Is There a Law Against Love?

While Paul wrote that there is no law against love, Tolstoy wrote there is a law of love. He believed that no law prohibits choosing to do what is loving. The Christian is not threatened by external things when he is liberated within to love.

“The divine law of love, which is implanted in the soul of every man and is brought into consciousness by Christ.” –

The Kingdom of God Is Within You by Leo Tolstoy

Three hundred burka-clad women stood at the gate imploring to get in to give their last respects to their beloved doctor. Security forces had warned hospital staff to let only Christians in for the funeral. But these Muslim women would have none of that, they would bring down the gate if they couldn’t say good-bye to the German doctor who had loved them and delivered their babies for over 20 years. Hospital staff decided to open the doors, but under one condition. To ensure identity and that no militants entered disguised as women, every woman went against strict conservative norms to lift her veil, exposing her face to a male, as she walked through the gate.

The lady doctor had served the people in a tribal part of Pakistan, in an area that even police officials dared not trod. Everyone received special care at the hospital whether they were Muslim, Christian, military or Taliban. All experienced the doctor’s loving care, especially the women. She was so well-loved and respected that the Government of Pakistan awarded her a prestigious national award for her dedicated humanitarian work in that region.

The women poured into the church and wept for the one who had loved them so much. Her love, kindness, and gentleness turned potential hostility into friendliness.

Is There a Law Against the Fruit of the Spirit?

Paul says there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit. But that was centuries ago, what about today? A quick search of Google says it is still true. There is no law against the kind of love Paul writes to us about. Rather, the fruit often breaks down barriers and binds enemies into friends.

I live in a restricted country where we must be careful what we say and who we associate with. We must be mindful not to loudly declare our displeasure with anything or anyone in the establishment. That is if we value our lives. My husband and I laughingly say, “We have no rights, only responsibilities. And ours is the bigger word.” No one can object to love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Some have bad-mouthed us in the face of kindness, but we will never be charged for having and demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. Others have seen the fruit and it has softened the heart and bound us together.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

No Water for Ablution

To illustrate I will share one more story.

Adil’s employee approached him, “The water pump at the mosque is broken and no one can wash before prayers.” Adil picked up his toolbox and with his employee in tow, went to the neighbourhood mosque to repair the pump. Fortunately, it was an easy fix he could do with a little help from his employee. A gaunt old man, leaning against his cane, watched. When the repairs were finished, he turned to the religious leader and asked, “Where are all your rich cronies? Could they not do this task? Look, here is the one you call a kafar (infidel) doing it for us. He didn’t have to do it, but out of the kindness of his heart he came.” An act of kindness is noticed and usually well-received.

And that, folks, brings my posts on the fruit of the Spirit to a conclusion.

The next time you see that prostitute, that gay person, that transgender, that Muslim, Hindu, atheist, whoever it might be; how can you demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit with that person? How can we love our neighbour as ourselves? In what ways can we be a Good Samaritan to those who are outside our comfort zone?

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The Fruit of Self-Control: Something I Need

The Fruit of Self-Control: Something I Need

When we think of someone with a lack of self-control, perhaps we turn to a historical figure like Henry VIII. Henry is known for his enormous appetite, six wives and multiple executions during his reign. One could say that he overindulged and had no self-control. But we don’t have to go back into history, most of us overindulge at the dinner table at Christmas, New Years’ Day, Thanksgiving or on other festive times. You might be wondering what controlling our appetites has to do with the fruit of self-control. Surely, Paul is talking about a different kind of control. Isn’t he? The self-control Paul talks about is sensual appetites and desires that requires not only mental but also physical self-control, something we all need more of.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

I Could Do with More Self-Control

Couldn’t we all! So how do we get more self-control over our bodies and minds? Where do we get that power? It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the ability to exercise self-control. So, there you have it folks, try as you might, on your own, the amount of self-control we need to be fruitful isn’t from within, it’s from the Holy Spirit. That is a relief and takes the pressure off us as we turn to God and ask him for another measure of self-control. We don’t have to do it by ourselves. Let’s run to our Abba Father and ask him for the self-control we need.

