Monday, February 18, 2013

LOVE Is a Fruit...Not Puppy Love

A lesson on love.

If you have ever met my daughter, you know that she is a warm, affectionate, goofy and funny girl. For the longest time, she has wanted a cat, but I’m not a fan of them and Pearce is allergic. So then we were on the lookout for a dog just for Erin. She wanted a laptop. We have Sunni who is a Heelie (Heeler/Collie mix), and she thinks she is a lapdog. She even tries to be a lapdog, but it doesn’t really work all that well. We thought about getting a puppy for Erin, but the thing with puppies is that the fat, lazy ones don’t always stay fat and lazy. So while Patrick was working on a house he saw the owner had six dogs. He started talking to the owner about all the dogs, and she lamented that she was going to have to send Bella to Pet Savers. She was the smallest, and the big dogs picked on her a lot. Bella was just as sweet and affectionate and loving as Erin, and Bella is a Yorkie. We had found the lapdog Erin had wanted. When Patrick brought Bella home it was under the guise that we were puppy sitting, so Erin could raise money for her Student Ambassador trip. Then she read the instructions the second day into the puppy sitting and saw where the owner had said to give Bella a good home. When Erin is here, this poor dog’s feet rarely hit the floor. She’s carried everywhere. Bella sits in Erin’s lap, and against my better judgment, Bella sleeps under the covers near Erin’s feet only because that is where this four, year-old Yorkie was used to sleeping.

Bella has had a few accidents. She wasn’t kennel trained, and when I put her in the kennel for any length of time Bella becomes stressed, destructive and poops. Erin did her drama about having to clean it up, but she did gagging all the way. Yesterday afternoon, Erin stayed in the bed because she was just exhausted. This meant that Bella slept most of the day, and just like a baby that sleeps all day it means Bella didn’t want to sleep last night. Needless to say, last night was a wee bit stressful in my house, and Erin didn’t get to sleep to 10 PM. Patrick slept on the couch and finally, Bella slept in my bed at the foot. This morning we are all walking around in a daze, even Pearce. But as I explained to Erin, Bella has gotten her days and nights confused, and I told her how we were going to remedy that. Erin didn’t get upset. She got dressed, picked up the dog and finished getting ready for school. Erin loves this dog. And I’m just thankful I can see humor or laugh when I’m exhausted.

The greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

I’ve saved that first fruit of the Spirit for the last. In the Galatians 5:22 it says the fruit of the Spirit IS love. The structure of this sentence is a bit off. Fruit is singular, and the verb is reflects a singular subject. But after the verb comes a list of fruits, so shouldn’t the verse read, the fruits of the Spirit are? No, and I’ll explain. I have a New American Standard Bible the Open Edition that I’ve had since Christmas of 1985, and on page 1127 it gives a wonderful explanation. Since it does such a great job, I’m just going to quote it:

Only as we live in love can we fulfill the will of God in our lives. The believer must become love-inspired, love-mastered, and love-driven (2 Cor 5:14). Without the fruit of the Spirit (love), we are just a religious noise (1Cor 13:1). “The fruit of the Spirit is love,” and it is manifested in joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control:

(1) Joy is love’s strength

(2) Peace is love’s security

(3) Patience is love’s endurance

(4) Kindness is love’s conduct

(5) Goodness is love’s character

(6) Faithfulness is love’s confidence

(7) Gentleness is love’s humility

(8) Self-control is love’s victory.

“Against such there is no law.”

1 John 4:18 -19, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.

In our imperfection, we cannot love the way Christ loves because inevitably there are strings attached. We can only handle being heart-broken so many times until we have to separate ourselves from the one who is hurting us and doesn’t love us back. God has loved his wayward children since the moment he created them, and he has pursued them with an everlasting love that knows no boundaries. John 15:13 says, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. That is the measuring unit of love, isn’t it. Ephesians 3:16-20 says,

That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you being rooted and grounded in love,

May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth

And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us

This kind of love isn’t puppy love. It doesn’t depend on your feeling or a whim. This kind of love is agape. It is only when we allow Christ to work in us and through us that we can show the love of Christ to others. It is only through the love of Christ that we can continually serve those He has called us to serve whether it be the poor, the widows, the orphans, the addicted, the afflicted, the weak, those enslaved, and the unlovely. Being filled with the love of God is the only way to be able to reach out and love on those who may not be able to love you back. This is why the fruit of the Spirit is love. It is the greatest gift God has given us, and it is the greatest gift we can freely give to another human being.

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