The fruit of the Holy Spirit “LOVE”
Part 1 of 5
By Norman Watson

As we start our study on the fruit of the Holy Spirit let us first read again Galatians 5:22-23 (Amplified Bible) which is the foundation of this series (if you have not read the introduction to this series please read that first here is the link – READ INTRODUCTION) “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 

As a true follower of Jesus we are to be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit. In our last study we learned what that meant. If you have not read it or need to read it again here is the link. – 

The first fruit the the Holy Spirit is “LOVE” I believe that “LOVE” is the first fruit because in 1 John 4:16 we read “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” And also in 1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Therefore Jesus is “LOVE”, if we are truly born again we have His Holy Spirit in us. The question is are we followers of Jesus by showing the fruit of “LOVE” or just a fan or admirer and just know things about Him and the Bible?

Romans 5:5 tells us that His “LOVE” is poured into us by the Holy Spirit, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Colossians 3:14 says that we are to put on love ” And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” I encourage you to read Romans 5:1-5 and Colossians 3:12-17 and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what these passages mean. Then ask yourself does my life show the “LOVE” that these Bible passages are telling us? Does life show the “LOVE” of Jesus?

Let me end with a poem that my friend and brother Tony Rios wrote on the first fruit of the Holy Spirit called “LOVE”

LOVE

Lord Holy Spirit, at Your command, I am empowered to show Your love for my fellow man.
Oh Lord Holy Spirit by this fruit of Your grace, I can love those I’d rather avoid.
Virtuous Savior,You loved me so, You died to grant me eternal life with God above.
Emmanuel, I love Thee because You loved me, You certainly proved it when You hung on that tree.

Like A River Glorious
By Truth In Song
Like a river, glorious
Is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious
In its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth
Fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth
Deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Christ Jesus,
Hearts are fully blest;
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.
Hidden in the hollow
Of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow,
Never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry,
Not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry
Touch the spirit there.
Every joy or trial
Falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial
By the Sun of Love.
We may trust Him fully
All for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly
Find Him wholly true.
The Fruit of the Spirit — Love
By R.T. Kendall

The fruit—not fruits—of the Spirit springs from obedience. The fruit of the Spirit is a requirement of all believers. Whereas the gifts of the Spirit are sovereignly bestowed (1 Cor. 12:11, 18) and are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29), the fruit of the Spirit is what you and I are obliged to pursue.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the effect, or result, of living the Christian life in obedience. It is what flows in those who resist the “works of the flesh,” namely, “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies” (Gal. 5:19–21). Those who give in to the works of the flesh forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of God (v. 21).

To put it another way, the genuinely saved person has no choice; the fruit of the Spirit is a command. 

Love is listed first. Why? Possibly because showing agape love will likely incorporate all the other qualities on Paul’s list. Three Greek words are translated as love:

(1) agape is unselfish, self-giving love;
(2) eros is physical love;
(3) philia is brotherly love.

Galatians 5:22 uses agape love. If you truly experience this love, you will have joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We find the proof in 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul unpacks the meaning of agape love. Once you grasp 1 Corinthians 13, you will discover that everything Paul calls the “fruit of the Spirit” is beautifully woven into 1 Corinthians 13.

I must also state the two ways the fruit of the Spirit manifests:

1. Spontaneously: Strange as it may seem, sometimes love just erupts! Like a geyser that shoots out water without provocation or cause, love sometimes flows with no effort on our part. It comes easily. The Holy Spirit does this. 

2. By an act of the will: On the other hand, the same person who experienced this love spontaneously yesterday struggles today. What do you do? You intentionally force yourself to keep no record of wrongs; you refuse to point the finger. You work at it. But because you have the Holy Spirit, you can do it. Yesterday it was easy. Today it is not easy.

Why? I believe that sometimes the Holy Spirit is simply waiting for us to make an effort. Either way, the result is to demonstrate to others that you truly show the fruit of the Spirit.

The kind of love listed in the fruit of the Spirit is a self-sacrificing, unselfish love. It is the love that lies behind God sending His Son into the world (John 3:16). It is perhaps best summed up in 1 Corinthians 13:5: love “keeps no record of wrongs” (NIV). Why do we keep records? To prove we have paid our bills. Why keep a record of wrongs? To bring up the past, to point the finger, to make a person feel guilty. When you experience agape love, you do not bring up one’s guilty past. Just as God forgives, you forgive. It is the first fruit Paul mentions. The other qualities follow love, according to Paul. 

There are also occasions when the fruit-of-the-Spirit love is manifested apart from the act of forgiveness. There are times when the dove comes down on us spontaneously without our consciously having to forgive by an act of the will. God may choose to show up when we are not even praying! He is both sovereign and gracious. The love that flows from the Spirit can even be experienced by refusing to give in to any temptation of the flesh—including sexual temptation, greed, or jealousy. The same fruit of the Spirit will often manifest through our dignifying a trial. In other words, instead of complaining and grumbling when a trial suddenly comes, we submit to it—as it “falleth from above,” as the hymn “Like a River Glorious” puts it. 

The same can be said for other fruit of the Spirit. Whereas consciously forgiving others will result in love, joy, and peace, we may nonetheless discover such fruit of the Spirit because our lives are being directed by a sovereign, gracious God. 

Personal Reflection

Have you experienced spontaneous love for someone, where love simply erupts in your heart without explanation? Take some time to remember this moment. Ask the Lord what He was teaching you about His nature and His kingdom through this experience.

Have you experienced the deliberate choice to love someone when it’s not easy to do so? Take some time to remember the moment you chose to love. Ask the Lord what He was teaching you about the fruit of the Spirit and His intentional love.

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