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Monday: The Fruit of Love — 46 Comments

  1. please God help me to love the people just like you love us and came died for us.
    may your holy spirit come so that i can love.
    show me how to love people that they me.

    how does love affect those other virtues mentioned.

  2. Here is a passage, that a couple of my friends have told me recently they have been following, and have been greatly blessed.

    "The Lord desires me to call the attention of His people to the chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. Read this chapter every day, and from it obtain comfort and strength. Learn from it the value that God places on sanctified heaven-born love, and let the lesson that it teaches come home to your hearts. Learn that Christ-like love is of heavenly birth, and that without it all other qualifications are worthless.” - Ellen White, Review and Herald, July 21, 1904

  3. Hi brethren, in our lesson discussion last Sabbath, one member said that it is possible to keep the law without Christ, how possible is this given that the law is holy just like the law giver? Is it therefore possible to love without the Holy Spirit and Christ? If yes, is it still called love? Those that keep the law without Christ should they still be referred to as law keepers? am confused please need help

    • Irene, Emphatically, yes. The Bible tells us that God is good and He is the only one who is good ( Matthew 19:17 ) and He "rains" His goodness (Spirit) on us all, Christian, Non-Christian ( Matthew 5:45 ). Keeping the law or showing love is an expression of His goodness regardless of when, where it happens or what the motivation is. Even though one may not acknowledge God, the good things they do or the love they show, come from Him through His Spirit.

      • Hi Irene. I have to respectfully disagree with brother Jim. Jesus says "...apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Christ-less love, like Christ-less religion is fake.

        Apart from God, we can neither keep the law nor have genuine love for others despite outward appearances. It is not coincidental that God's "law" can be summarized as loving God and loving his other children (Matthew 22:37-40).

        From Sunday's lesson: "Apart from Christ, we cannot produce genuine spiritual fruit" the greatest of which is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

        All genuine love comes from God and when we have Christ-like love for others, it is God's love being expressed through us.

        • Sieg, I suggest you read Mrs White' description of end time events from The Great Controversy, in the Chapter " The Time of Trouble", specifically pg 614. God withdraws His restraint (Spirit) from the wicked. All goodness comes from God, even that of those that do not acknowledge Him.

      • It is true that "apart from Him" (i.e. Holy Spirit and Christ) we can do nothing good. However, none are totally "apart from Him" until they have committed the sin against the Holy Spirit - that is, until they have totally rejected the Holy Spirit in their lives. (See John 1:9. Here John tells us that Christ is the light that enlightens *every* person that comes into the world. None are left without enough light to accept God into their lives.)

        In the meantime, there is genuine goodness and genuine love in the world, all coming from our Father above. (James 1:17)

    • Our ability to love or keep the law is superficial at best. It is not without self. But God's love and keeping of the law, is completly selfless.

    • Yes, it is possible to keep the letter of the law without the spirit of the law. When we do not keep the law out of love for God, it is called legalism.

      • I maintain it is impossible to keep the 10 commandments without love. The 10th commandment is our thoughts. How do you keep your thoughts pure without love?

        • Absolutely right on, Larry. But I'm still thinking of the Spirit of Christ enlightening *every* person that comes into the world. Thus, until He is finally rejected, He can work even in an atheist heart to produce genuine goodness.

          I wonder whether some atheists will be surprised to find themselves in heaven - having rejected the religions of this world (with good reason) but having lived lives of compassion and love for those around them. Of course that's not possible without the Holy Spirit, but it's not necessary to know the Spirit by name in order to obey His directives. James 1:17

  4. Gods love is independent, not circumstantial, biased or impartial. It is only through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that we can attain such enemy reaching love. Practice makes perfect but in the case of Godly things it is the Spirit that works perfection not practicing, and it is the Spirit that gives spirit of endurance. So much l want to practice Christianity instead of living Christlike,yielding to the Holy Spirit, whats the difference? When all is driven out of love be it kindness, long suffering, joy etc it is genuinely expressed hence Oh Spirit give us love

  5. Talking about love, the real challenge for me relies in the relationship within the close family. The spouse, for example. For me, if I'm able to show real love to these, that's my lovethermometer!

