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The Christian Difference in Love

The apostle Paul uses a helpful metaphor in Galatians 5:22-23, describing the Christian life as being like a plan bearing fruit. And what are the characteristics of the fruit that is produced in the Christian life? Paul lists them, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. One thing to note is that Paul does not describe each of these characteristics as a different fruit, but rather, they are all characteristics of the one fruit that the Holy Spirit bears in our lives. What does that mean for us? It means that it is normal to expect ourselves as Christians to grow in all of these character traits, not just the ones that come easier to us. In this next series of blog entries, I wanted to just provide a few reflections on each of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit, starting with love.


Love

It could be said that Paul could have simply ended his sentence here, saying, "the fruit of the Spirit is love", and he would essentially be saying the same thing! Love forms the core of our who we are, we are loved by God, and our life response is to love God in return, and to love other people the way that God has loved us.


Love is more than a feeling. It is rather, a commitment. A promise to seek out the good of another (and by good, we mean good according to God) even if it means sacrificing of yourself. Or in other words, to love is to have the heart attitude of Jesus towards others.


I believe that the Christian difference, when it comes to love, is found in our love for our enemies. Jesus explains in Luke 6 that anyone can love those who are very lovable, who love you in return. But when God's people love their enemies, then we know that the Kingdom of God has come in power.


So as we reflect on this aspect of Christian character, I want to challenge you to think about the Christian difference when it comes to love. Love for enemies. How do you feel about having a Christ-like attitude towards someone you don't like, or has mistreated you in the past? Give this to the Lord in prayer and ask the God who loves his enemies on the cross, to give us power to love the way he does!

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