In no uncertain terms, Paul declared to the Galatians a truth that is applicable to today.
He declares in simplicity, the absence of one virtue invalidates all others. Don’t get me wrong, there are other absolutely required virtues, however in the absence of love, everything else is spoiled and rotten.
The debate involved the old testament sign of the Abrahamic covenant. In the Old Testament, if one was not circumcised, they were not in covenant. Period. It was foundational to every other deed, act, or thought.
However, in the New Testament covenant, the singular quality required by believers is the same kind of all-inclusive requirement. It must motivate everything that we do.
Paul declares, “What counts is… only faith activated and expressed and working through love.”
Jesus spoke to this vital requirement when he declared the true identity mark of his followers.
“By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].” John 13:35
It is easy for us to leave our life of faith unexamined because we do certain things, we look certain ways, we avoid certain things.
However, all of this, though important, we must understand any and everything we may do is of no value if love is not our motivating identity.
It’s easy to say, “I love you.”
It’s marginally more difficult to do loving things.
However, the authenticity of our faith is seen in our love. Love, true abiding love is a work of the Spirit through us. The only way to truly love others is to be in constant connection to the will, work, and word of the Spirit of God. Through this connection, the Spirit of God flows, shines, is felt through us.
My individual capacity to be loving is not what is needed. It’s my submission and obedience to the work of the Spirit that flows through me to others is the love of Jesus Christ.
I know you have heard it said that there are nine fruits of the spirit.
I propose to you that there is one fruit with eight manifestations.
The fruit of the Spirit is love.
You see this love expressed in the eight following ways.
These characteristics are not a product of personal discipline.
They are not coached, learned, memorized, or drilled into you.
They are demonstrated in you when everything in your nature would display the opposite.
Under pressure, Joy
In the midst of strife, Peace
Dealing with people, longsuffering
In Conflict and disagreement, Gentle
In the face of hardness, goodness
In the midst of impossible odds, faith
When others praise you, meekness
When excess and success comes, temperance
The only way those qualities can be had is the free and unencumbered flow of the Spirit of God.
In the Old Testament, one could go down a list of requirements and check them off and feel a sense of accomplishment.
However today, anything and everything we do in the realm of faith, what makes it matter is love. Love for of God, demonstrated to others. Love to flow through us rather than our own personal qualities.
Below is a lengthy text, however, I believe it bears out the essence of our high and holy calling to allow the Spirit of God to flow through us.
More important than spiritual gifting
More important than wisdom or knowledge
More important than sacrificial giving and labor
Love is the beginning and the End of it all.
1 Corinthians 13
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
“But pastor, how do I love like that?”
We love like that only by the Spirit of God.
“It’s not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord.”
How could Jesus love like he loved those who abused, betrayed, denied, shamed, and rejected Him?
Jesus was an individual who was known for prayer.
We can only truly fulfill the great, high and holy call to love as Jesus loves through a faith-motivated call to prayer that connects us to the Holy Spirit of God to flow through us.
When we get the Holy Spirit to flow through us, others know it because it can be identified as love.
” And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
“Faith works by love.”
what matters is faith working through love.
All that matters is your faith that makes you love others.
The important thing is faith—the kind of faith that works through love.
it is a matter of faith, a faith that expresses itself in love.
How do you know you truly love Jesus?
When you deeply feel that same love toward those for whom he shed his precious blood to save. When you can pray with a burden; when you can give; when you can seek out and do what is possible to bring, show, speak and demonstrate that love to others.
How Important is Love?