This is the second post in our blog series by Karis Women on Galatians 5:22, check out the rest of the series here.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love… Galatians 5:22
I sat down to write this and the first thing that came to mind was the 90’s song What is Love? by Haddaway. Yeah, now you try and get that song out of your head! Culture has taught us a lot about love, right? …or has it? Even the lyrics of that song wonder what love really is, begging that the other party not hurt them by not returning their love. It sounds painful, yet many of us can identify with the sentiment at one point of our life or another. We could go on and on about the clichés sung about love in the popular music we listen to, but we should know that they don’t give a complete or even accurate picture of what love really is.
In Galatians 5, Paul is writing to the church in Galatia to tell them of the fruit that is produced when we are walking in the Spirit. In verses 16-17 Paul writes, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another.” When we find ourselves walking in stride with the Spirit and are following His leading, our lives produce a fruit that we cannot produce on our own. Our flesh is at odds with the Spirit, and in our own strivings we come up with immorality, impurity, idolatry, strife, jealousy, and fits of anger to name a few (vv. 19-21). We have to be living in the Spirit to produce real love.
If you’re anything like me, your next question is something along the lines of, “But, what does that look like?” “What are the practical ways to produce love in my life?” Well, let’s go back that song and see what the Bible has to say… what is love?
What is love?
Jesus is love. In 1 John, the Bible tells us that God is love (4:8), and in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, that Jesus is God (1:1). So, Jesus is love and is the perfect picture of what love is. When we look at the life of Jesus, we see a servant who puts the needs of others before his own. So many times in the Gospels, we see a picture of a busy Jesus going about his earthly ministry stopped by someone in the crowd. In Mark chapter 5 alone, we can see Jesus crossing the sea only to be met by a crowd wanting to hear him speak before Jairus, a leader of the synagogue, begs Jesus to heal his daughter. Jesus stopped what he was doing and went with him. As he’s walking to Jairus’ home to heal his daughter, a woman touches his robe believing that even a touch of Jesus’ garment would make her well. And that’s just in that chapter! Jesus welcomed the interruption as an opportunity to serve and encourage those who sought him.
How are you at seeing interruptions as opportunities to serve and encourage? When your co-worker interrupts you in the middle of a project? Or your kid wakes up early from their nap? Or even when a friend texts to say they’re having a bad day and want to hang out? In those moments when your plans are already made and the interruption comes, do you choose to love or do you think of what you still have to get done?
John 15:13 says Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. When was the last time you laid down your plans, your to-do list, your busy-ness for a friend?
Jesus is not just an example of love. He’s not just the picture of a good role model to follow. Jesus is love. It is through Him that we serve and encourage those around us in the midst of our interruptions. It is by His grace that we get up in the middle of the night, night after night, to calm a screaming child. It is by His strength that we pursue after a friend who has wronged us, even though we are hurt. And it is only in abiding in Him that we are able to counsel a friend who is dealing with loss. We cannot love at all outside of Jesus.
Jesus is love. That means that He loves you. Let His love propel you on to love others. Because we love from His love, not for it.