Gal. 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.” Christians have something the world does not. We are fortunate to have been gifted with the Holy Spirit, and our lives should reflect that. The fruit of the spirits are nine essential qualities every Christian should not only have but put forth for those who are still living in darkness to see.
Now read Matt. 5:14 with Gal. 5:22-23 in mind; “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” What light do we need to let shine before us if not the fruits of the spirit? The world must see that we are different, not in a sad, mean, or self-serving way, but in a way that makes them desire to embrace the life we have. But that cannot be done if we are not Christ-like in our actions and do not display the qualities mentioned above.
The first of the “fruits” may well be the one in which all the others are wrapped up. In fact, it is the primary theme of the Bible and the essence of God. Yes, the world loves too, but their love is selfish in nature because it has man as its foundation and not the Almighty. Even if they hate Him and their love lacks the depth and sincerity of Godly love, it still has its beginnings in God. In fact, it is impossible to love without the influence of the Almighty, whether He is embraced or rejected. 1 John 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.“
Again, without God, we would be incapable of loving. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). You are only capable of love because God first loved you. When I think of worldly love versus Godly love, I think of the following. Worldly love is self-serving. Your love is returned as a gift for something given to you – it is inward-focused. It is an “I love you because you love me” kind of love.
On the other hand, Godly love is selfless and loves despite the recipients’ feelings. I have a saying, “My love for you is not dependent on yours for me. I don’t love you because you love me; I love you because God tells me to.” Godly love is outward-focused.
Now, the command for Christians is not only to love ourselves and those close to us but all people. 1 John 4:21, “And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” You cannot dare to call yourself a Christian and claim to love God if you do not love your brother. In fact, we should even love our enemies. I know it sounds hard, but it is a requirement to be called sons and daughters of the Most High God. Matt. 5:44, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
And we cannot leave this brief discussion on love without mentioning Matt. 22:37-39, “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” That neighbor, by the way, is not only the person who lives next to you. It is all the people in the world, despite their ethnicity, race, religion, sex, status, power, or any other variable. Our love should be like that of the Good Samaritan and not the priest of Levite in Luke 10:25-37. Worldly love only loves those close to the individual or those who can be used to further their agenda. Godly love places the interests of others before our own and glorifies Him through our actions.
If you want your light to shine before you, you must put on the fruits of the spirit and humbly display them to the world in a manner worthy of the title “Child of God.” The world needs God, and it needs His love, but without us showing them what they are missing, they have nothing to strive for. Lastly, love should permeate our every thought, word, and action. 1 Cor. 16:14, “Let all that you do be done in love.” “Amen.”