Galatians 5:22-23: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Remember that the New Testament was mainly written in Greek.
We 'll thus take a look at the Greek words as well as the Hebrew words for the applicable fruit of the week.
Greek Word: ἀγάπη (Transliterated: agapé)
Hebrew Word: אהב (Transliterated: ahab/ahav)
The Greek word agapé (ἀγάπη) means 1) brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence (disposition to do good), 2) love feasts.
The Hebrew word ahav or ahavot' s first letter (א (implies "I will" and the second two letters (הב) implies " give ". In other words, ahav literally means "I will give love." The word in itself requires action. Because of what God gave us, we 'll give to others.
The first time the word " ahav " is used in the Bible was in Gen 22:2. When Abraham' s love for his son, Isaac, was displayed- when Abraham was asked to give up his only child as an offering unto God.
In 1 John 4:7-8 we read: "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
True love, or shall we say biblical love is not a mere feeling. It goes far beyond emotions. The love we read about in Galatians is not a lovey-dovey feeling. It' s a choice. It' s a commitment to do something despite how we are feeling. It' s a daily choice to seek the welfare and well-being of others. And doing it from a place where we don 't expect anything in return.
When it comes to the fruit of Love - it' s dependent on the character of the giver (you and me) and not on our emotions. In the initial blog post about the fruit of the Spirit we read that it's for our FREEDOM, and not because we are under the law. The more we allow Abba to transform our hearts and cultivate Yeshua's character within us - the more freedom we will experience.
We choose to love, because we are free to do so. The Fruit of Love is beneficial to others, regardless if it will benefit the giver. More than just benefiting others, our fruit of love should also never be a stumbling block for others (Rom 14:1-15).
The fruit of Love is about putting aside your own needs, desires and preferences - in order that you can put the needs of others first. Biblical love is sacrificial and not self-serving. When cultivating the fruit of love in our lives, we have to ask ourselves on a daily basis: how can I lay myself down in order to love others?
In today's day & age, we don't have to look very far to see how broken the worldly understanding of love is. We allow our emotions to dictate our sense of commitment - rather than the other way around. And as a result, worldly love tends to grow cold and slowly fade away, and we are naïve enough to think that it's just the way that it was meant to be. Oh how skewed is our understanding!
In 1 John 4 we read that God IS love. Once again confirming that the fruit of Love is about changing our character. If God is love and we need to cultivate and carry love... It means that our character has to be changed so that we can become more like Yeshua.
Love began with God right from the start of Creation. He created the earth and then He created mankind in His Image and saw that it was good. Without God, there would be no love in this world - because it literally originated from Him! God' s entire plan with mankind is encapsulated with LOVE! From Genesis straight through to Revelations, we get to witness God's love for His kids and His redemption plan to save us through His Son, Yeshua the Messiah.
There is no bigger display of love than what Yeshua did for us on the cross! We are saved through His love for us! And because He loves us so much, He sent His Holy Spirit to earth to guide us and be that soft, gentle voice in our hearts. It's through Yeshua's love work on the cross that we could be saved. And the love guidance of the Holy Spirit that our lives can be transformed and that we can grow back into the Image of the Father.
We are made new beings in Love! When the disciples asked Yeshua what the greatest commandment was, He told them that it is to love God and to love one another. God takes love pretty seriously! He made us (our very reason for being) so that we could display His Love to the world! We 'll look at this a bit more in detail in a moment.
Earlier we said that love is more than just a feeling, but that doesn't mean that it' s NOT a feeling still. Our human feelings are still important. Otherwise God would not have created us with feelings. However, our human feelings are insufficient to express real agape / ahav.
The Hebrew word for love & affection is " chibah" which comes from the root word " chovah" - meaning "an obligation/duty". The Hebrew word for friend is " chaver " which shares the same root (chavar) - which means to "join together/unite. In other words, love is a feeling, but also an obligation, we should act upon it and when we do it will bring forth unity - as the Body of Yeshua.
When we read the book of Song of Solomon, we can see that love for sure is a feeling as well. Rom 12:15 says that we should "weep for those who weep." If love was only a choice and not a feeling as well, then we'd feel nothing when we see others weeping.
On another note - if someone who's reading this feels like that - that it doesn't affect you when others around you cry or struggle... Take it to Abba, because that' s not how He designed us to be. Ask Him to show you where you have been hurt before. Because somewhere your need to be loved was not fulfilled and hence you have trouble to feel sorry for others.
There is a massive difference between liking someone and loving someone. You can love someone without loving their actions. God loves us, yet He hates our sin. Despite the fact that He loves us, there are most definitely things in all of us which He does not love. I always try to remind myself to separate people from their sin. Because that's what He did with us. If He did it for me, then who am I to not do the same with others?
