Love appropriately leads and crowns the various characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit and permeates the whole fruit. In a sense all other qualities listed can be seen as aspects of love. Because God is love (1 John 4:8), the greatest Christian virtue is love (1 Cor. 13:13).
God’s love is the foundation and source of every other goodness. God’s love is poured out to us within our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). Love is the evidence that we are God’s children.
This love is far more than mere human affection. It cannot be produced by human effort. It comes as a result of abiding in Christ. Such love is generous and unmerited. It alone has the power to transform. In its tender yet strong nature, divine love leads the sinner to repentance and awakens the desire for something better. Love has the power to unite-even those who formerly were enemies (Luke 6:27-28; Rom. 5:8). Thus, by our love for one another the world will know that Christians are indeed followers of Jesus Christ (John 13:35). This fruit of love will also lead Christians to manifest understanding and sensitivity toward others.
It is interesting that the master description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 comes right between chapters 12 and 14. Those two chapters deal with the gifts of the Spirit. Chapter 13, however, deals with love: the fruit of the Spirit. Even the superior gifts are nothing without love. The gifts of the Spirit without the fruit of the Spirit are powerless and do not produce the blessing that God intends. Love, however, is the glue that binds all other virtues of the fruit of the Spirit into a united whole and gives authenticity to everything we do.
|Where does your life lack the quality of love? Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with love toward those people with whom you are dealing on a daily basis. Remember that God also loves us through other people. How can you show others love? How does love affect those other virtues mentioned in the fruit of the Spirit?|