The primacy of love
1 Corinthians 13"
... the greatest of these is love." (v.13)
The fruit of the Spirit is just one aspect of the Spirit-filled life.
It is an over-simplification, but the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian moves in two important directions -- to produce purity and to produce power. The power aspect can be seen in a study of the gifts of the Spirit and the purity aspect in a study of the fruit of the Spirit. Both are of equal importance. So be assured that in emphasising the fruit of the Spirit, I am not intending to divert attention from the gifts of the Spirit and their miraculous nature.
Having the Spirit within results in many things but, as we saw yesterday, one of the most important results is a quality of being -- a quality of being which has nine characteristics. The first of these is "love." This emphasis on the primacy of love fits in with Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 13 -- "the greatest of these is love." If one examines the chapter in which these words are found, it will be discovered that every fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5 is involved in this supernatural love. Indeed either directly, or by synonyms, each of them is mentioned. All the fruit depends on the first. Note the connection: love suffers long -- long-suffering. Love is kind. Love does not envy -- goodness. Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up -- meekness or gentleness. Love seeks not its own, is not easily provoked -- self-control. Love rejoices in the truth -- joy. Love bears all things, hopes all things -- faithfulness. Having love, we have all the fruit of the Spirit. Without it we are nothing.
Prayer: Gracious Father, I see that whatever else I possess, if I do not possess love I am nothing. Help me to keep all my channels open to You, so that love -- Your love -- may grow in me. Amen.
For Further Study
1. Write out your definition of Christian love.
2. What was Christ's command to His disciples?