Fruits of the Spirit – LOVE (Part I)

“I give you a new commandment; that you should love one another.  Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.  By this will all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]”  John 13:34-35 (AMP).

What if I were to suggest to you that love could remedy most of the world’s problems?  Before you dismiss this sentiment as nonsensical or too simplistic, think about it for a moment.  What would happen if every believer truly walked in love … the same, selfless, unconditional love that Jesus displayed?  I believe more souls would be saved and so many of the world’s problems could be solved if we all went out and represented Christ.  Oftentimes, we busy ourselves with trying to follow in Jesus’ steps.  I believe what is lacking in our pursuits to develop His character, however, is consideration of His stops.  No matter how people treated Him or behaved around Him, Jesus remained the same.  He did not live by His feelings.  He did not change based on His circumstances.

Leading up to and through His crucifixion, Jesus exemplified true love.  John 13:1-20 gives us the account of the last supper.  Even aware of His impending betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet as a teaching in humility.  With the unfathomable weight of His impending arrest and death, Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  There, He prayed not only for Himself, but also for His disciples and all of those who would one day be His disciples (us) (Matthew 26).  Knowing Judas had betrayed Him, Jesus still referred to him as His “friend” ( Matthew 26:50).  When Simon Peter severed the ear of a priest’s servant who was there to assist in His arrest, Jesus stopped to heal him. After suffering immeasurable humiliation and prolonged beatings, Jesus asked God to forgive all who were involved in His crucifixion as He hung dying on the cross (Luke 23:34).  In the midst of His crucifixion, Jesus also forgave one of the thieves who had earlier mocked Him (Luke 23:43).  I do not know about you, but reading through all of these accounts has me pausing to shamefully consider my own, selfish behavior and determining, with God’s help, to grow in my personal love walk.

A love walk does not come easily or without personal sacrifice.  Each time we choose to love someone, it will likely cost us things such as time, effort, or money.  Love is a choice.  It is something that we must decide to do on purpose.  Colossians 3:14 tells us we are to “put on love … .”  We cannot wait until we want to walk in love, as our flesh is inherently selfish.   No, we must “eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest] … I Corinthians 14:1 (AMP).

Displaying Christ-like love, when there is nothing in it for us, is the greatest and most effective way to do spiritual warfare.  “Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good” Romans 12:21 (AMP).

© 2016 by Kelli Hammond Mills.  All rights reserved.