(Editor’s Note: Matthew Broyles is Pastor to Emerging Adults at First Baptist Church and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Congregational Ethics, started by former Logsdon School of Theology professor Bill Tillman. Broyles shared this reflection, which originally was written for the Center for Congregational Ethics)
By MATTHEW BROYLES
(The following reflection is drawn from Galatians 5:16-25 and appeared on the Center for Congregational Ethics’ Facebook page.)
Love the Lord your God. Love your neighbor. These are the two great commandments.
Pursuing love and letting love flow from the essence of our lives is what we are called to be as followers of Christ. But has love become a buzzword for us? Have we lost the meaning of love? Or, maybe we’ve become so lovey-dovey that we’ve forgotten the nitty gritty.
Our passage for today is the famous fruit of the Spirit passage. And in the list of the fruit of the Spirit, love is number one. It is followed by joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Now as I list those, I find it ironic that I’m writing this post for Facebook, which is where so many of these fruit become rotten.
Most Christians want to love but may disagree on how love is lived. This is the difficulty. What if love looks like the words and actions that follow? What if love meant we were patient with those whom we disagree, and even kind to them. What if we chose to use self-control when our words or actions will only add fuel to the fire? Is this not the way of love? Is this not a way to love God and our neighbor?
People can see Christians and wonder where the love is. If they saw the rest of the fruit, they might not wonder so much. I encourage you to work through the list of fruit, and even the list of rotten fruit listed in verses 19-21! What rotten fruit needs to be pruned? What fruit needs to be watered so that you can be sure you are walking in step with the Spirit?