A Year of Fruit
How does your life benefit from love? How is it better as a result? Just take a moment and reflect on those 2 questions.
I am very grateful to have had a life filled with love. I have two very loving parents who have shown me love all my life and sacrificed for me in so many ways. I have a loving husband who fills my life with joy and laughter; he is one of my best gifts in life.
I have also been blessed with wonderful friends. When a friend shows me love, it feels like such generosity! When I moved from Hampton to Gainesville, my best friend took a vacation day to help me move. She used time that could have been spent relaxing to work and sweat moving heavy boxes and furniture on my behalf. She helped clean the parsonage I was leaving and the one I was moving into.
At another time in life, a close friend managed my home and finances while I lived and worked in another state for the summer. Friends have cooked me yummy food, checked on me when I was sick, prayed for me in good seasons and bad, and held me as I cried.
Love is pretty special and it carries us through life. It’s generosity unexpected. It welcomes us in and accepts us as we are, warts and all. And regardless of who it comes from, it lifts our spirits, gives us hope and helps us to persevere.
But the best love of all is the love of God. The Greek word used for “love” in Galatians 5:22 is agape. We probably understand this simply as “God’s love”, but more specifically it is defined as “unconquerable benevolence.”1 It is a love that continues in goodness, even if insulted, rejected, or humiliated; it never fails. Theologian William Barclay say it like this: “It describes the deliberate effort- which we can make only with the help of God- never to seek anything but the best even for those who seek the worst for us”2. Christ Jesus sets the example for us in this type of love…caring for us beyond himself. Putting our lives before his own. We are the focus of God’s love, and he continues to give it to us even when we are devoted to other things. His love is amazing.
As we ponder Love, and how that fruit is at work in our lives, consider the questions below:
Questions for Reflection
-Who in your life do you need to give more love?
-How does God’s love motivate us to love others?
-Recognizing that love is not based on feelings, what are some practical ways you can show this fruit to those you find particularly difficult?
-Whose life can you change by loving them with God’s love?
God, you do all things well. Your love is perfect and overwhelming. Help us to grow in our love towards others. That how we love our families, friends, coworkers, neighbors, strangers, enemies, … might look like Your love. That it would be generous and kind. That it might be sacrificial. That it might be a blessing to those around us. Help us to encourage one another by our love.
For the glory of your name, Amen.
Barclay, William. The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976) 50.