    • I resonate with your comment JC. The biggest challenge is maintaining and growing relationships with people you know best. Do you show Christ-like love to your children when they are rebelling against you? My children used to be teenagers and I remember the mistakes that I made. I had to say sorry on numerous occasions. And as my daughter now faces the same challenges of bringing up two boys about to enter their teenage years, I smile benignly as I remember her own rebellious years.

      As any parent knows, you face a real challenge to provide gentle rebuke and encouragement when your teenage children are developing their independence. For what its worth, I don't know the answer, but I know that apology and forgiveness on both sides, featured strongly in those turbulent years. I was never a perfect parent, but I think I was an honest one. And I think the whole experience has helped me understand God just a little bit more.

    • Jesus did not teach us to "love ourselves." He invited us to come to Him and allow Him to carry our burdens.

      The supposed fact that we need to "love ourselves" is just psychobabble. In the worst case, it will make us selfish tyrants. In other cases, it just makes us frustrated. What it does for sure is to make us take our eyes off Jesus.

      When we focus on Jesus and the value He placed on us, there is no need to love ourselves. He will empower us to love others as He loved us - which is what He commanded us to do. (That command couldn't be given before He demonstrated His love by dying for us.)

      As for the original command to "love your neighbor as yourself," that is based on God's knowledge of human nature. He *knows* that every human being loves him/herself best. (Psychologists used to say that criminals lacked self-love. Actual studies demonstrated that the worst criminals have the highest opinion of themselves.)

      A sense of self-worth is not generated by efforts to love ourselves, contrary to Christ's command. A satisfying sense of self-worth is the natural by-product of serving others, as Christ not only commanded but also demonstrated. When you see that your service makes a genuine difference in the lives of others, you will *know* that your life is worth-while, adding to the knowledge that Christ loves you enough to die for you.

    • Leonard, you already *have* His love!! He loves you enough to die for you - even if you were the only sinner on this planet.

      You "abide" - i.e. stay in His love - by daily spending time with Him: You talk to Him through prayer, you listen to Him through Bible study and prayer, and you work with Him by doing what He commands, remembering that every command is a promise to give you the power to obey. As you do this, you will sense more and more of His love, and your life will be transformed into His image.

  6. God's love is always there for us and i thank Him for His constant care.

    It's not always easy to love ourselves. I remember growing up in the church and at the time there was a heavy focus on doing and giving to others to the point of almost totally forgetting self and even personal needs. It didn't help that my childhood was dysfunctional leading me to discount my value and needs as a person, as many are.

    I didn't learn the lessons at the time of how to take care of myself or make good choices for my life. 40 years later there are still times when the balance between taking care of self and others is still such a challenge and mystery to me. Through it all I've had some take advantage of my overzealous willingness to give even at times to my detriment.

    I have learned to pray for the wisdom God promises in James 1:5-6. For me, because of the course of my life I must ask God for wisdom in little things. I call on Him for discernment for the human heart is by nature wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

    I still have to ask God at times how to love myself. There are still times I have to ask what can I do and how much I should do for others.

    I must admit this has been the most difficult part of my journey spiritually. I can also tell you God is truly responsive to my prayers regarding this, even being a tangible presence when I was distraught and discouraged because of inherited and cultivated tendencies that have made life challenging.

    Talk to Him about those 'real' issues, believe in Him, He will come through giving comfort, solutions or just a peace about your challenges. He has for me, and God has no favorites (2 Chronicles 19:7).

    • Nanci, I hear you: Knowing how much to "give" and how to take care of ourselves can be very difficult. It is only too easy to err in one direction or the other.

      I think the question may not be how much "to love ourselves" but how to take care of the property of God (ourselves) so we may best serve Him. (We belong to Him first and foremost before we belong to anyone else.) And, yes, God is eager to answer our prayers for wisdom in that regard. (James 1:5)

  7. May the Lord Jesus teach me how to love people as well. Just the same way he does. It's not easy because the flesh is weak, but with the Lords help I believe it can be done. Also with the Lord's help, I will be reading 1 Cor. 13 often. It sure identifies the characteristics of God's Love for humanity.

  8. Love I described here as the motivating power to all the other virtues. As it is said at the beginning; "It is impossible for us to grasp the full volume of God's love, or it's power I may add." For even the strange act of God which has been display but very little so far on the earth, like the plagues of Egypt or the flood, and soon the seven last plagues, will be motivated by his love. Even his enemies will proclaim that he is just to do it that way at the end. Love, what a mistery.

