, this fruit of the Spirit, is produced in & from our lives when we decide that those who surround our lives whether in our families, workplace, university, schools, churches, etc.. becomes the focus of our actions. When we recognize that as believers we have been gifted a life of freedom in Christ Jesus, a life that is fully supplied, rooted and grounded by streams of living water, that bears fruit in every season- we come to understand that our agapē poured out for others is nourishing fruit that is a source of life directly from the Giver of Life Jesus Christ!
So, how is God calling you to LIVE-LOVE today? What action will you take to LIVE-LOVE? Who will be the recipient of this agapē today?
Let’s pause, and for the next few moments pray- Matthew 7:7 calls us to ask, seek & knock. When you have your answer, write it down & decide to be intentional about how you will LIVE-LOVE today!
This is The story He wrote!