Our Elevate campers will be going through Philippians with the rest of the Ridge, but they also have the opportunity to dive deeper into Scripture. They will be examining the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Today, Scrolls begins by talking about Love.
When reading the passage, notice that it’s “fruit” of the Spirit, meaning that the Holy Spirit produces one fruit with several qualities that work together. And the Holy Spirit produces this in us, we can’t get it on our own. Scrolls also clarifies that our salvation does not come from this fruit, rather our faith should produce it.
In the same way that bearing fruit is gradual, like planting and tending a garden, our spiritual growth takes time as well. We are to care for ourselves and grow in love. And this love is not a product of our work for God. Agape is the Greek word for God’s love for us, which is supposed to be the highest expression of love – a pure, selfless, unconditional thing.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul mentions spiritual gifts. While these gifts were sought after by Christians, the text says that they are meaningless if you don’t have love. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 reads, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Agape love is not easy. It endures ALL things. And the perfect example of this is Jesus, who bore our sins on a cross. Romans 5: 6-8 reads, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It should be no surprise that we love God, because of the grace He’s given us – but it makes no sense why He loves us.
Lastly, in order to achieve this love, abide in God’s love, look to the Word, and pray. Love is a command, therefore we should strive to love as Jesus did – not on our own, but through Jesus himself.