I just want to challenge you to ask yourself how many times you have used the word love today. I’ll be honest with you today I have probably already used love at least 5 times and it is not even noon. “I love McDonald’s hashbrowns.” “I love that the orthodontist told me that I don't have to wear rubber bands anymore.” “I love the christmas movie Annabelle’s Wish.” I’m not even exaggerating—these are all things that have come out of my mouth this morning. But I feel like the ‘love’ that Paul is talking about in Galatians is slightly different. “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Love in this context comes from the root greek word “agape.” Agape is defined as "the highest form of love; the love of God for man and of man for God." Agape embraces a universal, unconditional love that serves regardless of circumstances. My love for McDonald’s isn't a love that is universal. It is just a love that brings instant satisfaction. When I say that I love my orthodontist it is solely based on the condition that he told me good news about my braces. See the difference?
the most important commandment
In Mark 12, Jesus is asked “of all the commandments, which one is the most important?” Jesus answers that the most important commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength” and then He goes on to say that “the second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus actually tells us which commandment is most important to Him. That isn't what I would consider a Sunday school answer. To be honest If I just heard that someone asked Jesus which commandment is most important I would automatically assume that He would respond “all of them.” But He doesn’t. While yes, all of the commandments are important to Him—He flat out tells us the most important two to Him. 1. To love Him 2. To love others as we love ourself.
Ultimately the Holy Spirit is the one who develops each part of the fruit in us, but we can definitely take action to participate in practicing them. Specifically, love—how do we practice walking in God’s love? I think that is going to look a lot of different ways, to be completely honest. Each of us are different, and we value different things. But, that is the fun part of this. To love God, we have to know God. Think about your best friend. Before you loved them, you had to get to know them—that means talking to them, listening to them and just simply spending time with them. Same thing with God. To love God first, we have to know Him. That means scheduling out time for Him even when it is early in the morning, or praying on your way to class or opening up the bible instead of turning on Netflix. And then we are told to love our neighbors as we love ourself. Our neighbors are our family, hall-mates, the people in class that can be frustrating and even roommates who can annoy us at times. I think sometimes it’s easy to think that our neighbors are the ones we love or the ones who love us easily. I don't think loving people is a always going to be easy but I do think that as we start to walk in love it will become more natural for us to love all our neighbors.
Lord, I pray that we would have eyes like yours. That we would ask you to come and show us how to love like you do. We invite you to come and invade the relationships that its hard to love.