GROWING IN: LOVE
Pastor Linda Seidler
When you say yes to following Jesus, you also say yes to receiving one of the greatest gifts that God could ever give you, the fruit of the Spirit. This 'fruit’ is a combination of nine, beautiful attributes that God wants to grow inside of you throughout your lifetime, starting first with the attribute of love. It’s no accident that love is listed as the first fruit of the Spirit. Love is our basic foundation and growing stronger in love is necessary before we can ever fully display the other eight.
The fruit of love is the essence of your character as a follower of Jesus. In John 13:34-35, Jesus tells us, “I am giving you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Because God is love (1 John 4:16), he generously pours his love into you so that you can then share that love like he does…willingly and generously. Notice the word, willingly. You have to make the choice to willingly display God’s love to others.
The fruit of love is not a feeling. The fruit of love is an action. As a Jesus follower, this love is what sets us apart from the world.
This love has been placed inside of you and me so that we can extend it as freely as it was extended to us.
But let’s be honest, loving others is not always easy. In fact, it can be down-right hard! On those days when you feel like you can’t love that unlovable person, remind yourself that you have God-given, supernatural love, and that kind of love gives you the ability to do things that you could have never done before.
It will enable you to fully forgive the one who hurt your heart so deeply. It will enable you to have patience with the one who repeatedly gets on your last nerve, and it will also enable you to be kind to the one who is cold and mean-hearted.
Because of the fruit of love, you are capable of loving the exact way that God has loved you.
Remind yourself on days when loving others is tough, that God has blessed you with an unlimited supply of love.
So woman of God, you can either decide to bless others and freely release this fruit of love, or you can harbor resentment and release the root of anger, judgment, bitterness or unforgiveness.
What I’ve learned over the years is that loving the way God loves will always be a choice but a choice I am capable of making. And you are too. You have the power to love others no matter what the circumstance or situation.
You just have to believe it, apply it and continue to allow the fruit of love to grow and flourish inside of you so that you can give to others this same love that God has given to you.