Fresh Fruit

Part 1: Love

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In our new series, we are diving into how to live as followers of Jesus. Through Jesus, we have the Spirit of God in us. The Fruit of the Spirit reveals our faith. The world tries to sell us a cheap imitation of the life God has for us. The world offers lust, happiness, power, and position. Yet, God calls us to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. God wants us to have a great life, so I pray we grow deep in Christ and live out His will. This is where life makes sense and where we truly come alive! Is your fruit fresh? Are you demonstrating the Fruit of the Spirit? Let’s start with love.

How to Identify a Christ Follower

Do you think you could recognize a trustworthy babysitter when you meet one? You couldn’t know for sure just by looking at them, because there are good people of all kinds of nationalities, body types, and fashion tastes. But what about if you had a quick, everyday conversation with them? Maybe you’d start to have a better idea, but even if they said all the right things, how many times have you been reminded by life that talk is cheap

Chances are, you’d probably search for better evidence than stereotypes and chitchat that they’re trustworthy. But what if you spent some time with them, and saw how they lived and how they treated others? This is why most people go to family members and close friends first: they have seen that person’s track record! And it’s the same situation when we seek out a new doctor, teacher, employee, or anyone else who will have a profound impact on our lives. 

You’ve heard of a product testimony, now think about a Christian testimony. As a church, we are all ambassadors of Christ. Jesus is someone we want others to put their faith and trust in, because we want them to know their Savior! But just like with the babysitter example, actions are louder than words. That’s not to say that written and spoken testimony stories aren’t powerful — they absolutely are. But there are many non-believers in the world who sadly cite the way a Christian has treated them as the reason they have rejected God. 

We’re all sinners, and that’s part of what we should explain to our unbelieving friends. Someone is bound to terribly misrepresent Jesus at some point in our lives. But God’s plan was not for us to spend all our time apologizing and feeling hopeless for our sinful nature; He wants to transform us with the Holy Spirit, which dwells in us. Some people will tune out the Gospel message, but no one can ignore the radiance of someone living by the Spirit. This is how you identify a Christ follower, and more importantly, a way to focus on living out your own testimony: ask yourself if you are bearing the fruit of the Spirit! The tree is known by its fruit. This week we’ll discuss the fruit of love. 

What Love Isn’t

The world tries to sell us a cheap imitation of love, which is lust. They might use the word love, but really mean lust. And lust doesn’t just apply to sex; lust means the uncontrolled desire for something right now. Lust is a feeling that comes and goes based solely on what we feel will make us happy. It has more to do with the person who is lusting than the person or thing he’s lusting over. And lust is conditional, meaning it doesn’t last when circumstances change, and people will just find something new to lust over. 

So, while you might not hear pop culture throwing this word around a lot, it is hiding behind worldly ideas of love. You can probably think of many inappropriate “love songs.” Then there’s the phrase love is love, which aims to undermine God’s design for marriage. And even though humans have no issue idolizing themselves to begin with, few celebrities seem concerned that the recent push for self-love might go awry. 

Because the worldly idea of love is so loud in our ears, we need to make sure to check it against the Biblical definition. Especially for kids, these mixed-messages can be confusing! So, what is love?

What Love Is

The first fruit, and the most important, is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 contains a well-known definition. Read it if you’d like, and today, we’ll explore some other verses about love.

Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

If you’re looking to spread the Gospel, living a life of love is important. Why? Because God is love; He is the source of love. And Jesus showed us this love in His sacrifice for our sake. True love is the mark of someone who knows God!

Agape is the Greek word for love in the verses which list the fruit of the spirit. Agape is Godly love: it’s more than an emotion, it’s unconditional, and it’s a commitment. Jesus lived these things out for us. If His love were only an emotion, it would have come and went throughout His life. If it were conditional, He would not have healed and saved those who sinned against God. And the fact he allowed himself to be crucified speaks to his commitment. 

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us His Spirit. — 1 John 4:12-13

Love like that is hard. Probably too hard for you and I to choose. But because Christians have the gift of the Holy Spirit living in us, we have hope to live this Agape love out in our own lives, through the help He provides. Therefore, let’s pray that the Spirit will lead us continually in love. Instead of chasing feelings, chase God, and love will follow. 


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