Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study--Love

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.—1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV (bold emphasis added)
When you think of love, what comes to mind? Valentine’s Day hearts? Your children or spouse? An expensive object? What about Jesus and all He did for us and all He went through for us? Love is not only the first fruit we receive from the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 2 Tim. 1:7), it is who God is! 1 John 4:8 says it in plain English, ‘God is love’!
There’s a reason love is the first fruit. Love is so important to God, He inspired an entire chapter dedicated to love (1 Cor. 13)! That also happens to be one of my favorite chapters. You can’t have anything else without love because without love, we are nothing and can accomplish nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
What is love? Here’s how Paul described love to the church in Corinth (NIV):
Patient. Kind. Forgiving (does not keep a record of wrongs). Rejoices in the truth. Protecting. Trusting. Hoping. Persevering.
What is love not? Again, here’s Paul’s description:
Envious. Boastful. Prideful. Dishonoring. Self-seeking. Easily angered. Delights in evil.
Love is the binding that holds the traits of the Christian together (Col. 3:14).
We come from God  and belong to Him if we love others and obey Him(1 John 4:7, 5:2-3) Jesus tells us we are His disciples if we love others (John 13:35).
There’s no way to be a part of God’s family and not love others (1 John 3:10). We show that we have ‘come over into life’ if we love others and are not ‘under the power of death’ (1 John 3:14). I don’t know about you, but I want to be under the power of love, not death! Love ‘shows itself in action’ (1 John 3:18), it is a choice. Jesus loved us so deeply He ‘gave his life for us. We too, then ought to give our lives for others!’ (1 John 3:16, John 15:13) and love like He loved. This doesn’t necessarily mean dying physically for someone else. It could mean denying yourself and your desires and putting others before yourself (and after Jesus of course!)
Jesus said in John 15, ‘Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me.’ (v. 4). The only way we can bear ‘the kind of fruit that endures’ (v. 16) is if we remain in Jesus and His love. How do we do that? By obeying Him (v. 10). He wants us to ‘love one another’ (v. 17), even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). We have to show the love of God to others if we want to bring them to their Savior.
So, to show the fruit of love in your life, you must love others,  be patient, kind, forgiving, protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering. You should rejoice in the truth and deny your flesh’s desire and obey Jesus to remain in Him. Ephesians 4:2 NLT says: 'Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love.'
I have barely scratched the surface of love! There is so much to the attribute of love that I couldn’t fit it all on one blog post for this study. The love of God and Christian love is something that should be studied, written and read about in depth. Maybe one day I will make a Saturday study on it but not anytime soon. I only want to work on one thing at a time so I don’t get side-tracked. J
So 'live a life filled with love' (Eph. 5:2 NLT)! Next up is JOY! :D

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