Archive for September 25th, 2006

Fruit of the Spirit: Love

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Today’s scripture: Galatians 5:19-25 and I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts (David Squire):

Who doesn’t love love? It’s a many-splendored thing! It makes the world go ’round! Love is all you need! It’s the stuff clichés are made of and leads to excessive exclamation points! Give me a gooey double helping!

Then I read First Corinthians 13. Hmmm… Well. This sounds hard, and not nearly so marshmallow-ey.

Tyler’s observation on Saturday is really helpful. We need to put ourselves in places where God’s Spirit can grow, and we do need the right kinds of “plant food”, sun, and rain to foster the growth of the fruit of the Spirit.

But we have some responsibility, too, especially with the “active fruits” like love. Often I’m able to choose — will I respond with love, or not? Here are the characteristics of love again:

Love is patient,
love is kind,
love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
but rejoices in the truth.

It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

Love never ends.

That’s quite a list to live up to. But we have two things on our side — the Spirit, who guides us in the right way, and our own will. We’ve been told how love behaves — so we can choose to do those things, whether we feel it or not.

In all my interactions with all the people I encounter — whether it’s the day-to-day ups and downs with my partner, or a run-in with that difficult coworker, or just a random encounter some anonymous jerk in traffic — I have a choice to make. I can ignore the Spirit and respond reflexively, or I can choose to be kind. I can choose to be patient. I can choose to not be irritable or resentful or arrogant or rude.

When I exercise the discipline to choose love, I’m creating in my soul a fertile place for the Spirit to take root. And over time, I believe, it becomes more natural to yield to the Spirit, and respond with love.

Thought for the day: I can choose love.

Today, let’s join together in prayer: On Sunday, our congregation began a time of prayer for the conflict and crisis in Darfur. See this web site for background information. Please join us in prayer as we attempt to discern what we are called to do to help.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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