We are told in Galatians 5:22 a list of the fruit of the Spirit, starting with love. In the first part of this series it becomes important to talk about why God chose the analogy of “fruit.” Note that the fruit being produced is not the fruit of ourselves, it is not something that we do, but rather the Spirit Himself produces it through us.
So many times people revert to legalism in their walk with Christ, but Paul tells us that the just shall live by faith; and faith is trusting. In the case of the fruit of the Spirit, we trust that the Spirit will bring forth these things in our lives in their own time. No vine, or tree can cause fruit to grow with any type of effort of will. You can squeeze your eyes shut and try as hard as you can to produce fruit, but that is not how it works.
A good tree produces good fruit, and there is none good but God Himself; hence our need for the Holy Spirit to produce this fruit through us. We don’t put the effort into it, we yield to Him. So, lets take a look at this fruit one aspect at a time.
The Greek word for love here is “agape.” Agape love is the type of love that is stable, profound, and enduring. When John, in 1 John 4:8 remarks that God is love, it is agape love that is used. (There are different words for different types of love in Greek, but that is a different article…) It is a benevolent, caring type of love. Since God is Agape, and the Holy Spirit is God, that is what fruit is produced through us.
Love like this can change the world… and what is more, this kind of love even works on the human heart. Sometimes this type of love is uncomfortable to feel toward others and we actually fight against it. We have this odd idea in our culture sometimes that love and caring is weak; far from it! This type of love wants what is best for others without regard for self. When Jesus commanded us in John 13:34 to “love one another,” as He loved us, this is the type of love He was speaking of.
In this world, as never before, we need this type of love that is guided by God, and flows from the Spirit to those around us who crave it so badly. Next, we’ll look at joy…