If you want to see some weird people in your life, then while at a Christian college go to the place that couples hang out. At my college it really looked like a furniture store of loveseats and couches from the 70’s. But more interesting than the bad taste in furniture is the love in the air you find there. You probably will want to vomit when you see how long a boy and a girl can just sit there and stare at each other. They aren’t playing a card game. They aren’t doing homework. Sometimes they aren’t really saying anything. They are just staring. Some people would say they’re in love, but I say they are just crazy!
In Galatians 5:22-23, we have the fruit of the Spirit. When you look at the fruit of the spirit the first of the nine elements listed is love. This is definitely not that love you would see in that 70’s furniture store. The love (agape) is an “act of an intelligent estimate of the object of love which focuses on the attributes and character” (Vincent, v. 4 p. 166). Let me explain.
Do you remember the childhood statement, “If you love it, why don’t you marry it”? Of all the ridiculous things that come out of the mouths of darling children, this has to be at the top of the list. You say you love watermelon ice cream, and some kid says, “If you love it, why don’t you marry it!” Then not being very intelligent yourself you tried to explain to the afore mentioned individual that you were emphasizing the connotative and not the denotative meaning. A waste of breath (but I know what you meant). Anyway when you say you love watermelon ice cream, we know you appreciate the qualities of sweetness and flavor. Maybe you enjoy the cool, light sensation. Your intelligent estimation of watermelon ice cream creates this love.
This is the meaning of love in Galatians 5:22. The fruit of the Spirit begins with the most important element, love. This isn’t an ushy gushy feeling. It is an intelligent estimation of people and things in your life. You see Christians as sons and daughters of the King of Kings. You see the unsaved as precious souls spending eternity in Hell unless they accept Christ. You see the things of the world as frivolous and of little value while you see the gifts of God in your life as vital. You see God as the Source of your life and liberty, and you can’t wait to see Him one day. This is love–agape, love.
So how are you doing with the first of the fruit of the Spirit? Is there love in the air? The right kind of love?