04 May The Fruit of the Spirit: Loving Without a Frown
The fruit of the spirit is the outward evidence of a Christian whose life has been influenced by God. They are character traits of a weathered Christian and Just like every character; they are not acquired or built in a flash. It takes daily followership of God to attain such lifestyle. The bible likens the life of a Christian to a tree (Psalm 1:3, Mark 8:24) and just as a tree bears fruits, we are expected to bear good fruits. Every tree produces fruit and the quality of fruit produced is based on what goes into the roots (John 15:1-5).The bible records the fruit of the spirit as nine and they are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). I’ll divide it up and talk about it part by part in the weeks that follow. So let’s begin with the first one.
LOVE:This is one of the hardest emotions to genuinely feel (no kidding). Sometimes, we are just out rightly surrounded by people whom we think have no business being loved because of their attitude. I have been in positions where I honestly, genuinely, sincerely want to love a particular person or group of persons because of God but the more I try the more dislike I feel because it also appears as though the person has taken a vow to make my efforts go to waste. But the question is, does it matter how I originally feel about an annoying person? Well, yes and no. lemme tell you what I think. Yes it does matter in the sense that God acknowledges that humans are complex, difficult and can prove unlovable and God has a better understanding of such matters because he has same situation to deal with on a per second basis and so he understands our original reactions to the matter but does he approve that the ill feelings linger? Now that’s where the No comes in because God is love and if we have accepted to put on his nature, then we must like him, love unconditionally (1 John 4:7).
There’s a simple secret to loving (well, it’s not exactly a secret because you must have figured it out by now after getting your fingers burnt a couple of times). We must love without expecting to be loved in return. This is crazy right? It still is even to me. But the truth is that the reason we hurt when people reject our love is because we expect to be loved in the same measure as we love others (Luke 6:35). Love as God explains must be sincere and unconditional and without selfish motives or interests because the truth is that people can feel genuine love as well as insincere love and will move away or hold back if they don’t feel loved honestly. In other words, love must be complete, free and without interest. We must learn not to attach a price or expectation to it. (Romans 12:9).
Every now and then, we ask the zillion dollar question. How do I know love when it comes or how can I know real love? For a long time, I asked myself that question over and over and would even ask others to see their standard of measurement. Oh well, I stopped asking when I came across the ultimate litmus test for love. It’s pretty simple to go through and a good summary too of how we can identify real love and also show same. There are about ten characteristics of perfect love. I’ll call it the quick ten so here we go:
- Love is very patient and kind
- Love is never jealous or envious
- Love is not proud or envious
- Love is never arrogant, selfish or rude
- Love does not demand its own way
- Love is not irritable or touchy
- Love does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong
- Love is never glad about injustice but rejoices when truth wins out
- Love is loyal
- Love believes in others, expects the best of others and always defends
So… You would not believe where I found this secret hidden. The thing was hidden quietly away in 1 Corinthians 13:4-9. Don’t Shhhh…spread the word.
Finally, we are to love each other passionately and take the act of loving seriously because many wars have been won simply by the genuine actions of love (1 Peter 4:8).