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The Fruit of the Spirit…. Love

Fruit is the expression of the design and deposit of a living creation….

Paul used the metaphor of fruit writing to followers of Jesus Christ living in ancient Galatia, a region that is now known as Asia Minor, or Central Turkey.

In communicating with them he found they had reduced their new Spirit-born life to an assemblage of principles, regulations and rituals.

No life was coming from their God-connection, only duty and obligatory activity. In fact, the poster that was framed on the wall of every local congregation said, “do not eat the cookies” instead of the founder’s decree to “love God, love yourself, love people.”

What then, was at the center of attention for the Christ-followers here in Galatia? Cookies! What did the Christ-followers want?? Cookies!!

So, Paul writes this teaching letter and says to them, “Hey, look at the obvious here. You are missing the forest because the trees are getting in your way.” “Yes, there are things that are obviously wrong, but do you need someone to tell you that all the time?? Is that what our coming together has come to – a reminder of what not to do?”

Galatians 5.19

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

What is the result of living that way???? For you? For others?

Instead of living from the center of your cravings and desires, re-center your life from the inside – your God-induced spirit reality.

You are RE-CREATED… You are not an INDEPENDENT being

One of my new favorite theologians (I have him on my I-Pod) is Miroslav Volf.

Volf reminds me of this fact when he writes,

“Faith tells us that we do not exist simply to live out our three-score and ten years without pain, with ease and enjoyment, to accumulate possessions, power, or knowledge, to receive accolades and enlarge our egos. How empty such life would be!

Faith is an expression of the fact we exist so that the infinite God can dwell in us and work through us for the well-being of the whole creation. If faith denies anything, it denies that we are tiny, self-obsessed specks of matter who are reaching for the stars but remain hopelessly nailed to the earth stuck in our own self-absorption. Faith is the first part of the bridge from self-centeredness to generosity.”

And generosity, as expressed in God, is love.

We know the verse…

“For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son…”

God expressed Himself in Jesus. The fruit of God is Jesus.

John 1.1,14

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God and the Word was God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness/grace and truth. He was the expression of His Father.

And we see written about us…. “As He is, so are we in this world.

The fruit of a recreated human spirit is….. LOVE, just as God is love.

The expression of a human occupied by God is an expression of the fact that, as Volf said, “we exist so that the infinite God can dwell in us and work through us for the well-being of the whole creation.”

It is why John wrote, in his letter to Christ-followers later in life-

1 John 4.7

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. 13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.

Today, take this question away with you….. Who can I be love to?? Where can I let who I am come out?

Another question is this… How can I ‘know’ God/love more this week? Find time to camp out with God’s love for you…. experience it.

Today, I leave you these questions and leave you with a challenge… Get a picture of you… write these words across it, as I have: “I exist so that the infinite God can live in me and work through me for the well-being of the whole creation.”

Then, live…. forget about what is obvious and live for that which is hidden….God is love, and as he is, so are you in this world.

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