  9. The question above asks: "where does your life lack the quality of love?" Then following it reads: "Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with love...".

    If we are filled with the Spirit, this Love is the natural fruit. If the love is lacking, the Spirit is lacking. If this is the case, self is still supreme, and the Holy Spirit is barred from dwelling in the life. Jesus' instructions for anyone to "follow" Him (in our love for others and love for God), is to "deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me".

    While our prayer is to be empty of self, only we can do this and if we pray that God will help us, exactly how is He to do this against our will? Until the will is yielded in faith, God is helpless unless He forces His own will upon us, which He never does. The choice to act remains ours and the goodness of God is revealed so we will believe and act on that belief. Trusting God means that we will act, even when it doesn't match our feelings. Forget feelings and follow faith, for our feelings will only deceive us. This is why faith, trust, belief are the basis of righteousness and sanctification, we simply deny self, take up the cross, and follow Jesus who did the same as a man. God's word must be as our daily bread in order for this to take place, and prayer for strength (of faith) must be as common as our physical breathing.

    Why do we suppose this is call "the good fight of faith"? As Ellen wrote concerning the Christian life; "it is a battle and a march".

    As Christian Soldiers, we are urged onward in the name of Christ our Lord, for victory is promised through grace.

  10. Question,
    In the lesson it says, "Such love is generous and unmerited." Other than the lesson saying this, who says that this type of love is unmerited? Is it like the common definition of Grace is "Unmerited favor?" Who says it is unmerited? These kind of statements don't make God look very good, do you think?

  11. But what do you do, when you go the extra mile for people, deny yourself and yet still instead of showing appreciation they ridicule, lie and verbally abuse you. Yes, we are trying to be Christ like, but we are not there yet.

    • What do you do? What did Jesus tell us to do?
      Luke 6:22,23
      Matt 5:11,12

      "Not there yet" is merely an opportunity isn't it? We only need to be "there" the next time the temptation to fall short comes to us. Don't concern yourself with the following opportunities, just the present. Also, if we are "dead"(to self), what could possibly bother us??!

      One last thought on your comment, "trying to be Christ-like" is not our concern nor the object of our efforts, as we will always fail. Our only effort should be to surrender fully. This being done, the Holy Spirit can live within and "Christ-like" is all the Holy Spirit knows or does. The only way to stop the Spirit is to take back control of ourselves and try yet again, only to fail.

      Our failures are only reminders that we have forgotten our part in being One with Christ and the Father.

      • We will always fail to be Christ-like? If we always fail to be Christ-like, then what is the point in trying? Sometimes I know I am Christ-like and sometimes I know that I am not. How can we be one with Christ if we are always failing? Who said all of this? Where are you getting this? This is not good news!

        • Rom 8:5-6 tells us that we do not live according to our sinful nature but to live in accordance with the Spirit which sets our mind on what the Spirit desires.

          Through daily devotions and prayer, can our minds be filled with the Spirit of God which will transform us to have a Christ-like image. Trying to be like Christ with our own might without prayers and studying the Bible is not possible.

          Invite the Holy Spirit into your heart and mind today, listen to His voice instead of our sinful desires.

        • Larry your thoughts and questions are honest and on point. If there is no answer to your inquiry then you are right in concluding "this is not good news". It seems to me that the scriptures and Spirit of Prophecy are clear on these issues but the fear of ridicule has caused many to stop at considering that overcoming the temptation to sin and obtaining holiness is realistic. The fall back position is always that we can do nothing in our fallen human nature without the Holy Spirit. This is true but does that mean that the Holy Spirit must permently be the one who can keep us from sin and thus consider us holy? Or is the work of the Holy Spirit to transform our fallen nature into a spiritual nature like Adam had before the fall in which he had the ability to overcome temptation and remain holy. Thus, if we have the "mind of Christ", we can overcome the temptation to sin and live a holy life. To deny this, it seems to me, is to deny the power of God to be able to permently convert a sinful mind into a spiritual mind and therefore able to live a holy life.

