...on what was important for me this past year, I find that my resolution of praying for/meditating on the spiritual fruit of love tops the list.
I was very intimidated to tackle this fruit. I didn't know what to expect. There are hundreds of Scriptural references to love. There are thousands of articles and books written on the topic of love. How could I possibly do "love" full justice?
Well, I couldn't. Not anymore then any of the other fruits I have studied. The process of learning was admittedly a little different then I envisioned. Instead of mostly academic with a little application on the side, my study has ended up being exactly the opposite. God has allowed me to learn more about love by seeing love in action first hand and by experiencing love personally.
*Love at its purest flows through sacrifice and service. I observed this in my husband for the church he serves as he calmly and steadfastly followed God's will regardless of backlash and misunderstanding. On a personal level this past month, D patiently served my every need in the hospital and in our home in a Christ-like washing of feet kind of way. It is love I will never forget!
*Love can be messy and that is ok! Love can require reaching out of, sometimes far beyond, my comfort zones. Brazil, on mission; my own town, on mission...both stretched me in different ways and got a little messy at times, but both helped me better understand the concept of who is my neighbor and how to better love my neighbor. (The book Same Kind of Different As Me was hugely impactful in this lesson.)
*Love is a choice of obedience and really needs to come from a genuine heart submitted to Christ. I can choose to love my enemies (those who hurt me), doing good to them and praying for them...but only through His strength will I find long term success. In this past year, I experienced a personal, fresh understanding of love and forgiveness and freedom.
*God is love. So simple. So true. All other love flows from the Original and Pure love of God into all the little aspects of my life.
I shouldn't have been intimidated last January. But thinking back, I am glad that I didn't know what to expect from "love" because in my ignorance I might have tried to avoid some of these lessons.