“But the fruit of the Spirit is love… ”
Galatians 5:22 NIV
Agape is the Greek word translated as love in Galatians 5:22 above. It is a difficult word to define, because humankind can only imitate it. Using the best lexicons to research “agape,” the word benevolence stood out for me. So, for me, the opposite of agape love is not hate, but greed or, at best, love with “strings attached.”
Agape is a sacrificial type of love even more than the most human benevolent act. In 1 Corinthians 13, along with eloquence, miracle performing faith, and great prophetic knowledge, human kindness is nothing if lacking true, selfless love.
After showing how important the element of love to even our most wonderful acts, 1 Corinthians 13 characterizes love. I do not believe it is just coincidence that love defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 contain nearly the exact same description.
Tim Keller points out in “Peace: Overcoming Anxiety – Timothy Keller [Sermon],”Gospel Life, August 10, 2015, YouTube, that Galatians 5:22, uses the singular of fruit suggesting that all characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit work together as one. He also argues that it is possible to “artificially manufacture one or two” of these aspects of the fruit without the Spirit. This agrees with 1 Corinthians 13: 1-4, eloquent preaching, generous benevolence, and even stupendous faith without love is only noise.
Be warned to love like the Holy Spirit can be misunderstood. Look how many people reject Christ because they don’t believe God loves them. Loving unconditionally means doing what is best for another even though another may not think it is best.
An understanding that God always loves this way, though is the key to loving others and loving God. I wish I could say that I’ve perfected it, but that would be untrue and unloving. I do know that when I think about Christ, who demonstrated perfect love by giving his life for me and everyone I meet, it is easier for me to live without strings attached.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.