This week, I’m starting a series on the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. I chose this verse because as moms, I’m pretty sure we all want to be everything in that scripture. Loving, joyful, patient, kind. But it’s hard. We get frustrated, impatient, lose our tempers. We get overwhelmed with the daily burdens of life.
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
I wanted to do a deeper dive on this verse to help me (and hopefully those of you reading this) to connect with and understand how we can grow in these areas.
First and foremost, this is the fruit of the SPIRIT – not the fruit of good human conduct or the fruit of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. This fruit comes from God, not from our own selves. We can see in verses 19-21 what the fruit of the flesh is. Things like impurity and debauchery; idolatry and hatred; jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, and so on. When we live like this, we show that we are not part of God’s Kingdom (verse 21).
How do we get this Spirit and its fruit?
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”Acts 2:38-39
God’s forgiveness and His Spirit are a gift to us – and to open that gift, God tells us to repent and be baptized.
What does love mean?
The word used for love here is “agape.” Agape means a “loving temper of mind” (Pulpit). This kind of love occurs regardless of merit. This is a love of decision – a matter of the mind rather than of the heart since it chooses to love the undeserving (Guzik).
What Love IS:
Anything that Jesus is. Read the Gospels and see how Jesus interacts with people. It might surprise you. He touched the untouchable. He spoke the truth – sometimes to the point that I think today we might consider him “rude” or even “unloving!”
1 Corinthians 13 has a great list of what love is:
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.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
A friend of mine once said that because God is love (1 John 4:8), we can take this verse and transform it to read like this: God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud…He keeps no record of wrongs…God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
This is so beautiful! And this is God’s true nature. This, mamas, is what we’re striving to reflect to our children. Again, not by our own might, but by HIS power and Spirit working within us.
Sometimes it helps me to put myself in this verse: Mama is patient. Mama is kind. And so on. Not because I am these things in my own nature, but because God’s Spirit is living and working inside of me, I can hope to be transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Love means serving and praying for those who mistreat you. True love means loving those who don’t – or can’t – love you (Luke 6:27-32).
The evidence of God’s love for us is Jesus: the fact that God gave up His precious and beloved Son so that we could have Life. Love means sacrificing even the most important things for those around you. Love means holding nothing back.
What Love is NOT:
There is no evidence in the Scriptures that love is an emotion or feeling. From everything we see in the Bible, love is service (Galatians 5:13). Love is laying down your life for another (John 13:34). It is a reflection of God (1 John 4:12). It’s considering others better than ourselves (Philippians 2, Romans 12:9-10).
Love does not equal a lack of discipline. The Lord disciplines those He LOVES (Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6).
Love does not mean we hold back speaking the truth when it is needed (Ephesians 4:15).
Love does not mean giving our child anything and everything they want. Praise God that He doesn’t answer our every whim!
When we look at the verses just before the fruit of the Spirit, we can see that the works of the flesh are opposed to the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-21).
David Guzik notes that, “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, and lewdness are counterfeits of love among people. Idolatry and sorcery are counterfeits of love to God. Hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy,and murders are all opposites of love. Drunkenness and revelries are sad attempts to fill the void only love can fill.”
Where does love come from?
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.1 Timothy 1:5
Love comes from God (1 John 4:7), a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith, as we see in the verse above.
We are purified by obeying God – there is a purification or cleansing process that happens when we listen to God and implement his commands in our lives. Our hearts need to be purified in order to love. This purification leads to sincere love, deep love, love that comes from the heart (1 Peter 1:22, 1 Thessalonians 4:9).
Why and how do we love?
Because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19). When we’re having difficulty loving others, this probably means we’re not remembering what Jesus has done for us. What God has sacrificed for us.
Practically speaking, for me love means that I am patient with my son when he is whining and frustrated. It means that I show him affection and forgiveness even when he doesn’t “deserve” it. I don’t take personal offense when he pushes me away or treats me poorly. It means that I am not easily annoyed or easily frustrated with him. I don’t keep a record of his past wrongs against me.
Maybe you’re reading this and feeling a tad overwhelmed. How can I possibly DO all of this?! Here’s the good news, mama: the only thing required of you right now is to allow God to work in your life. Invite Him into your home, your marriage, your family life, your work, your relationships. Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit so that you can reflect Him.
Start with prayer. Reflect on Jesus’s sacrifice. Read about Him.
In order to truly change the trajectory of our lives, we have to begin somewhere. Today, you’ve decided to begin by reading this post, by taking in His Word. I’m praying for you, mama, that together we can move closer to God and reflect Him to our children.