We all need to ask ourselves: what comes out of me when I am under pressure? Is it still love or is it a bit more unpleasant stuff? When you carry the fruit of the Love, love will still come out regardless of the pressure you' re facing.
God's love & wrath goes together. Wrath comes from love. God IS love but He is not wrath. Love is His character. And wrath is what He does when there's sin. Loving someone is letting them be, believing the best of them. However, when they prove you wrong - you have to identify it and handle it. Doesn't mean that you write that person off. But you have to acknowledge it. Laying yourself down is not about being a door mat. It's about acknowledging the problem, handling it in love and moving on. It goes hand in hand with forgiveness.
The power of a sound mind plays a vital role in cultivating the fruit of Love. Because love is saying tough stuff to the people whom you love, BECAUSE you love them. The opposite of the fruit of the Spirit are like weeds in the garden. When left unattended it will grow and overtake the flowers in the garden.
For every good thing that God has, the enemy has a counterfeit. And most of the time the counterfeit isn't obvious. We expect it to be the opposite of the good thing. But fact of the matter is, the counterfeit is usually a copy of the original, with a lie incorporated. On surface level it doesn 't seem wrong or off. But in reality it twists the truth and deceives many (including myself). I used to think that the counterfeit of love is lust. But as I spend time digging into the Galatians 5, I discovered that the counterfeit for love is in fact: self-love.
Self-love is actually narcisistic. It makes you so focused on yourself and your own needs. If we love ourselves, we cannot love others. We will never be able to put the needs of others first if we live with a self-love mentality. Self-love promotes loving yourself in a way that you will benefit. But true Biblical love is about laying yourself down, so that others could benefit from it. Self-love is fake love. It carries the appearance of love, but it' s not!
Religious people are quick to revert to Matt 22:36-40 in an attempt to Christianize self-love. The Pharisees asked Yeshua, which commandment is the most important. And Yeshua answered them and said "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shalt love your neighbour as yourself." Surely then self-love can be justified right?
What we need to realise is that Yeshua was addressing the Pharisees. The Pharisees was a certain group of Jews, in other words Israelites. They saw that Yeshua interacted with the Sadducees. The Sadducees broke away from the Jewish beliefs and were wickedly corrupt. The Pharisees, after seeing Yeshua interact with the Sadducees wanted to "trick" Yeshua / catch Him out - because they believed that Yeshua was not supposed to interact with the Sadducees. But Yeshua knew the motive of their hearts.
We need to realise that He wasn 't speaking to individuals. He was addressing a group of believers.
The original Greek word used in Matt 22 for "neigbour" was πλησίον (plēsion) which means a neighbour: a friend; any other person, and where two are concerned, the other (thy fellow man, thy neighbour), according to the Jews, any member of the Hebrew nation and commonwealth; according to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet.
When He said that you should love your neighbour as you love yourself. He meant that Israel / us as believers should operate in love towards unbelievers (Sadducees). Love your native as you love your nation. Yeshua instructed them to love those who are not Israelite as if they were! What will we teach non-believers about the Love of Yeshua if we don 't show them His Love? Remember that we can love others without loving/approving their actions.
I once wrote a post on Instagram, starting with "the entire self-love movement is rooted in an identity crisis." And whilst it might sound harsh, it is the brutal truth. When we come to know Who we are in Yeshua, we don 't need counterfeits like " self-love." We are NOT called to be lovers of self. We are NOT called to fall in love with who we are and where we have been. Tapping ourselves on the shoulder about our own accomplishments. If we call ourselves Christians, this statement should not be offensive. We are called to lay our lives down! We are called to NOT be lovers of self! We are called to love God with ALL our heart! Does any of that sound like self-love?
The entire self-love movement is an attempt to convince ourselves that we are good enough. That what we bring to the table or what we have survived, measures up. "Enough" according to what standards? "Measuring" up against what?
The only "Person" we should care to please with our lives is the Father. So if we feel the " need to be enough or measure up..." Then we need to go back to the Word of the Father and see what He expects of us in His Word. And ask ourselves: What does He expect of me? Who does He say I am?
His Word clearly and repeatedly debunks the self-love movement in total! When we know Who our Father is, we know who we are. And we know that we are enough. We know that we measure up. Not because of who we are, but because of WHO HE IS! And He IS Love! You are the daughter of The King of kings! And you should not allow broken worldly standards and perceptions to determine your value or your beliefs on whether you measure up or not. We are made in the Image of God. And if God is Love, then our lives should reflect love as well.
That reflection of love includes the feeling of love, but it goes way deeper to the commitment of love. Knowing Him, and making Him (& His Love) known to the world. We cannot produce the type of love God desires from us without the leading of the Holy Spirit.
May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:5 ~