Fruits Of The Spirit: LOVE

I have recently been learning more about the fruits of the spirit, individually and collectively. What each one means, what it really looks like to bear each of them, and what the Bible says about each of them. So, I decided I would start a blog series on them! I’ll be highlighting one of the fruits every week and sharing some concepts that I have learned about them. To start us off, today we are going to focus on LOVE.


The Bible is full of verses about love: how God loves us, how God’s people love Him, and how we are to love each other. But, before we talk about how to love others, I think we need to understand what exactly love is.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

WHAT IS LOVE:

  1. Love is patient and kind – We’ll focus a lot more on patience in the upcoming weeks, but here we understand that when we love others, we are patient with them. We do not rush their actions or their words, and we are kind to them, as we hope they will be kind to us too.
  2. Love does not envy or boast – Love is not prideful. Love is humbling ourselves and boasting in the love of God, not the love of ourselves.
  3. Love is not arrogant or rude – Love has much to do with our actions but it also has to do with the words we use. In order to love ourselves and others, we have to use gentle and kind words, as well as loving others with our actions too.
  4. Love does not insist on its own way – Love is not selfish. It’s actually the complete opposite, selfless. When we look at Jesus, we can start to see how He loved. A major way He loved others was by helping and serving others.
  5. Love is not irritable or resentful – Love is not frustrated, annoyed, or irritated. Are we allowed to be upset about a situation? Yes. But we still have to respond in a loving manner and forgive those around us.
  6. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing and rejoices with the truth- Love does not like anything evil or wicked. Love is a way of obeying God and respecting those around us.
  7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things – Love is having faith and hope that God is working everything out for our good. It is carrying each other’s burdens and riding the rollercoaster of life with others.

HOW DOES GOD LOVE US:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17

In the first two chapters of Genesis, it talks about a time before sin came into the world. How everything was good and perfect. However, once Adam and Eve ate the fruit that they were told not to, sin came into the world. Even though Adam and Eve disobeyed God, God still loved His people that He created. He sent His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins. He gave us the gift of salvation. He even gave us free will to make our own choices. God shows His love for us in the Bible multiple times. 

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:7-8

HOW ARE WE CALLED TO LOVE OTHERS:

The Bible talks much about how we are to love others, but I want to focus on two different stories that capture the way we are to love.

In the book of Genesis, we are told that God created man in His own image. He placed Adam in the garden, and God provided Adam with everything he needed including food and water. Even with all that God had given Adam, God still said “it is not good for man to be alone”. So, God took a rib from Adam and formed it into a woman.

And the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed. – Genesis 2:25

Adam and Eve stood together not ashamed of one another and completely accepting of each another. To God, they were perfect because they had no sin in them. There was no evil and it was good. However, once they ate from the fruit, Adam and Eve realized they were naked and covered themselves with fig leaves.

Here’s the thing though. Adam and Eve accepted one another for who they truly were in the beginning. They were totally vulnerable with each other, yet they did not ask God “can you give me someone else to be with?” No, they stood together as one flesh and truly accepted each other for who God created them to be.

We also can see how to love others based on how Jesus loved the people around Him. Jesus served people. He healed people. He chose to fellowship with those around Him. He was fully accepting of the people He met and came to die for sinners, not for perfect and polished people.

I think in life we want loving people to be easy. We have expectations of people, and we want them to cooperate with us so that we don’t have to worry about love. We don’t have to add that to the stress list. I think when we have issues loving others, we have issues with accepting others as they truly are.

God loves us exactly the way we are. He just does not love our sin. We have to do the same for those we come in contact with. 

There are totally going to be times in your life where you will not get along with others. But it’s not that you hate the person. You just hate their sin. You hate the cruel thing they did to you. You hate the gossip that they shared about you. You hate their sin. God tells us to love people, and we can still love people while hating their sin.

Jesus came to show us how to restore not only our relationship with God but also how to restore our relationships with each other. We are still able to fully know and deeply love each other. But, that starts with being vulnerable and accepting one another for who they truly are. Who God made them to be. We also have to stop hiding who we truly are and stop being ashamed of the body, the mind, and the personality that God gave each of us.

