Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance…..Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
–I Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 (NLT)
Many times we hear these verses read at weddings from the “love chapter” in I Corinthians. The words are beautiful and yet I often think to myself, “Nice words but not easy to do in real life.” When I say that, I am thinking that it is all up to me. As hard as I try, I can’t always be patient, kind, or hopeful.
The Greek word translated “fruit” refers to the product of a living thing.
Paul uses this image to help us understand the products of the Holy Spirit that live within us. The fruit is produced by the spirit and not by us. Like apple trees and blueberry bushes, growth and the development of fruit take time. Sometimes pruning and additional care is needed to produce the beautiful apples and blueberries that we so enjoy.
In my own life as I look back, I see times of pruning and special care by other Christians that have helped me depend on the Holy Spirit more. As I trust the Spirit and allow him to guide my life, I will be able to see the fruit of the spirit blossom more. I realize that I am more patient, kind, and hopeful. We begin to see that which only the Spirit can do through us.
It is this kind of love that allows all the other fruits to be developed.
I appreciate one of the quotes from the movie, Forrest Gump: “My Mama always said stupid is as stupid does.” Perhaps the verses from 1 Corinthians 13 about love can be summed up similarly:
Love is as love does.
Prayer:Lord, help me to love others as you love me. Amen
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