What is love? Well the world might define it as a feeling, something we can fall into and then fall out of, but you and I know that can’t be right! The only thing we know for sure about emotions or feelings, is that they can and WILL change! Since we know God’s love for us doesn’t change, how can we love more like Him?
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World vs. Word of God on the fruit of the Spirit: LOVE
In today’s world, people seem desperate for love and acceptance based off of how many social media followers you have or based on feelings that can change overnight, because when we are left to our own emotions, we are moody and fickle people right?!
This doesn’t make for solid marriages, strong friendships or consistent moms…
What the world is really craving is: a love that doesn’t change on a whim of emotion, a love that is consistent and fulfills, and you and I know that the only place to find that is to know the love of God!
In Galatians 5:22, (the classic fruit of the spirit passage) we see that as Christians we are given special gifts that grow inside us because we are connected to Jesus, and the first fruit of the spirit listed is love..for a reason!
Why does it say this? Because according to 1 Corinthians 13:3, this passage goes through a long list of spiritual gifts you could have or great things you could do in your life, but it ends by saying: “but if I have not love, it profits me nothing.”
Anything done without love, even the greatest things, are not worth doing!
This kind of love will be both contagious and confusing to the world and to our own families at times! When you and I learn to love others, expecting nothing in return, we will be better moms and know how to set love apart from our feelings and emotions all together.
Did you know?
One reason the fruit of the spirit love is misunderstood as an emotion is because the English language only has ONE word— “love” —to explain four different types of love. Whereas, a language like Greek, has four different words for love:
Eros—which would be considered the “romantic love” between a man and a woman.
Phileo (fi-LAY-o)—which is a way to describe the way you love a best friend
Storge (STOR-gay)—this having love and loyalty for our families
Agape—this fourth word for love and the one we are going to focus on today, means God’s love, and is the only type of love given to those who know Him…making it a spiritual gift.Love Worth Finding “Walking in the Spirit” Devotional
Anyone in the world, Christian or not, can have one or all of these 1st three kinds of love: romantic, friend or family love in their life, because Eros, Phileo and Storge love are based on our emotions.
ONLY those who know Christ can can produce agape love, that is unlike anything the world can recognize, but they will know its different, that’s for sure!
The main difference in agape love from the other 3 kinds, is that it is not emotional at all! Agape love is not a feeling, it is an action. The Bible actually commands us to love one another because love is from God, and commands aren’t rooted in how we feel that day…commands don’t change!
1 John 4:7-8 it says:
“let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
God is agape love, and you have to know God to put this kind of love into practice…
You might say, okay that sounds good, but what does that actually mean?
A parenting example of love in action, apart from emotions, you can likely identify with:
When you had your first child, or any of your babies that have been harder than the others….you know the kind…they don’t sleep, they don’t eat well or burp well, and they cry constantly!! You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what they need, but through it all you still love them…
Our first baby, Jake, was like this, with severe colic, and my husband asked our pediatrician a question one day, at one of of our MANY appointments (it still makes me smile to this day!)
He said to our doctor, “I love our son because he’s mine, but is it okay I’m not in love with him or even like him that much right now?”
Our pediatrician laughed and said it was perfectly normal and that he had four kids, and it was that way for him every time. This of course made us feel better, because emotionally and physically we were drained and just didn’t have ALL the feels for being a mom and dad at that time…
But we still loved Jake and cared for his needs…it was love in action. It didn’t require our feelings. If left to those, we would have given up and called it quits, but we knew God had given him to us, so we took care of him, even if we didn’t like him that much at the time!
As moms, we are familiar with what love in action is…doing things for our families and not expecting a “thank you” in return. We do those things all the time…even moms that don’t know the Lord do this…
So what sets love apart as a spiritual gift only given to us that know Jesus?
It’s a supernatural love, that still can love even your enemies or those that hurt you, like it says in Matthew 5:44.
You are able to love your husband even after multiple disagreements and irritation. You are able to love your kids when they drive you crazy or seem ungrateful. Because Agape love is a choice, separated from emotion or feeling.
It’s something you do, not something you feel.
What’s a good example agape love in action?
I think Prayer is a great example! When you are angry, hurt or feeling unseen, God sees you...
You can go to Him and pray in those moments, for him to shift your attitude…to love your husband, your children, that friend that hurt your feelings or family member who has made you angry. Pray for God to change your heart towards them or that He would change their heart towards you—prayer can be love in action!
When you and I learn to love like this, it’s like lifting a weight off of our shoulders…learning to love like God loves us…because agape love is true love, not emotional love!
Today I want to leave you with 3 ways to show your kids, family and others, that this fruit of the spirit, agape love, is growing in your life:
- Remember agape love is STEADFAST.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
So agape love is consistent and patient. It is steadfast. It forgives even when feelings and emotions say not too. It still cares, even when all worldly reason would say not too. This is the kind of love we want to teach our kids by example…that we aren’t going anywhere. Even if they hurt or disappoint us, we will be consistent in our love for them, because that is what Jesus does for us every single day!
- Remember agape love SERVES one another.
Just like Jesus shows us when he washed the feet of the disciples, who would soon betray him at the cross, or how He asked God to forgive those who crucified Him because they didn’t know what they were doing…
Agape love is kind. It chooses to serve others, even when they don’t deserve it. It gives people what they need and not necessarily what they want! As moms we can all think of many examples of having to do this…
- Remember agape love is HUMBLE.
Like 1 corinthians 13 says above, agape love is not envious. It is not too proud to admit someone else is better at something than you are. It does not get jealous when someone else gets the praise or words of affirmation you wanted. If someone else’s win in life is hard for you to accept, then you may have pride in your life—and jealously and pride and all of those things are based on emotions and feelings! Choosing to be humble not self-seeking is an action. It’s a choice.
Mom, this is a really important to teach our kids by our example!
What are some ways that you have done these three things well lately?
What are some ways you have totally bombed and failed at loving these three ways recently?
For me, I know I have had some wins, but I have definitely had some failures as well..
Go back to what I said earlier about prayer as a way to love in action:
You can pray for God to change your heart in the way you love others and to make this fruit of the spirit more and more evident in your life, because it is listed first for a reason! You have to have love to do all of the others: have joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control.
For the rest of the year, I will be covering a different fruit of the spirit each month. March is how to have joy in any circumstance….
And I wanted to mention—Much of today’s devotional came from the studying one of my favorite Bible Studies from my hosting ministry, Love Worth Finding, called “Walking in the Spirit” which I will be using to A LOT for the next 9 months. If you would like to see a sample of this study CLICK HERE or if you want your own copy to purchase, CLICK HERE.
Leave a comment below with any questions or to share how God used this devotional in your life! And moms don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @Faithful31Moms.
Thanks and remember to keep up the good work of pointing your kid to Jesus!