Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Convo with Pastor - 1 Corinthians 13:13 - LOVE

The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23 
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
and the greatest of these is love.
Corinthians 13:13
I want to be careful. I don't want to confuse the Fruit of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit.
We're talking this week about Fruits. 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 talk however about Gifts. In the twelfth chapter of this letter, Paul outlines a long list of gifts which are given to us by God. In the thirteenth, Paul acknowledges people's competitiveness -- essentially, "I have this gift. What do you have?" -- and tells us that the greatest gift is love. (And truly we'd never be bragging devisively if we were operating on the basis of love.)
Just as some are given the ability to preach the faith or speak in tongues, love is a supernatural gift that some are given in extra abundance. Do you know anyone with this gift of overflowing love?!!!
But please be clear ... love is also a fruit.
The Spirit's fruits give us the ability to be peaceful in the midst of trials and self-controlled in the face of temptations. What then does the spiritual fruit of love give us? Mainly it gives us the ability love those who irritate us, to pray for our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to give sacrificially, and to become peacemakers. (Basically, the fruit of love gives us the ability to live up to the Jesus' self-sacrificing calls in the Sermon on the Mount.) 
And here's the thing about a fruit instead of a gift. With a gift, we can argue and say, "That's not my gift." But when the Spirit's in you, a fruit can be done by anyone ... and everyone. In other words, there's no excuse for a Christian not to love.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who loves fruit salad
(and wants to be part of God's fruit salad)
When we were married, we had 1 Corinthians 13 read with the verses alternating and the final statement read together.  At the reception, I had all these cards with love quotes written  on them.  We pledged our love to each other that day.

But as Christians, we need to do so much more than love someone just because we made a commitment to them. We need to love them because they are God's unique creation, we are commanded to love them.

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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