But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
Whenever a new year rolls around, there is always talk of New Year’s Resolutions, ideas of change and wanting to start over with a clean slate. Recently, I was asked to pick a word that would describe an area of my life I would work on for the coming year. At first, I thought this was a strange request. How could I possibly pick just one word? There are so many areas of my life that … “Well, let’s just say I’m a work in progress.”
The more I thought about it the more I wondered if Jesus had a word? Is there one word that describes His ministry and defines what He came here on earth to do? When I looked at the words related to the fruits of the Spirit that Paul wrote in Galatians, the word that jumped out at me was “Love.” The word, “Love,” to us is such a simple four-letter English word, but in the Greek language, the word, Agape, is used to describe Jesus’ love. The Greek word, Agape, is not simple at all but describes a complex, selfless, sacrificial, devoted love. When you look at the verse above, you see that first and foremost “Love” is the first word mentioned and with good reason. Without “love” none of the other words are possible. You can’t have peace without love. You can’t be patient without love. You can’t be kind if there isn’t love. This applies to every fruit of the Spirit.
In Matthew 22:37 when asked what the Greatest Commandment was, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” When you look back in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy, you don’t see a commandment specifically with the word “Love” written as one of the 10 commandments. What Jesus meant in Matthew is that “Love” is the basis behind every law of the 10 Commandments. The type of love that Jesus requires of us is not our version of the word love; the superficial, self-serving, non-committed, simple love. The word that Jesus requires of us is the Agape, selfless, sacrificial form of love.
So, what is your word? I know it’s hard to pick just one to try and live by for an entire year. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve already failed more times than I’ve succeeded with the word I chose and I’m only nine days into the new year. If a word seems too daunting, try just setting a goal to read a daily devotional or set time aside each day to pray and ask God what word He wants you to work on for the day.
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Action Item |
As mentioned above, try picking out a word to work on for the year; and if you need to simplify, set a daily goal to read a verse in the Bible or just pray and ask God for direction.
God, thank you for loving me with Agape love that you showed when you sent Your Son to die on this earth so that I may be saved. Thank you for helping me to be more like You and help me to show Your love to others.
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