Friday, April 18, 2008

Love Lies at the Root

I promise I won't post on each of the fruits of the Spirit, but I just couldn't resist this one! As I've mentioned before, I select a verse (or verses) of Scripture each year to meditate on for the year. This year, I selected 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. Since I'm already thinking about this passage of Scripture, I was very interested in what Phillip Keller had to say about Love (in his book "A Gardener Looks at the Fruits of the Spirit"). In this chapter, he talks about how love is much more than just "one of the fruits." In reality, it is the very basic, essential life of the living Christ which expresses itself in all the nine fruits. He used a cluster of grapes to illustrate:

If the cluster contains nine individual fruits, they would each be the same sort of fruit, though they may differ slightly in size, shape, and taste. One grape in the clsuter may be fully ripened, full of sweet juice, pleasing to the eye and delectable to taste. But in the same cluster there may also be several grapes which are somewhat less ripe, rather green, still sour or perhaps even shrunken and shriveled. Still they are all the same grapes growing on a single stem from the same vine.

So it is with the life of God, the love of God that we may say grows from the single stalk of the life of the Spirit of God in us. The individual grape of joy may be very fully matured in my life, but at the same time that of patience may be decidedly small sour, and shrunken.

With that in mind, consider the table below where he shows the fruits listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and compares them to the characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-7.









Galatians 5:22-231 Corinthians 13:1-7
1. LoveLove does not seek its own way, is not selfish or self-centered.
2. JoyLove does not rejoice in iniquity but rather rejoices in the truth.
3. Peace Love is not easily provoked, but is serene and stable.
4. PatienceLove suffers long, perseveres, is patient.
5. KindnessLove is merciful, thoughtful, and concerned; it envies not.
6. GoodnessLove is great, gracious, and generous; it is kind and good.
7. FaithfulnessLove thinks no evil but has faith in God and others.
8. GentlenessLove is humble and gentle, does not vaunt itself.
9. Self-ControlLove is disciplined and controlled, does not behave unbecomingly.

I had never seen this parallel before, but I love finding new ways that the Scripture reinforces its own truths, so I just had to share it with you! As I meditate this year on 1 Cor. 13, I now have a new dimension to think through how it should manifest itself in the fruit of my life. I will close with Keller's prayer:
God grant that within us there might be generated an enourmous, overwhelming, irresistible desire to become like Him who is love ... to have reproduced in us the fruit of His life.

2 comments:

R. D. Bailey said...

here's a good quote i just read by Thomas Watson on love -

He who loves God LOVES HIS FAVOURITES, THE SAINTS (1 John 5:1). To love a man for his grace and the more we see of God in him, the more we love him, that is an infallible sign of love to God. The wicked pretend to love God, but hate and persecute His image. Does he love his prince who abuses his statue, or tears his picture? They seem indeed to show great reverence to saints departed; they have great reverence for Saint Paul, and Saint Stephen, and Saint Luke; they canonize dead saints, but persecute living saints; and do they love God? Can it be imagined that he loves God who hates His children because they are like God? If Christ were alive again, He would not escape a second persecution.

Jennifer said...

That's a great quote! Thanks for sharing it. :)

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