In an existential culture, it is hard to learn how to love. Existentialism says that personal fulfillment is the goal of life. Now personal fulfillment, as a goal, leads to selfishness; and selfishness is the opposite of love.
The cornerstone of the Christian experience is love. It all began with love, when out of love, God sent His Son to be our Savior. Then our salvation was procured by love when Jesus died on the cross for our sins – what a sacrificial love!
Now God also wants us, as children of God through faith in Christ, to be loving people. In fact, the Apostle Paul says that love is the first thing the Holy Spirit wants to produce in the life of a believer. In Galatians 5:22 he says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love…” Notice that the first thing mentioned as the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE.
The word for “love” here is the Greek word agape. Now agape love is not a word of emotion. It’s not how you feel – it’s what you do. You see, love is a love of benevolence and good will that is motivated by a decision of the mind, not by the emotions of the heart. In other words, when you have agape love, it doesn’t matter how you feel (whether you are angry or hurt or disappointed), you do what is good and helpful anyway because it is the right thing to do.
I once knew a Christian lady who had an unsaved husband who was absolutely rotten to her. But she continued to faithfully pray for him and always treated him with love and kindness. Eventually the Holy Spirit convicted him of his selfish ways, and he received Christ as his Savior. To this day he tells people that he was won to Christ by the incredible love of his wife. That’s the way God wants all of us to be. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.”
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Hey — Think over your actions – are you a selfish person, or a loving person? Only a loving person mirrors the image of Christ.