          It really comes down to what is the work of the Holy Spirit? Is it to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves in overcoming or is it to change our fallen nature to the mind of Christ so that we can choose to overcome the temptation to sin and live a holy life as Jesus did.

    • It is their problem, not your problem. I have been told that I was "past it" in my work for the church, and for a while it hurt me quite badly. But coincidentally with one door closing, opportunities came to share my faith in other places using the same talents considered "past it". I learned three things:

      1) People who judge you, in spite of you doing the extra mile, have usually got a serious problem themselves.

      2) Moping about the situation is understandable but not all that helpful.

      3) God typically opens other doors for you to continue to serve. You need to be awake to these opportunities when they happen.

      • Maurice, I must respond to some of your conclusions. It's understandable to mope about a situation? Are you speaking of a Spirit filled Christian? It might be a "natural" response when we have yet to be converted, but look at Paul and Silas in jail, did they have cause to "mope"? What about Jesus with the treatment He received from the Leaders of Jerusalem and the Romans? Same with Stephen while being stoned to death. How did Peter and John react when beaten and threatened by the Sanhedrin after healing the lame man in the temple in the name of Jesus?

        What sort of people is Jesus looking for today? How will they act under mistreatment, who will soon go Home with Jesus to be in the very presence of God? Balaam moped. Jonah moped, I believe King Saul did as well as Judas.

        You are correct in suggesting that God will open other doors. Just look at the life of Joseph, who served faithfully wherever he found himself. As Jesus taught, if they reject you here, go there. I have come to believe that when Jesus said "shake the dust off your sandals", He meant that we don't take the problem with us and mope about it.

        • I think you are extrapolating beyond the intention of my statement about "moping". If you are hurt in some way by the action of others it is only natural to feel that hurt and feel sorry for one's self. Anyone who thinks otherwise has lived a charmed life. The "feeling sorry for one's self" becomes an issue when you keep on moping to the extent that you do not see the other doors that open for you.
          Rising above a "feeling sorry for one's self" experience is sometimes not all that easy and has the potential to slip into clinical depression. I cite the case of my own father who towards the end of his life had three life-challenging experiences that happened one after another, and he fell into a deep depression. Medical intervention was necessary to begin the healing process. It took a long time. Part of the issue for Dad, who was a spirit-filled Christian, was that he felt so guilty about the depression and felt so unworthy before God.
          Feeling sorry for one's self after being wronged is not a sin, even for a spirit-filled Christian. Growing out of the experience is something that we can grasp hold of as Christians.
          For us, the real challenge in these situations is how do we support those who have been hurt badly and feel sorry for themselves. Frequently we are judgemental, when we should be supportive. Remember what we learned from the lessons from Job, last year.

  12. @Larry maybe the point here is human endeavors to imitate Godliness ends in wickedness, hypocrisy and pride but our 'en-devours' must be to learn to submit our will to the influence of God such that it is the Spirit that pilots us to holiness not human effort. Anyway it is the same Spirit that quickens the need for repentance, it is the Spirit that transforms us, it is the Spirit that perfects us for Salvation. Therefore he was saying if it is the Spirit that makes us Christlike, the Spirit cannot ''try'' he always finishes his good work in us

  13. There's something very interesting I find in the sequencing of the fruit of the Spirit. The first three are: love, joy and peace. Love tops the list as if to emphasize the point that it is the foundation and abiding principle of the rest. The source of all these lies in the Christian relation to God. The Bible says "God is love." If yoh have true love, you will have joy and enjoy peace. Love speaks to our relation to God Almighty and it flows instinctively in us as we maintain our communion with Him. The Holy Spirit makes all this possible in us as we allow Him to dwell in us daily.

  14. Greetings to you all. Can someone help me understand the difference between the 'Gifts of the Spirit' and the 'Fruit of the Spirit'
    Thank you.

    • Renford, I have a suggestion for you. Why don't you go to BibleGateway.com to see what the Bible has to say on the subject. Search for "fruit of the Spirit" and "gifts of the Spirit" in the KJV, NLT or other common versions. (I cannot guarantee you will find the same wording in all versions.) Then come back to tell us what you found. 🙂

  15. Thank Inge: The Gifts of the Spirit are our abilities (Talents)
    for the edification of the church.
    As for the Fruit, it is clear from Gal 5:22-23


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