Fruit of the Spirit: Love

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Heart.2

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16

There are so many facets to love it was difficult to know where to begin; yet, as a Christian, I had to begin here. Those of us who have the tiniest understanding of the monumental grace of this gift are overwhelmed with the love of God.

Tullian Tchividjian, in his book One Way Love*, explains it this way: “Grace is unconditional acceptance given to an undeserving person by an unobligated giver. It is one-way love.”

Brennan Manning described it as indiscriminate compassion. He wrote, “Abba’s love cannot be comprehended. I’ll say it again: Abba’s love cannot be comprehended.”**

As we are given His grace, we are filled with God’s incomprehensible love and there it creates in us a desire to love, a desire to extend the grace and mercy that He has so graciously filled inside of us.

Jesus wanted us to be well aware of and attentive to this grace of love. As he spoke with the disciples, he emphasized four commands, two old and two new, which he placed upon us as his followers.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  John 14:15

Commands 1 & 2 – The Old

“The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

Jesus, God the Son who emptied himself of his divine nature to become human while on earth, continually deferred to the will of God the Father. His threefold purpose in coming here was to reveal the Father to us, to redeem us, and to show us how to make disciples. His first two purposes were revealed in his first command.

 Commands 3 & 4 – The New

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:43-44

 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Jesus’ third purpose was revealed in his last three commandments.  His reminder to stay yoked to him (Matthew 11:29-30) will help make this love easier to do through the Holy Spirit.

~~~

TEACH US TO LOVE

by John Blase

Lord, teach us to love. Then teach us to love

further still. For love is the first of the fruits,

the seed giving rise to the taste of a world forgiven,

a world resembling that next place.

Lord, teach us to love and not only to observe.

Conjure in us the courage to touch. We’ve seen where

there is no intimacy there is no revelation. Help us

to remember this is the daily battle.

Lord, teach us to love overestimatingly. To be

awake to the truth that ours is a holy place where

all things can be endured, can be hoped, can be believed.

That yes, with love all things can be born.

~~~

If we are to produce the Holy Sprit’s fruit of love, we must practice it as Jesus required in all these forms. As he said, it is easy to love our own; our transformed lives must result in behavior that shows significantly greater love (Matthew 6:47).

The Best Known Scripture on Love

Perhaps the most famous Scripture about love comes from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. In this letter, Paul addresses the arrogance of the church leaders, who have come to worship their own Spiritual gifts more than God. More than that, they have evaluated those gifts and judged which are valued more and which are valued less. Paul, in a wisdom and discernment that comes from the same Holy Spirit that resides in us, informs them that these gifts given with pure grace, if used without love, are worthless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

 It is only then, when he has their full, attention, he can explain what love is.

Many of you know it by heart; to some, it has become trite or cliché. So it doesn’t remain commonplace , I’m going to ask you to do a short exercise.

LoveIs

Take the few short verses in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and write it out, but substitute the word love (and it, as the description continues) with your name. Once you’ve done that, read it aloud and take measure. Are you living God’s intended life through His love?

Thankfully, as we practice and fail, and practice and fail, and practice again, God’s great grace, mercy and unending love are there to lift us up and remind us that he loves us because we are human, not in spite of it.

 “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Teach Us To Love Copyright 2014 John Blase

John Blase’s “about” page reads, in part: “My credo, if it can even be called such a thing, rides piggyback on the slithering black curved back of the lovely question mark.  I don’t have many answers, but I do have questions…”

John is the author of All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir (With Brennan Manning), Start With Me: A Modern Parable (with Michael Seaton), Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas, and most recently, Know When to Hold ‘Em: The High Stakes Game of Fatherhood.

 Please find more of John’s eloquent and heartfelt poetry at the beautiful due

This post can also be seen on Mind’s Seat, www.marmarthunder.wordpress.com

*Tullian Tchividjian, One Way Love, p. 33, copyright 2013, David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, Co
**Brennan Manning, All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir, with John Blase, p. 194, copyright 2011, David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, Co

19 comments

  1. Mich-in-French · ·

    Susan – Adonai has put so much wisdom in your heart. He is love and if we love as He do we will know Him – can you imagine if we could every day give love as He commands us to. Wow.I heard a saying once – not sure who said it but it goes like this Grace is getting what we don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what we do. Thank you for an incredible post.

    Like

    1. Michelle, thank you so much. I’ve heard that saying, too. Those words remind me of the scene in Les Miserable when the priest offers both to Jean Valjean in the form of the silver candlesticks. That offer transforms his life, as do the grace and mercy offered to us from God. Bless you for your gracious comment.

      Like

      1. Mich-in-French · ·

        Like

  2. Beautiful dear Susan. I expected no less though. To love – yip, sometimes the hardest thing to do – but the most important.

    Like

    1. Absolutely difficult at times, yet so important. I wonder – is it more difficult to let love in, or give it?

      Like

  3. Beautiful post and wonderful reminders. Thank you.
    I enjoyed Blase’s poem, especially “…Lord, teach us to love overestimatingly.”
    Overestimatingly…excellent!

    Like

    1. He is a gem; perfectly stated.

      Like

  4. Beautiful my friend, wow. Love u! Diana

    Like

    1. Bless you, Diana.

      Like

  5. The source of all love shows us how if we but listen. So simple and yet abused by interpretation. Beautiful post, Susan.x

    Like

    1. Thanks so much, and bless you for just being there.

      Like

  6. One is hard pressed to find a better post anywhere on this day. Thanks for the time and effort out into this, Susan. A beautiful post, for certain.

    Like

    1. Thank you and bless you. This means so much coming from you.

      Like

  7. Beautiful poem by John Blase Susan, thank you so much for sharing it. Faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love. Sending love and hugs to you my dear friend xo

    Like

    1. To you as well, my friend. John is a gift. Happy Valentine’s Day.

      Like

  8. This is the passage that arrived in my inbox this morning, so apt for Valentine’s Day:

    1 John 4:16-21

    16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has [a]for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear [b]involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

    HVD, Susan.

    Like

    1. Back ‘atcha, Beth.

      Like

  9. Susan….a good lesson on the love we should all have in Christ. And it most certainly does not come naturally. I love the entire poem Teach Us To Love…and the first two sentences the most. Many people do not know how to love unconditionally as God does….we must learn. The greatest lesson in love is…”because He first loved us”…that tells us that it begins with the Father…and “oh how He loves you and me.” Happy Valentine’s Day for everyday dear friend….sending you a “box of x’s and o’s”……dale

    Like

    1. x’s and o’x back to you, my sweet friend. John Blase expressed it beautifully, didn’t he? The love inside us brought from God by the Holy Spirit must be given out to others – it really is our charge. Keeping it to ourselves, letting it mold and grow musty I think is a sin we cannot continue to make. We must continually pray for the willingness to have Him keep our hearts and hands open.

      Like

%d bloggers like this: