Good morning, Five Minute Families. Today we are closing out our series of the Fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23… “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.” Love is the first in the attributes list of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. And we know from 1 Corinthians 13:13 that the greatest of God’s gifts and attributes is love.
The world will tell us that “Love is love.” In Tina Turner’s song “What’s love got to do with it?” there is a line, “What’s love, but a second-hand emotion?” The world will tell us that we can easily fall into and out of love – that love is just a feeling. And, as ‘just a feeling’ it can be fleeting or it can last a lifetime, but either way, we don’t really have any control over it.
First, we must realize that love has numerous definitions, and as a communications person, defining my terms has long been a habit of mine. If we are defining the same word different ways and thus applying it in different ways, then miscommunication, confusion, and even falsehoods arise. The “love is love” statement is problematic for many reasons, but despite its common usage and application in society today, its circular reasoning doesn’t even begin to address the myriad meanings at play in the three simple words.
In Galatians 5 and in all of the verses we site today, love is defined as the Greek word “agape” or a part of speech derived from agape. Since love is used differently in Scripture, we made sure to restrict our conversation to this single definition in order to be clear about what God is, what He gives us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and how we can reflect love to others.
Let’s define agape. Britannica.com states that agape in the New Testament is “the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God. In Scripture, the transcendent agape love is the highest form of love and is contrasted with eros… and philia… The term necessarily extends to the love of one’s fellow humans, as the reciprocal love between God and humans is made manifest in one’s unselfish love of others.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-6 tells us that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”
Let’s break down those verses. We know that patience and kindness are attributes of the Holy Spirit.
Love does not envy or boast – 1 Corinthians 13:1 cautions us that even if we speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, we are but a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Love is not arrogant or rude – Ephesians 4:2 prompts us to couple love with all humility, gentleness, and patience in order to bear with one another in love.
Love does not insist on its own way – John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Love is not irritable or resentful – Luke 6:35 tells us to “love our enemies.”
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing – 1 Peter 4:8 reminds us that “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
Is your family behaving lovingly as we are told in 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all that you do be done in love.”
Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages helps families apply the concept of agape love to practical behaviors. Families need to regularly engage in
Speaking words of affirmation to one another,
Performing acts of service for one another,
Giving and receiving gifts with one another,
Spending quality time with one another, and
Appropriately touching one another with hugs, back rubs, hand holding, and more.
One of the websites I found talking about examples of the love languages Dr. Chapman discerned from biblical passages had the game “Love language bingo.” If your family needs to cultivate the attribute of love, try doing it in a fun and competitive way such as a game like love language bingo. No matter what area your family may need to work on, remember the Holy Spirit is indwelling us, waiting to guide us into deeper relationship with the Lord and one another.
Ask God to give you clarity on which fruit of the spirit your family may need to cultivate, and then let us know how it is going by emailing us or commenting on our Facebook page for Clear View Retreat. May God bless you and your family as you seek Him. And, as you love God and love your families. Be blessed!