“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” [Galatians 5:22-23 AMP]
“Delightfully loved ones, if he loved us with such tremendous love, then “loving one another” should be our way of life! No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God makes his permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in him, and his love is brought to its full expression in us. And he has given us his Spirit within us so that we can have the assurance that he lives in us and that we live in him.” [1 John 4:11-13 TPT]
Can you remember a time that you felt really loved? Like really, really loved? Try and think of a time when someone did something for you that actually didn’t make sense—a time when you didn’t do anything to deserve what you were given. I have a few of those landmark moments in my life that I think about a lot. One in particular came to mind as I sat down to write this blog.
During my junior year of high school, my older brother was studying abroad in England, which meant that his white Dodge Ram truck was always sitting in our driveway. My good friends owned a farm, and we went out there several times a week to put hay out for the cows. For whatever reason, I decided to volunteer my brother’s super nice truck for a trip to the farm one day. We drove out there, and for a while it was going great. We fit all the hay we needed in the bed of the truck, and we were making our rounds. They also had four or five horses on this farm. Naturally, when we parked the truck for a few minutes, these horses surrounded it because they knew we had food. I thought it was sweet! I was also slightly nervous because, you know, horses are quite large and when you’re walking around them you are significantly shorter than them. So then, in an unfortunate moment, some car backfired in the neighborhood behind the farm. Those horses freaked out and sure enough, one of them ends up kicking off one of my brother’s rearview mirrors. I don’t know how it happened, but this thing was hanging on by a wire. This truck that I was definitely not supposed to be driving at all was now damaged, and I did not know how to fix it. I was horrified.
So we drive the truck back to an auto shop in town, and this worker told us that there’s not a lot we can do but that we could basically try to glue it back on and replace the glass that had shattered. So I buy a replacement mirror, right? We go back to my friend’s house, and her dad comes out. I honestly expected him to shake his head and wish us luck and leave. But instead he decided to help me. At this point it’s 11pm, and he has to get up at 4am to go to work. But he decides to stay with me while I try to clean up the mess that I made. Long story short, he stayed with me for more than two hours. He took the door off the truck and essentially deconstructed the whole thing and put it back together. When he was done, you couldn’t even tell that anything had happened. I was in awe. He gained nothing by helping me, and I gained a lot. More than anything, I gained a more realistic understanding of what it looks like to be a Christian outside of church on Sunday. I experienced someone act out of love, and I encountered the Holy Spirit that day. He didn’t even have to say anything about God for me to know that was the source of his willingness to help. This forty-something year old dad was acting like Jesus, and I walked away from that experience different. And you know what? It was probably a completely normal day for him.
That is what I think it looks like to act out of love everyday. I love the Amplified version of that verse in Galatians because it describes all of those qualities as a result of the Holy Spirit. It makes sense that when we have the Holy Spirit in us, everyday things that we do will impact the people around us. In the same way, we can expect to receive love and be changed by the people around us. Those actions impact people because of their source. It could be something huge, something small, or anything in between. We never know the full extent of how our actions affect others. So why wouldn’t we take a risk and do something that might inconvenience us for a moment? It could mean someone experiencing that much more of the Lord. 1 John 4:12 talks about how love is brought to full expression when we love others out of receiving the love of God. I think that might be the most crucial thing to remember as we continue to learn about the Fruits of the Spirit. We know who we are and what we carry because of what we’ve been given. People experience the love of God when we go out of our way to love them like He loved us. That’s so FUN!
Lord, I ask that You take the ordinary moments of my day and use them for the extraordinary. I ask that You use me as a vessel of Your love, and that when people speak to me, that they know You better. Thank you for placing people in my life that show me more of who You are. Amen.