“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him (Jesus) to the test, saying ‘Teacher what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” Luke 10:25-28
I know we already had a whole month on the topic of love (February), but I still felt that love should be the first virtue I chose to discuss as one of the fruits of the spirit. Why? Well, it does come first in the list in Galatians; and in the verses above Jesus affirms that love is the overriding principle in the Law. In the 13th Chapter of 1 Corinthians, the apostle, Paul, tells us that love is the greatest spiritual gift, and without it all our good deeds are meaningless. And in the third chapter of Colossians we find another listing of Christian virtues after which Paul tells us:
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14
So it seems pretty obvious. If we truly love, the other qualities will fall naturally into place. When we genuinely love someone we are joyful and we can live peacefully with them. Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness characterize loving relationships. Love leads us to control the impulses that cause hurt and misunderstanding.
So if you want to cultivate the fruit of the spirit love first. Err on the side of love. Let love inform your actions.
And remember God loves you and so do I!