Okay, it can help us control our appetite and maybe lose a pound or two, but what else can it do? Besides keeping us from sensual sins, what benefits does self-control have?

Creates Harmony, Not Discord

A gentle response, rather than words spoken hastily in anger, creates harmony. Controlling our tempers doesn’t mean that we can’t be upset, but maybe it is that proverbial counting to ten before speaking that creates peace in the family or the workplace. Disciplining a child should be a controlled event, not a cuff over the head with curses angrily spoken. Relationships flourish rather than diminish when the fruit of self-control is exercised.

Strengthens our Relationship with God

This is a rich one. With a strengthened relationship in God, often our other relationships are strengthened too. The graphic illustration of a vertical relationship with God means a horizontal relationship with people. While this is often true, it isn’t always so. New believers from other religions embrace Christ, often at great costs. What is most precious is Jesus Christ and him alone. Paul understood that when he said, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3: 8). We don’t know how Paul’s family took his conversion to Jesus Christ, but being Pharisees, I imagine some members were not happy with him. Yet, he held himself in control to follow Christ. Furthermore, he often likened the Christian life to that of an athlete in training. Athletes require lots of self-control. Self-control encourages perseverance which means the prize at the end of the race will be won.

What area of your life requires more self-control? How will you acquire that added measure of self-control?

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Faithfulness’ Dependency on the Holy Spirit

Good fruit on a tree isn’t produced independently of the tree, nor of the nutrients flowing up the roots towards the branches. Good fruit isn’t produced just because the branch wants it so. So where do we go when we are commanded to bear the fruit of faithfulness? 

The apostles had it right when they cried, “Increase our faith.” They knew apart from Jesus, their faith was weak, perhaps even not apparent. We are no different than the apostles, our faithfulness is dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

What Does Faithfulness Look Like?

The beginning of faith is a belief in God, the conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, and it is him that gives us eternal life. That is the evidence of the fruit faithfulness.

We Trust God

We trust God because he is faithful. He has already shown us what faithfulness looks like. We have learned through time and experience that God is faithful, we are confident in his faithfulness towards us.

“All the promises of God are yes, in Christ Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

God is a promise keeper. When we pray and God answers, we learn he is faithful. Over time, when we realize God protects us and provides for us all the time, our confidence in his faithfulness increases.

His Faithfulness Increases our Dependability

Because of God’s fidelity, we become faithful not only to God but to our word and promises. Soon people find that they can trust us or even confide in us about their deepest secrets.

Christian women who work with South Asian women quickly become the sole confidant for these Asian women because they know that their secrets go nowhere but to God. They have confidence that their Christian friend will not gossip.

This is a reflection on the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers who say we must produce fruit worthy of a faithful and trustworthy God. God says we are not to gossip; therefore, we will keep his word. It’s all about him.

The Fruit of Faithfulness Is Not a Feeling

Faithfulness is not a feeling we have towards God, but rather is a demonstration of the influences of the Holy Spirit who directs and controls our feelings towards people. The Christian is a faithful wife, husband, child, neighbour, employee. A Christian is someone others can depend on. We are reliable in our words and actions.

Even in difficulties and opposition, we are to be found faithful to those around us and to God. Only the work of the Holy Spirit can produce that kind of faithfulness. Even if others are not faithful to us, God calls us to exercise the fruit of faithfulness.

What are some examples of bearing the fruit of faithfulness when others are not faithful towards us, or when we are going through difficulties? Maybe you have a compelling story to tell about faithfulness.

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How Good is the Fruit of Goodness?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “good” as having a “favourable character”. That would be Charlie Brown. “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” allows us to love Charlie who is friendly and polite and strives to triumph over difficulties. He is a good man, but is this the kind of goodness Paul is talking about? How good is the fruit of goodness? And can we be that good?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

What Does Goodness Mean in the Bible?

Goodness has to do with uprightness of heart and life. Are we an upright character? That means a moral correctness that is expressed in action. It means that we must have a morally good heart that does good things. So yes, Charlie Brown is good, but as believers we need to go further and look to Him who is holy. That is the true measure of goodness. Furthermore, we cannot achieve that degree of goodness on our own, we need Him who transforms lives.

