In my devotionals this morning, I found myself in the book of 1 John, also known as “The Book of Love.” This was fitting, as Sunday’s message was all about the fruit of the Spirit. After explaining what the fruit of the Spirit is NOT, Paul starkly contrasts in Galatians 5:22 with: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love…”
According to Pastor Jason, love is the key to the rest of the attributes. It’s what unlocks joy, peace, patience, kindness, and so on. After reading 1 John, I wholeheartedly agree. If we miss “love” in our Christian walk, John tells us that we’re not actually Christians at all. He says that if we miss love, we miss GOD! That is a scary thought for sure, but John doesn’t shy away from it. In fact, he repeats this truth over and over throughout the 5 chapters of his letter.
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8).
When I look at that statement, the inner legalist that dwells in my flesh starts to panic. That legalist likes to hold myself and others to standards. Its love is entirely dependent on circumstances and how people treat ME. It desires what’s best for ME, not others around me. It pulls away and cuts people off when they’re not serving ME. And it likes to pretend that such behavior is perfectly normal for someone who professes to know God.
The Holy Spirit, Who also dwells within, reminds me of our perfect example of love. Pastor Jason said it multiple times as well; we don’t focus on the fruits, but on Jesus. “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16).
If we have believed in Jesus Christ, we know Love already. As we make daily choices to remember and remain in that love, we abide in the union that took place at the moment of faith. As I remember His love towards me, I realize that there is no reason to hold it back from those around me. Looking unto Him, I can’t help but love His people—the family that Christ bought by His own blood.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God…” (1 John 3:1).
What causes you to behold? What causes you to gaze in wonder at the fact that you belong to Him, that you’re His family? Whatever stirs up your affections for Him, make it a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment practice. Abide in His love. Rest in it. Revel in it. Enjoy it abundantly. The world desperately needs you to, because fake fruit is worthless. Let the people around you taste and see that the Lord is good.
This week, I invite you to consider: How has God loved you? How did He show it to you 8 years ago, 6 months ago, last week, or this morning? Then, “walk in the same way in which He walked” (1 John 2:5b-6).
He didn’t lay Himself down so that we wouldn’t have to, but so that we would have an example to follow. Let’s believe and behold, remember and remain in the God of Love.