God perfectly designed you to be you. He loves you exactly the way you are. We are all messy people. We all sin and fall short, but let’s start loving each other and accepting each other for who God created us to be, inside and out. 

With love,

Claire Reed

Power of the Holy Spirit

This morning, I woke up feeling like I needed to just go get some fresh air and read a good book. So, I grabbed a book, got some coffee, and went to a nice grassy area by the reservoir. I laid out a blanket on the ground, took my chacos off, and thought to myself “wow, this is so nice and calm”. Barely anyone was there.

I opened my book and read about a page and a half when I heard a loud tractor near me. I thought to myself “hmm that sounds pretty close”. I stood up, and the tractor was about 8 feet away from me and moving right towards me.

Quickly, I grabbed my things and headed back to the car, trying not to get run over or cause a scene with the tractor man. I got in my car and immediately, I was a little annoyed. I thought “man, no one is even here. it’s so nice and peaceful here. I just want to read my book and get a change of scenery.”

After a few seconds, I looked down at the tractor man, and I just started laughing in my car. I wasn’t exactly sure why at that moment I was laughing, but I think I just thought the whole situation was funny. I felt like everything was nice, peaceful, and chill when I was laying down. Then, a tractor comes along and for a hot minute, he “ruined” the moment. I say “ruined” because the tractor man didn’t really ruin anything.

I still had my book and was able to read it in my car. I still got a change of scenery and some fresh air, while sitting in the back of my car with the hatchback open. Life was still peaceful, nice, and chill. It was just different than what I expected.

I think that’s what is kind of humorous about life. We go through it with all these expectations and plans. Sometimes, those plans can get canceled or delayed, which can be really upsetting.

But sometimes, they can still happen, and you can find some joy in those moments.

A good chunk of the time, we can be tempted to fall into a mood when things don’t go the way we plan. But, I think it’s important to realize that even when the circumstances look different than you planned, you are still able to have joy and gratitude in your heart. You are still able to focus on the good.

Why is that? Because if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have the Holy Spirit inside of you.

I think in the world, we tend to forget about the power of the Holy Spirit, that literally lives INSIDE of you. It’s always there.

In Max Lucado’s book, Unshakable Hope, he focuses on the power of the Holy Spirit in a few chapters. He made this one statement that still blows my mind every time I read it:

“The Holy Spirit is central to the life of the Christian. Everything that happens from the book of Acts to the end of the book of Revelation is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit of Christ.”

How cool is that? From Acts to Revelation. That’s a good chunk of the Bible (and most of the New Testament).

The Spirit lived in the disciples and gave them the strength to do more work for God’s kingdom during that time. The Spirit also allowed them to not only think the way that God thinks but also love others the way God loves. And the Spirit can do the same for you and me.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

The Spirit is also able to give us fruits and gifts. Since we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, we are able to be joyful, patient, kind, and faithful. We are able to love like Jesus and see things the way He sees things. Jesus tells us to ask and we will receive it.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

Now, just like fruit on a tree, it takes time for it to grow. But while growing with the Lord, you’re able to not only receive theses fruits but also learn so much more about your worth and purpose in life. You’re able to come to an understanding that no matter what circumstances are around you, you are in Christ and the Holy Spirit lives in you. And that’s a POWERFUL thing right there.

So, the next time something doesn’t go exactly the way you plan, focus on the good in the situation and laugh it off. Ask God to give you an understanding of the situation and a sense of joy. Try to make the most of the situation and remember the power of the Holy Spirit that lives inside of you, friend.

With love,

Claire

Let's Build Each Other Up

A few days ago, I had a lot of mixed feelings about this whole coronavirus issue. I was annoyed, disappointed, and frustrated. Graduation got postponed. Plans got cancelled. The future looked completely uncertain.

Here’s the thing though. The future has always been uncertain, even when we felt like we were in control. Yes, we had plans in motion, but there are a thousand and one ways to where those plans could have not happened. Maybe you went on a trip recently. But think about it, the plane could have gotten delayed, the weather could have been super bad, the electricity could have gone out, your car could have died, etc. There are tons of ways to where your trip could not have even happened or not have gone the way you thought.

