But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
The fruit of the Spirit is the supernatural outcome of being filled with the Spirit and is the living proof that the Spirit of God dwells in us. We know He is alive in us when we see this fruit in our lives happen in such a way that surprises even us—when we have joy in a difficult trial, when we have peace in a heart-breaking decision, when we love where it’s difficult, when we show kindness in the chaos.
The first fruit of the Spirit is love. To clarify, there are three different types of love referred to in scripture—eros love is the intimate love between a man and a wife; phileo love is the type of love you have for a friend; and agape love is sacrificial love.
Agape love is the type of love referred to in this passage. It’s the kind of love that sacrifices our own needs and wants and puts others before ourselves. It’s the kind of love that says no to our comforts and our securities so that others may feel comforted and secure. It’s the kind of love that forgives minor annoyances and deep wounds. It’s the kind of love that lets go of our prideful expectations of how others should behave or respond, and accepts people where they’re at. It’s the kind of love that lays down our judgment of others, and sees everyone as a child whom God loves deeply. It’s the kind of love that chooses humility instead of proving a point, winning an argument, or defending when wrongly accused. It’s the kind of love that celebrates others’ victories and empathizes with others’ trials, forgetting our own. It’s the kind of love that chooses to serve others despite the trials in our own lives. It’s the kind of love that is impossible without the intervention of the Holy Spirit.
Have you ever taken the time to ponder your love for your spouse? What exactly does it mean when you say, “I love you”? Typically, when we say these three little words to someone, it’s in response to how they make us feel. For example, our husband loads the dishwasher or brings us a gift, and we respond with, “aw, I love you!” But in these moments, we are essentially saying “I love how you make me feel.” The focus is on me, not on you.
Agape love is different—it’s when we choose to say “I love you before me.” Agape love is when we have to do something really hard, or something we really don’t want to do, for the benefit of the other person alone. Agape love is when we bite our tongue rather than respond to a snarky comment our husband makes, agape love is taking care of the dishes without grumbling that we’re always the one to do them. Agape love is making a hard decision about our children because we know that it’s right—even though they may temporarily hate us. Agape love is responding in kindness when our spouse or child acts in a selfish way.
Remember, we witness to others about the love of Jesus in the way we act. We are told in scripture they will know us by our love. We are to be the most loving people that the people in our lives know. Would your spouse consider you to be the most loving person they know? How can you change that today? What would they consider to be the most loving thing you could do for them? That’s where we need to get to work.
Where we fail to demonstrate the sacrificial love that God calls us to show our spouses, we need to get on your knees and ask for forgiveness, then we need to ask the Spirit to fill us with the kind of love that places their needs before our own. This kind of love doesn’t come naturally for us, but this is how we do the work of the Kingdom, this is how we bring people to Christ – we love as He loves.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