"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain..." John 15:16
The fruit that shall remain is the Word of God, for only the Word shall abide forever. The fruit of the Spirit then is the Word of God evident in the life of the believer in its mature state with all of the attributes of Christ. Galatians 5:22-23 lists these attributes of Christ which must mature within the heart of each believer.
The first attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is love.
"On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:40
Let us take a moment and see what two commandments are being referenced in verse 40. In verse 36 of the same chapter, one who was well learned in the law tried to tempt Christ, by asking, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"
Christ's answer is all inclusive. "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
But the discourse did not end there. Jesus continued with, "And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
We are instructed to love God with all of our being. We adore him with the total sum of ourselves; our thoughts, our emotions, our actions, and our attitudes. We are to give honor to Him as Creator.
To go further in our definition of love is understanding that love is not complete by just loving the Creator. We are instructed to love His creation also and to love that created being just as we love ourselves. It is here, in our human frailty, that many struggle with their own self worth. When we struggle to love, to accept, and to believe in our own selves, it affects our ability to accept that the Creator loves us as we are. Then we falter in the fulfillment of the scripture which is to have true love for others.
There are practical steps to ensure we are truly loving God with all of our being. We practice a daily devotional life of praise and Bible study to grow in our knowledge of Him. We commit to church attendance for spiritual food and fellowship with the saints.
We practice self examination of our mental and emotional attitudes and are not afraid to scrutinize those areas in our personality makeup which require change to bring our self will more in line with His will; accepting His truth that He first loved us. We forgive ourselves in our weaknesses and mistakes as we accept His grace to learn from them and to grow. We mature in our thought patterns and our coping skills knowing that bringing change in these areas will help us to be more inclined to accept others with gracious love.
Is it any wonder that the right condition of our relationship with God and our relationships with others is dependent upon the first attribute of the Fruit of the Spirit; love?