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What’s Love Got to Do With It? – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

I think to many believer’s their Christian life appears unsuccessful and they become discouraged and disgruntled, and think that living the Christian life is a total impossibility.  However, the apostle Paul reveals for us in Galatians 5 that the key to the success of the Christian life is found in the fruit of the Spirit.  The interesting thing about the fruit of the Spirit is that it is the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus, the Holy Spirit desires to control and fill us so that we may be more like the Lord Jesus. That is the Priority, the Purpose, and the Principle of Spirit fruit; to make us more like Jesus.  It helps me to understand that the fruit of the Spirit is not 9 different fruits. The noun Paul uses is singular, not plural.  It is “fruit,”not “fruits.”  Thus, it is one fruit that is manifested in 9 different ways. You could say that it is one fruit with nine flavors.  These 9 qualities are divided into 3 categories.  There is Inward Fruit, which is described as “Love, Joy, and Peace.”  There is Outward Fruit, which is described as “Patience, Gentleness, and Goodness.” Then, there is Upward Fruit, which is described as “Faith, Meekness, and Temperance.”

Because today is Valentine’s day I want to share about the fruit of love.  Someone once said,”Love may not make the world go around; but, it will certainly make the trip worthwhile.”  All of the other fruit have love as their root.  Love is the basis of the other eight attributes listed.  Let’s examine the Lord Jesus discussion of the subject in Matthew 22, and observe 3 truths about the “love” that is the fruit of the Spirit. 

In Matthew 22, Jesus is facing the questions of those who knew nothing of genuine love.  And, He, in an attempt to avoid being backed into a corner outlines the direction of a sacred love.   Jesus outlines the commandment to love God.  It is something the Pharisees knew well, that is, he makes reference to the Mosaic Law.  In Deuteronomy 6:4 the command is given, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Again, in Deuteronomy 11: 13, we’re commanded, “I command you this day to love the Lord thy God, and to serve Him with all your heart and your soul.”

This comprised what is known as the ‘Shema.’ The Jews recited it twice a day. It was part of their daily lives. It represented a command to be followed.  A genuine love for God is deliberate and willing. It is a purposeful love.  It is an intentional love.  It is a committed love.  While His love for us is never in question, our love for Him is constantly on trial.  It is always being questioned and challenged.  Thus, a person who truly loves God with their whole being is one who trusts Him and obeys Him.  It is not how much of His love that I have, but rather how much of my love that He has. When God has my affection, He will have my possession.  When I love God, as I should love God, He will have all that is my heart, and all that is in my hand. 

Our first priority is to love God.  One who is Spirit-filled will automatically love God. The result of loving God will result in loving others.  My sacred love will become a shared love.  You see when I love God, loving others will be a priority.  It will be a matter of emphasis in my life.  Genuine love for my fellow man, like my love for God, will be purposeful and intentional.

Jesus spoke here of “AGAPE” love. That is the love that we are to share. That is the love that is to have a matter of emphasis in our lives.  That is the love we are to make a priority.  As difficult a task as it may be, Jesus says that we are to love each other with His love.  We are to love them unconditionally.  We are to love them as He loves them.  This love is to be emphasized in our lives.

This type of love is a matter of commitment. It is a choice to love others in this manner.  We must choose to love others in this fashion.  It loves regardless of the condition, or the cause.  It loves with no thought of what it might receive in return. We love others in the same light, and with the same love, as the Lord Jesus.

I think of the life of Dr. Paul Brand. Dr. Brand was a world-renowned leprosy specialist.  He was one of the most respected doctors in the world.  However, Dr. Brand left his established career in the United States and went to India to minister, and give treatment to those of that leper colony. He went to those to whom no one else wanted to minister.  He once was treating a young man, and during his examination of the man, he placed his hand on the man’s shoulder.  The man began to weep uncontrollably.  Dr. Brand asked the translator what he had done to upset the man.  And, the translator said, “he is crying because you put your hand on his shoulder.  Until you came here no one had touched him, and showed him love in years.”

The truth of the matter is that when we love Him, we love who He loves.  We will love the Up and Out, the In and Out, the Down and Out, and the Out and Out.  It will be emphasized, and it will be exercised.  A love such as this cannot be contained, it must be conducted.  It cannot be possessed without being practiced. It will not be discussed without being demonstrated. 

There is something that we can do to continue to make Ellijay and Gilmer County a wonderful place to live and raise our children.  Love our neighbor.  There is a way the world can be attracted to our churches and ultimately to our Lord, that is “by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.”  Rekindle your love for God and let His love, love others through you. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!