The Fruit of the Spirit is Love
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” —Matthew 25:40 ESV
This verse comes from the familiar “sheep and goats” passage which contains some of Jesus’ most sobering words. But I believe in the midst of separating sheep and goats, Jesus was making a deeper point. If we live without love, we’ve missed everything.
Why did Jesus bring up visiting the prisoner or ministering to the sick? Why did He bother to mention feeding the hungry or clothing the naked? Because that’s what we do when we love people. When we see a fellow image-bearer of God in need, we act…because love compels us.
Without love, we’ve missed the whole point (Matt. 22:34-40). God’s love is not all warm fuzzies and “feel good” theology. It is well-rounded and robust. It tells the truth, even when it is unpopular, but refuses to use that truth as a club to hurt and maim.
It is a love that touches people who won’t respond in kind, associates with those who may threaten its reputation, sheds its comfort zone, and gets its hands dirty. Love forgives, is willing to be inconvenienced, and draws people to the greatest Love of all. Goats don’t understand this love. Goats are preoccupied with a form of religion, getting the outside right but neglecting the heart.
Sheep don’t throw away the form, but their first priority is the heart. And a heart that loves God will work out His love by passing it on to everyone it touches.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love…” (Gal. 5:22a).
Are you bearing this fruit today?
Sonja Vernon, RN, BSN is the Vice President for Student Affairs at GBSC. She has been part of Student Affairs since 2000 and is passionate about working with college students.
She also speaks at women’s ministries and youth events.