Showing Love and What it Is
December 5, 2011
Over the next nine days I will be discussing the fruit of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23. I have been doing some thinking about the topic for a while and I thought that preparing each post would be good for my own growth and hopefully reading with help with yours as well!
I work with Jr. High and Sr. High students ever single week. It is almost never boring. There is always something happening in someone’s life whether good or bad. One thing that has seemed to continually pop up over the years is love.
In their search to define who they are and what they want to do with their lives, students have an overwhelming desire to be loved, especially the girls (or they are more vocal about it). They discuss boys and girls and who they are dating, what they think about this person, all of the time.
It is not just with students though. We have TV shows and movies that capture the hearts of so many people because of the theme of love. The movies may be different for different genders. There are the typical “chick flick” movies where boy meets girl, they fall in love, there is some conflict, but they end up together (or one of them realizes they are really in love with someone else). Then there are movies like Taken, where a father does whatever it takes to get his daughter back because he loves her.
This topic is all over our culture!
Love is the first fruit of the Spirit listed. So we are going to start with that one. What does it really mean to love someone? There are so many forms of it, sometimes it is hard to come up with a definition. Let’s look at different ways to love someone, and then we will define it at the end.
Relationships: It is no doubt that love is a part of relationships. A husband and wife show each other love by encouraging one another, not tearing down. They tell each other they love them. Perhaps little gifts or notes around the house. They take care of each other. The husband protects his wife. The wife does not talk down the husband with her friends.
Before marriage when a man and woman are in the dating stage they show love to each other. They protect each other spiritually. They save each other for their future marriage(s). The point of dating should not be to have the relationship of marriage just without the commitment. It should be to help each other grow to be the people God wants you to be whether that ends up being for each other or for your future spouses.
Parents/Children: Parents show their children love by spending time with them. They play together, talk together, go and do activities together. A parent does not harm their child (I’m talking abuse here, of any kind). A parent prays with their children. They want them to be closer to God at any point in their lives than they were at that age.
A child shows love by obeying their parents. Obviously if a parent asks the child to do something against God’s word, then that is not ok. However, in other things the child listens, and does not argue back. Want to knock your mom or dad on the floor speechless? Listen without arguing next time and they won’t know what to think.
Friends: We show love to our friends by not making them feel dumb because they have different convictions. For adults it may not be wrong to drink, but if a man feels he shouldn’t then we let it go, and we don’t even drink around them. That’s love. We don’t make fun of people because of the social class they are a part of, where they are from, or decisions they make (I am talking about really tearing down, not “making fun” where you both are enjoying it).
We have done a lot of talking about “showing love.” We have found there are many ways to do that to many different people. So what is it then? How do we know how to show that love if we do not know what it is?
Love is doing what is spiritually best for someone. That’s it right there. Thinking about sleeping with your girlfriend? Is that what’s spiritually best for her? Or are you thinking about it to fill your own sinful desire?
When we do not do what is spiritually best for another person then we do not show them love. If we continue to act unloving toward an individual then perhaps we do not love them at all.
Is there someone in your life you claim to love but you have not been doing what is spiritually best for them? How can you best show love to someone in your life? What are other ways to show love and to other people that I left out?