Saturday, Feb 11 2012. 8:47 am. Good morning. I trust you have been well since our last encounter. I have been great. I meant to write this post last week but I moved into a new apartment and I had no internet for some time. I’m really enjoying my new home, it’s very beautiful and quite homely, I guess because I’m living with my brother. God has been really good, if I started to count my blessings, it could take years. Anyhu, back to business.
To recap, I’ve been carrying out a study on The Fruit of The Spirit. First, we established (from the bible) what it means for a christian to “Bear fruit”. Now we’re going to go deeper into Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. As I wrote earlier, a tree does not bear fruit for itself, it does so for others and also to produce seed that will aid in reproduction. I once heard in a song that “…love isn’t love ’til you give it away…”. The qualities given in the above verse are to help govern our relations with others. The first quality of the Fruit of The Spirit given here is love.
As you may have guessed this takes us to 1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The perfect example of love is from God himself in John 3:16. In John 15:13 Jesus said ” Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” A while back I published a post titled “The Beginning”. It simply stated that the beginning of salvation/life (eternal life) is love. God’s love for mankind. Matthew 22 : 35 – 40 Then one of them, who was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him and saying, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said unto him, “`Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: `Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Here, Jesus emphasized love for God and love for others as The Great Commandments. In Luke’s account of this story, the lawyer proceeds to ask Jesus who your neighbor is. Jesus tells a parable that, in summary, shows that the entire human race is to be considered “Neighbor”.
I recently published a post titled Love. It was thanksgiving day and the underlying message was that I was thankful for the love in my life, which is evident in the people who love me. My friends. But my friends are just but a fraction of my neighbor. Seeing as neighbor is absolutely everyone, it must also involve my enemies, right? It’s easy to love people who love you back. Or even at least like you. But, someone who hates you? We all have those people in our lives. A sort of nemesis, that person who’s always against you. They make you angry, cause to fail in your endeavors, etc. I think we can all agree loving your enemy is quite hard to do, but, it’s possible. Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
In my opinion, if Jesus says to do something then, in the least, it can be done. Fortunately we can do nothing by our own strength and therefore it is upon us to surrender to God and let him give us the strength to do it. Looking at my life, I find myself, innumerable times, returning hate for hate. But Christ said that we should love even those who hate us, and pray for them. My prayer is that everyday, God will help me to love all people, as he does, even those who hate me. That I may be perfect as He is perfect.