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.
– Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
I have had a bit of time now to pull myself together and I thought for this post I would move on to love. As I said last week, love is easy to show to those you love; but not so easy for those you don’t really like. I decided to investigate what the bible says about love. My concordance has over 3 pages of instances where love is mentioned throughout the bible – and each page has three columns! Going through the verses we can derive two different types of descriptions of love: a description of God’s love for us and a description of what our love should be like.
Over and over again the scriptures proclaim God’s unfailing love. His love is eternal and unwavering. It doesn’t depend on our love for Him or our own righteousness (something we can all be very grateful for, I’m sure). His love for us is also self-sacrificing.
So, what should our love look like? I have been going through the letters of John in my devotions and came across this verse:
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
– 2 John 1:6
This verse may be referring to Joshua:
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.
– Joshua 22:5
But I think Jesus’ words should also be taken into account when reading the letter from John which, incidentally, were related in the gospel of John:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
– John 13:34
So ultimately our love, or our fruit, should mirror the love of Christ. Our love should be slow to anger, forgiving (see Proverbs 10:12 and Proverbs 17:9), constant (see Proverbs 17:17), sincere (see Romans 12:9), and given equally to brothers (and sisters) as well as to our enemies (Matthew 5:44).
Essentially, according to 1 Corinthians 13, love is all the fruit of the Spirit rolled into one way of being. And this makes sense, since the concluding verse of this passage says
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The essential oil I associate with love is rose. But before you roll your eyes and groan at the predictability of it, please read my reason for this. I love my Mom. My Mom loves me too, but more relevant to the topic, she also loves her roses. She had a rose garden with a different variety of rose carefully selected for each woman in her life whom she loved (I’m sorry I killed your rose garden Mom!). Whenever I think of my Mom, I think of roses and I always try to use rose in every blend that may be used by my Mom (or on my Mom). So, as you see, my association of Rose essential oil with the fruit of love, has nothing whatsoever to do with convention.
The second reason I associate Rose with Love is because one of my favourite songs is Above All by Michael W Smith…
Like rose, trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
– John 15:13