Have you ever noticed how closely love and the Holy Spirit are connected in the Bible?
“Can’t say that I have.”
Well, love is the first piece of fruit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. Some even think it’s the basic quality from which the other items listed flow.
“Of course, now that you mention it, I remember it as the first fruit of the Spirit.
And, sometime, check out Colossians 1:8 where, in passing, Paul mentions “your love by the Spirit.”
“What do you think that means?”
Much the same as the longer reference in Romans 5:5 where Paul wrote,
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.
Before regeneration (of which the pouring is a picture) no one is capable of expressing God-like or God-pleasing love. Others may love with a sort of ersatz love, but the vertical dimension is totally missing from it.
“What does that mean?”
It means that God is left out of the picture; that such love has a heavy self-focus rather than an other-focus (and, in particular, leaving out God as the significant Other).
“Tell me more.”
O.K. To love God with all of one’s heart, mind, body and soul, and his neighbor as himself, isn’t really possible unless such one is enabled by the Holy Spirit to do so. That’s why, for instance, in Romans 15: 30 love is called “the Spirit’s love.”
“ How is that?”
The Holy Spirit helps us love others by causing us to remember God’s love in Christ whenever we extend love to Him or our neighbor. We understand that true love is always like His—the giving of ourselves to and for God and our neighbors. How one thinks about love makes a great deal of difference.
You see, the Spirit within the believer helps him recall the love of God in Christ, We love—in the right way—because Jesus first loved us. So, in a vital sense, the Spirit is the Source of such love.
True love isn’t flat, cardboard love; it’s three dimensional. It’s real. What brings it to life in a relationship is the presence of the Holy Spirit Who shapes it in ways that honor and please God, and bless people.
“I see. So, love in a marriage—or any other relationship—is bound to be deficient unless it is love that has been generated and formed in a believer by the Spirit.”
When the Spirit was poured into a believer’s heart, along with Him came this new capacity to see how God is intimately related to love of all sorts. He is the One Who showed us what love meant when Christ expressed it by dying for our sins on the cross.
“And it’s the Spirit Who reminds us of this and helps us see how God’s love is the standard to which ours ought to conform?”
You’ve got it!