Over the course of the past eight days Ivy and Dovie have helped me in taking us on a journey through the fruit of the Spirit as Paul writes about it in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the Spirit called love is first on the list and it is the last one we will cover here. I've saved love for last because each of the other eight fruits of the Spirit can be understood as expressions of that one first listed, love.
In chapter 13 of his letter to the Corinthians Paul writes that “love is patient and kind, love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable and keeps no record of being wronged. Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.”
Like the other fruits of the Spirit, we are dependent upon God for us to be equipped to live this love every day.
Through prayer we open our hearts to being changed by the Spirit of God at work in us, and the more our hearts beat in tune with God’s heart, the more we are empowered to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives; that peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that is, in truth, an expression of God’s love for all that has life.
That's right, when God nurtures peace in your heart and in mine it is a special gift, and a special gift that's intended to be shared. When we work for peace, God's love is shared. When we share joy, God's love is shared. When we are patient with others, God's love is shared. When we are kind to others, God's love is shared. When we embody and recognize inherent goodness in others, God's love is shared. When we are faithful to the call that God has placed upon our lives, God's love is shared. When we hold others gently, God's love is shared. When we exhibit self-control so as not to bring harm to ourselves or others, God's love is shared.
Yes, as we seek to live into community with all that has life in Jesus’ name, Ivy, Dovie, all the people in our lives, and all living things both wild and domestic are dependent upon the change God can make in us.
After all, a changed heart = changes in living = a world impacted by God's love.
Expressing our desire that God would nurture these fruits of the Spirit in our lives for the sake of the love that God has for all that has life, let us pray:
Change the desires of my heart, loving God, so that it beats in tune with yours; and may the changes you're bringing about within me find expression in my living.