If you missed this post, I recently embarked on a Fruits of the Spirit project, deciding to focus on one of the Fruits of the Spirit each month beginning this summer. June was the month of love, and it was SUCH a good month! Let’s dive in to what I learned, and recap some highlights.
Love is listed first because it is the most important. Jesus Himself said that the most important commandment is to love God above anything, and love your neighbor as yourself: the Christian life is based around love. All of the other fruits of the spirit are WAYS to love. Loving others is hard sometimes–as C.S. Lewis said, God loves us not because we are lovable, but because He is love.
During the month, I listened to this sermon. Something that really hit me: in Jesus’s time, everyone knew who His disciples were because they (the disciples) would physically follow Him from place to place. But suddenly, Jesus was leaving, and that was no longer possible. So how would the world know who Jesus’s disciples were? By their love. (Side note–if you want love, just read 1 John. The word “love” is used thirty-five times in that short little book, and it’s SO good.)
This is something else that I read this month that stuck with me:
“Fruit is a direct result of the root… What I produce on the outside is a direct byproduct of what’s going on deep inside the soil of my soul. If it is not love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that oozes from every fiber of my being, I need to check in with the pursuit of my soul and what I’m feeding it. Notice, though, how the fruit of the Spirit doesn’t say PERFECTION, it says patience… Perhaps in some twisted way, we are resisting the Holy Spirit in favor of pursuing perfection.” (via SoulScripts)
I was listening to a song by Hillsong Worship in my car this month that took the Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13) and inserted God’s name for the word “love.” “God is patient, God is kind; He does not envy, He does not boast.” Could the same be said if I inserted my name? Nope–definitely not. That’s certainly something to strive for. I spent a ton of time in 1 Corinthians 13 this month–go read it! I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Love Chapter also talks about putting away childish things; growing up really requires embodying the characteristics of love towards others, more than ever before.
The great thing about loving others is that it doesn’t have to fit into a mold! You may have heard of the five love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. The idea is that everyone has a way in which they prefer to show love to others, plus a way in which love being shown to them is most meaningful. Personally, I love giving others gifts. Some homeschool + church friends of ours had a baby this month, and I went to the store and bought a bunch of fun stuff (craft kits, jump ropes, water guns) for their five older kids. Taking it to them yesterday was SO fun! We also had VBS at my church this month. That was a great opportunity to love others, whether through carting toddlers around in the nursery or leading Worship Rally/Family Night or just lying on the stage talking with some younger teenagers.
Honestly, this was such a great month focusing on loving others that I want to do it every month! I’m really excited for the month of joy in July, though. If you’re just learning about this project, please jump in! If you did June with me, let me know in the comments what you learned about loving others this month.