That’s the thing about control. As humans, we think we are in control of almost everything. But I think God likes to remind us that we are not in control as much as we think. God wants to show us that He is in control. He wants to teach us that the only thing we can truly control is OUR ACTIONS.

So what now? Now that our plans got cancelled. Now that we have to do this “social distancing” and stay home. What do we do?

I’ve been live streaming church services since this whole pandemic started. And every time I watch a live stream, there’s always this saying that is said:

“The church is not a building. It is a body of believers.”

You might have heard that before or something similar to it. But think about it. We aren’t going to a physical church building until this is over. We aren’t gathering together with a large number of believers as much as we use to. Things look a little bit different now. But we are still called by God to do the same things.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. – Acts 2:42

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

We are still called to carry each other’s burdens. We are still called to fellowship. We are still called to glorify our Father. We are still called to love. The only thing that has changed is the Earthly environment around us.

So what can we do during this time?

1. Pray. Pray for the country. Pray for the world. Pray for the leaders. Pray for the workers, who are serving in different places. Pray for your family. Pray for your friends. Pray for your classmates. Pray for your co-workers. Pray for yourself.

Prayer is so important to our lives. It is so significant for us to continue to rely on each other and support one another. In the book of Galatians, God calls us to carry each other’s burdens and pray for one another. I know sometimes asking for prayer can be nerve-racking or scary. You might be thinking “people are gonna judge me” or “they aren’t even gonna care”. However, prayer is powerful. God can do some amazing things with our prayers.

I’ve created a prayer request form. It’s anonymous and will remain confidential. If you know that you need prayer for something and do not feel like you can carry something on your own, use this. Doesn’t matter what the prayer request is. What matters is that you aren’t on your own. You are being prayed for and God hears your prayers.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdDB0P_6kAC4Dg9o7-z9EFN74bTmbVbgNFSFzyvxUj6Pt_7wA/viewform?usp=sf_link

2. Fellowship. Social distancing is still important, but God has blessed us with many forms of technology now. We can call, message, and FaceTime with each other through technology. Use that. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Check-in on them. Message someone and send an encouraging message to them. Let’s continue to fellowship and build each other up.

3. Lastly, remain in Christ. During this time of isolating, we might have a lot of extra time on our hands. We aren’t constantly on the go, having to do fifty different errands. Instead of spending all of your time watching tv or playing games, open your Bible. Start a new bible study. There are a bunch of apps that can help you with this.

Play some worship music. Make a gratitude journal. Remember who God is and what He is doing in your life. Make a note of the good things going on in your life. Make a prayer journal. Make good use of your free time and listen to what He has to say.

During this time, glorify God in all that you do.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Let’s use our time wisely. We do not know what could come next, but whatever that is, let’s be prepared to face it together with Christ.

To whoever is reading this, you are loved, you are seen, and you are heard by our incredible God. During this time of uncertainty, remember that our God is good, and He is in control of the future! Stay safe!

With love,

Claire

Full of Faith

Trust. It’s something I’ve been struggling with lately. Trying to trust what’s going to come next in my life. Trying to trust my decisions. Trying to trust others around me.

I think fear can creep in real easily when we don’t have plans set before us. When we can’t see the road up ahead and really don’t know what is next for us. Sometimes, it can feel like your just sitting at a red light for a long time, waiting for a turn signal or a green light saying go. 

And when fear creeps in, the ability to trust sneaks out. The devil is tricky like that. He wants us to be full of fear. He wants us to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about everything in our life. But God wants us to be full of faith. 

That’s something I’ve been praying lately for. To be full of faith. Not just half full, or 3/4s full. But FULL of faith. All the way.

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:19-23

To be full of faith, you have to be full of the truth that God is faithful. You have to remember the times in your life where Jesus didn’t fail you. Where He stood with you and helped you through your struggles, your doubts, and your anxieties. When you can remember the past faithfulness of God in your life, you can believe the future faithfulness of God. Why is that?

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8

You’ve seen Him make a way for you before. So be full of faith and believe that He will do it again.

With love,

Claire