Galatians 5:22-23 Love is giving God full purview over the major decisions of life

Galatians 5:22-23 Love is giving God full purview over the major decisions of life

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Background

As the path that leads to death is paved with the deeds of the flesh, the path that leads to life is paved with the fruit of the Spirit. Paul says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (6:8). Therefore, if we sow to the Spirit by living in love, peace and joy, we will arrive at God’s kingdom in full glory. In today’s devotion, we learn: Love is giving God full purview over the major decisions of life.

Observation

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

“The fruit of the Spirit” is an instinctive and spontaneous quality of a regenerated life directed by the Spirit as opposed to an unregenerate life directed by the flesh. These virtues are manifested when one is fully yielded to the flow of the Spirit. As the Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of Christ in the New Testament, the nine virtues or fruit are the very manifestations of Christ’s life. However, of the nine virtues, three (Love, joy, peace) are considered core attributes. Whereas the other six virtues (patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) are considered manifestations or derivatives of the three core attributes (see figure below).

We can observe that these three core attributes: love, joy, peace, are frequently mentioned in Jesus’s teachings. Hours before Jesus went to the cross, He said to His disciples,

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” John 14:27-28

From the above text, we observe the themes of love, joy and peace clearly present as He comforted His quivering disciples. We will examine each attribute in a series of articles beginning with love.

The attribute of love comprises three expressions in the life and teachings of Jesus: unity with God and men, service towards others and obedience towards God.

Love unites

Love is manifested through Jesus’s desire to be one with the Father. This desire for unity is expressed through Jesus’s prayer moments before He goes to the cross,

“The glory which You (the Father) have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” John 17:22-23.

This unity is matched by the commandment to… “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind…” (Luke 10:27a). Jesus said in the same breath, “For their sake I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:19). In love, for the disciples’ sake, Jesus sanctifies Himself becoming one with the Father’s divinity (soul), wisdom (mind), virtues (heart) and authority (strength). Through Jesus’s exemplary life, the disciples sanctify themselves by becoming united with Jesus. Believers today show our unity with Christ through our love for the truth and by giving Him full control over the major decisions of life. In this way, we integrate Jesus’s divinity (soul), wisdom (mind), virtues (heart), and authority (strength) into our personhood. To be divine as Christ is divine, to be wise as He is wise, to be virtuous as He is virtuous and to take authority as Christ has taken authority. Here is the way Jesus love: He sanctifies Himself continually by being one with the Father, … in the same way, we sanctify ourselves continually by being one with Christ.

Love inspires service towards others

Love is expressed through Jesus’s desire to serve by putting the needs of humanity before His own. This is expressed by the commandment to… “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10:27b). Jesus loves sinners and gave Himself as a sacrifice so that humanity may be saved (see Romans 5:8). There is no better way to describe Jesus’s entire life than these words,

“the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28).

In love, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and said to them, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” John 13:14-15. Jesus has shown us the way to love: to serve by putting the needs of humanity before our own.

Love instills trust and obedience towards God

Love is expressed through Jesus’s obedience to the Father’s commandments. Jesus demonstrated His love for the Father by obeying His commandments. In the same way, He urged His disciples to love Him by obeying His commandments. Jesus said, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10). Here is love: Not my will, but yours be done!

Truth

Love is giving God full purview over the major decisions of life.

We appreciate how by following the money trail can effectively lead investigators to the seat of crime and corruption around the world. Because money serves as the oxygen and motivator for any activity, licit and illicit. For the case of illicit activities, following its trail will effectively lead investigators to the perpetrators. As the money trail leads to the seat of darkness, the trail of love leads to the kingdom of light. By conscientiously following the love trail of Jesus, we will most definitely arrive at the kingdom of God. Love displayed through unity with Christ leads one to the kingdom of God. One who is united with Christ is in agreement with God in all aspects of life: his career choices, his financial decisions, and in his choice for a spouse etc. Unless we sanctify will and desires in agreement with God, we cannot be one with Him.

Many churchgoers follow religious observances as a cover for their fleshly desires. They do not seek unity with Christ, but rather what Christ can give them. This is apparent by their utter lack of interest in the word. Such fill up their minds with promises of blessings and unconditional forgiveness. For they love themselves more than God, and more than humanity. When it comes to making major decisions, they did not enquire of God fearing what He may say. Hence, they would rather not ask than to defy His directives. Yet some soothe their consciences by deferring to God on lesser matters like their children’s choice of school, which charity organisation to support etc. But when it comes to their personal career choices or choices of spouse, they keep the decisions to themselves without letting the church know lest they object. Such may show some progress at the onset but will suddenly stumble incurring great losses. Indeed, there is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12).

Love in seeking unity with Christ is the core foundation of eternal life. One who does not let God have full purview of the major decisions of his life will most certainly pass up on God’s kingdom although he may still be granted entrance into paradise. Major decisions concern our career, country of residence (migration), choice of spouse, choice of the home church and our financial investment. In short, unity with God is to say in no uncertain terms, “Let not my will, but yours be done!”

To love God is to give Him full and continual purview over our major decisions of life. If we continue to do what is right, we will most definitely fulfil our divine destiny and arrive at the kingdom in full glory.

Application

Take 30 minutes each day over a period of one month to enquire of Him the major decisions of your life. Seek God’s perspective as to what you have done rightly and wrongly. Perhaps, some of your decisions need to be remedied. For those decisions that are irreversible, there are precious lessons to be learned.

Dear Lord, I commit myself to be in agreement with you in all aspects of my life. Show me the way that I should go so that I may fulfil the divine call and be a blessing to the world. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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