All these happen, and love comes to fruition because it is of the Spirit. Remember that it is not just your fruit but more than that; it is the Spirit’s. All true, deep, and extraordinary loves come from God, and the Spirit tends to them. Think of yourself as the soil into which the Spirit sows the seeds of love. You yield to the Spirit’s work, and your dispositions, attitudes, faith, and emotions become the nutrients. With your cooperation, the Spirit grows a magnificent, enduring love in your heart.
This is the divine gift. And your job is to look after it, which is why love also turns out to be a virtue. The more you take care of it, the more adept you become in loving. Loving all creatures in the right way as God desires turns into second nature, and thus the fruit of the Spirit survives the winds of troubles unlike that of a sapling.
Let me tell you a story about a love that literally made a king leave his throne so he could marry his sweetheart. As you may know, King Edward VIII of England officially became king after his father’s death in 1936. By that time, he was involved with an American citizen, Wallis Simpson, who was actually a married woman. Although their affair was known within the British establishment, those in the know thought it was simply an affair that would one day wither. But things did not go as they expected. The king really wanted to marry the woman in his heart; however, the British establishment and the rules of governing the monarchy kept him from doing so. Then King Edward VIII found another way of overcoming this obstacle. Instead of giving up his love affair and marrying someone else, he would give up his throne. In the same year, he announced his decision and abdicated the throne to his brother. After Wallis divorced her husband, the two got married in 1937.
Now that is a love that comes from the Spirit. We may feel ambiguous about this love because it involved a married person, but only God knows their hearts, and only he knows fully how to judge. The fact that their love for each other survived a mistaken marriage, societal disapproval, and the lure of one of the strongest thrones in the world is a testament to the Spirit-born love of their lives.
So yes, let’s affirm that love is the fruit of the Spirit. Like any fruit, it takes work and patience to come into fruition. And like any fruit, its growth and outcome are not fully under our control. It is the work of the Spirit given to us as a gift.
Questions to Reflect Upon
- How do you tend to your love, and how do you protect it from the diseases of egotism?
- To what particular fruit and why would you liken your love towards God and towards others?
A Small Action to Take
Pray and ask God to deepen your love and give you the strength to not be tired from constantly protecting your love.
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