The first fruit of the Spirit is…… LOVE! I have often heard people say that the reason love is first on the list, is because without it, none of the others would be possible. Love is the foundation on which all of the other fruits of the Spirit are built on. Now before you start getting all starry-eyed and thinking romantic thoughts, let me explain. This is a different kind of love. An Agape love. In order to understand this, we should probably start at the beginning.
In the English language, the word love is used so broadly. You could tell someone how much you love a certain food, you can say how you love your sister, and you could say that you love your spouse. Obviously, we all know that even though we are using the same word, it can mean extremely different things. I really hope that you love your husband or wife more than food. 🙂 Now, I will do my best to explain this without just confusing you….. Or myself…. Here we go.
There are four main categories that love usually falls into. I’m going to use the four Greek words to try to explain it better. (Key word *try*)
Eros – Eros is what we would consider “romantic love.” As an example, the love that you feel for your husband or wife.
Storge – Storge explains a fondness and affection. It’s a love that comes naturally. This is the way you feel about your parents, siblings, pets, etc.
Philos – Philos is the love between friends. This explains the non-romantic love that friends have for each other. This kind of love is considered similar to Agape love, but there is still a very clear distinction.
Agape – Agape love is described as the highest, and noblest form of love. Agape love is not just a feeling, it is a choice. Agape love is pure and unconditional.
Before we get any farther into this study, I want to say that on our own, we can accomplish nothing. Without God, our lives would be a mess. We cannot expect to grow the fruits of the Spirit in our life by our own power. Without Him, we don’t have any!
Just like all of the other fruits of the Spirit, we can’t produce the type of Agape love that God desires for us to have, without Him! This love isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice. It’s a choice to put others needs first, to be a servant, to sacrifice, to be kind and considerate, and to expect nothing in return. When you love someone with an agape love, you accept who that person is, regardless of their faults and shortcomings.There are so many different ways to demonstrate the Agape love that God has given us. I’m sure you can think of many more.
1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
God loved us long before we loved Him. Agape love starts with loving God more than anything else and putting him first in our lives.
Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
When we love God with all of our heart, soul, and might, we will naturally begin to love others as well.
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
John 13:34,35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 Thessalonians 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
It really is as simple as that! If we really loved others like we do ourselves, there would be a lot less strife and contention in this world.
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Agape love is selfless and unconditional. We will often talk about how much we love someone, but if we really stop and think about it, do we love them so much that we would be willing to sacrifice our own lives? That is the ultimate sacrifice. And that’s exactly what Christ did for us! That’s so amazing to think about!