Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to Love

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.

For the next several weeks, the topic at Kingdom Bloggers centers on the fruits of the spirit, listed above in the scripture from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Galatians.
Love is the first and most important of the fruit we will produce as followers of Christ (1 Cor. 13:13). For an unparalleled example of love, we can look at the life of Jesus--one of complete self-sacrifice, patience for and acceptance of others (especially for the very flawed disciples), devotion to His Father in Heaven. 
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
There is a reason the scripture above is read aloud at many wedding ceremonies, and it is found in those three words in verse 8: “Love never fails.” Failure in love happens every day. True love is not the love of man. That is evident in the everyday selfishness we see--and participate in.
Marriages would survive at an astounding rate if the true love described in 1 Corinthians 13 was practiced on a daily basis. But marriage can be fertile ground for both sacrificial love and selfishness. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, reminds them that they are a free people, but that they are not to use that freedom to hurt, abuse, or hate: to do so, is to live a live of slavery all over again. Laying aside one’s right to indulge oneself, is the sign of true love and a free life.
To produce that kind of love is impossible in one’s own strength. That is why God gives us His Spirit--to allow Him to plant, root and blossom this luscious fruit of love that can quench the fire of hatred, heal wounds, grow a child, mend a broken heart, seal a rift, change a life.
When we hear the love scriptures read at a wedding, let’s pray that love, and all of the fruits of the spirit, is planted and nurtured in the lives of the couple--that God’s love would allow them to live as free people who love each other freely and selflessly. And watch the divorce rate plummet.

1 comment:

Linda Maynard said...

I have often thought about the Wedding Ceremony and Celebrations that take place, with the hope of love in the air. I don't think many couples feel that they will fail...but what happens?
As you mentioned...a myriad of things take over and as the saying goes "when the rubber meets the road", the reality of conflict and sacrifice just blows couples over.
I have a friend who says that she cries at weddings and not for the reason a lot of people do...for the sentimentality of the day. She says she cries, because she knows, the couple has no clue, as to what is ahead.
I had a young woman in my church ask what I could attest to, that made such a long marriage, a success.
I answered..." You just hang in there"
I later thought..." Now that wasn't a bit profound. But then when I thought about it some more, I thought...no, it is truth...you hang in there when it is good and you stay when things get bad.
For myself and my husband...commitment means something. It i so sad to say that no everyone feels that way.
Great post Kerry.