Love everyone always
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25
This is the truth that these verses are trying to tell us. You can do whatever you want. God gives you freedom. Whatever lifestyle you choose, there will be fruit. You just have to live with the fruit that comes from that lifestyle.
You can live for you. You can put you first. Call it what you want but putting you first is by definition selfishness. The fruit of selfishness is typically separation from people. It ends in hurt feelings. No one wants to be around a selfish person. You can live like that but the fruit will be loneliness.
The fruit of having sex with whoever you want is broken relationships. I had lunch with a guy who is good looking and funny and has had many partners. In fact, he told me that there wasn’t a person he’s been with in the last 12 years that he didn’t cheat on. The fruit of his life wasn’t happy. It was hurt and pain and anti-depressants.
The fruit of making your life all about your body is comparison and insecurity.
The fruit of making your life all about money might lead you to a nicer car and a decent house but it will also ultimately lead to emptiness. It can also lead to broken relationships when the people around you realize that they aren’t that important to you.
This is a cold hard fact of farming. It’s also a cold hard fact of life. That whatever lifestyle you choose, it will bring fruit. But you don’t get peace and patience by living for you. You don’t get kindness and gentleness by making work your highest priority. You don’t love and joy by sleeping around.
If you look in the next chapter the author writes this.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7
You just can’t plant seeds of crazy sex and infidelity and alcohol and selfishness and reap love and joy and peace and patience. If you want the fruit of your life to be love, joy, peace and patience, you have to live in a way that will bring those qualities. Whatever you plant, that’s what you reap. Ask any farmer.
In the time we have remaining let’s talk about that first fruit.
1) You can’t love until you realize you are loved
If we all want to be loved and we all want to be known as people who love, why is it so many people feel lonely and overlooked and hurt? The reason why we don’t love better is because we’ve gotten hurt somewhere.
Someone in junior high made fun of you
Your parents were distant and uninvolved
Somebody broke your heart
Some coach or teacher let you know that you weren’t valuable
I’m not sure where you heard it, but we’ve all gotten that message somewhere along the line. You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. Nobody loves you. Let me tell you something about love that you may not know. If you don’t feel loved than you either are not in relationship with God or you’re not listening to what He’s telling you.
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
Over and over and over God tells us in the bible that he loves us. That he would do anything for us. That he loves us like his children. We have lots of kids in this room so let me explain what this kind of love looks like. I love my kids. I don’t love them because they are perfect. I don’t love them because they are more talented than other kids, although in the case of my children they are more talented than other kids. I love them simply because they are my kids.
I have loved them when they have thrown up. On me.
I loved them when they spilled milk in my car without telling me
I loved them when they put diesel fuel in my car by mistake.
I loved them when they have used one of my cars to hit another one of my cars
I loved them when they painted with their own poo
I love them not just when they score goals or get A’s or clean their room. I love them. Always. This is how God loves you.
Listen to this quote by CS Lewis.
“We are all receiving Charity. There is something in each of us that cannot be naturally loved. Only the lovable can be naturally loved. You might as well ask people to like the taste of rotten bread or the sound of a mechanical drill. We can be forgiven, and pitied, and loved in spite of it, with Charity; no other way. All who have good parents, wives, husbands, or children may be sure that at some times they are receiving Charity, are not loved because they are lovable but because Love Himself is in those who love them.”
God loves us. Not because we are better than everyone or more talented or better looking. Simply because we are his children.
2) When you realize you’re loved then you can love like crazy
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
God asks us to love in ways that seem crazy. These are direct quotes from Jesus himself.
Love your enemies
Pray for those who persecute you
Do good to those who hate you
Let me throw a couple more in there. Jesus didn’t say this but I think he might
Love your ex
Love the coach who won’t play you
Love the parent who’s too busy for you
Love the kid who gives you attitude
Love the friend who steals your boyfriend
Love the boss you treats you like his minion
The only way we can learn to love people like crazy is if we get to the place where we are truly loved. Until we learn that God really loves us and likes us.
3) Let God teach you how to love
Let’s look one more time at our verse. Notice that it says “The fruit of the spirit is love.”
It doesn’t say “If you are really good you’ll experience love.”
It doesn’t say “If you always do the right thing you’ll be loved.”
It doesn’t say “If you walk enough old ladies across the street and give money to the homeless people or teach Sunday school you’ll be loved.”
It says the fruit of the spirit is love. If you want love to be the fruit of your life it starts right here. Invite God’s spirit to live in you. If you invite him in and learn to walk with him, this is what will come out of your life.
You will feel loved. You will realize that you are valuable. You will know that you are God’s favored one.
Once you feel loved you’ll learn to love others. Not just people in your family or people who like you. You’ll learn to love people that are hard to love. You learn to love everyone always. In fact you will love so much that you will be known as a person of love. That will be your legacy. Is there anyone here who wants that? Let me pray that into your life.