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,
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.