“We pray for God’s power to help you do all the good things you hope to do, and your faith makes you want to do.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

Lest We Get Too Proud

A ruler came to Jesus and said, “Good teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?” Then Jesus questioned him and said that only God is good. On our own we are terribly flawed. Even our righteous acts are as filthy rags. We are all sinners and none of us does good. Oh, God help us to be good like Jesus, like you. We need God’s help desperately.

We are called to bear the fruit of goodness. Unless we are grafted into the good tree, the good branch we can bear no fruit. It may appear as good, but it is flawed. Terribly flawed.

Self-righteousness, conceit, false motivations, all these “hidden agenda’s creep into any goodness we attempt on our own. May the cleansing blood of Jesus produce in us good fruit worthy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town probably expresses goodness better, “He knows if you’ve been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake!” What if we wrote instead, “Jesus knows if you have been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake! Jesus is coming to town tonight.”

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The Fruit of Kindness by Helen Khan

“Kind words of a friend when your outlook is gloom, how it brightens your day like the dawn” are two lines from one of my mother’s favourite hymns, The Best Things in Life are Free. We all need kind words and we all like to think that we are kind. Maybe we are kind some of the time, but can we say that we are overflowing with the fruit of kindness? Do we need to always bear fruit? Do we bear fruit in season only and when is that season?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5: 22-23 (NIV)

I don’t find a Bible verse that says I can pick the season when I bear fruit. When I read passages that say, “always be ready”, that means I need to always be fruitful. But the truth is I am incapable of bearing fruit all the time. I am not always kind. I need help, I need to be filled. Where can I get a good outpouring of kindness to fill my cup?

Jesus is Kindness Personified

Jesus is the ultimate example and outpouring of kindness. God, in his great lovingkindness towards us, laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all so that we might be saved from destruction and have LIFE with him, now and forever more. He bore our transgressions while we were yet sinners so that we would be saved from death. This is called unconditional love, a condition of kindness

God calls us to be imitators of him, as beloved children to walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But this too is impossible without God’s help. It is through Jesus our minds are renewed when we “put on the new self that has been created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4: 24 NIV). It is only in Jesus we bear the fruit of kindness in and out of season.

Kindness is Love in ACTION.

Kindness has many synonyms: generousness, consideration, mercifulness, charitableness and many more. It is only kindness if there is no expectation of praise or reward. (I think most of us fail this test.) I know of only one who passed it. His name is Jesus.

Every act and every word that Jesus did while on earth was an expression of pure lovingkindness. His kindness was of the radical variety for he befriended prostitutes, tax-collectors, the poor, the ragged and even a thief on a cross. Oh, what a liberal he was!

Liberal you say! This is not a political statement – that is a whole different discussion. I am playing with words because Jesus was liberal with the sinner but never liberal with sin.

Jesus bent down and told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. He had compassion for her but not for her sin. Jesus showed mercy, compassion, sorrow for the downtrodden sinner and righteous indignation with the religious bigots. He touched the leper, the blind, the repentant sinner and wept for the self-righteous who didn’t recognise their disease and need for the Physician.

This was LOVE in ACTION.

This is what kindness is, an outpouring of love that is active and touches lives. In Aesop’s fable The Lion and the Mouse, “the moral of the story is no act of kindness is ever wasted.” God’s kindness towards us is not wasted. Let us pour out the fruit of kindness unto EVERYONE because God has so generously poured out lovingkindness for us.

I would love to hear back from you about stories of kindness. Has someone shown kindness to you? Have you shown kindness to someone who needed “kind words when their outlook was gloom”? Please leave a comment about kindness.

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The Fruit of Love by Helen Khan

man and woman pose on a cross monument

The love I want to talk about today isn’t the 1955 film Love is a Many Splendored Thing kind, although it is needed in every relationship. And pure love is certainly multi-splendored. Jesus said that we will know a tree by its fruit. But to pull this analogy further, a tree can only produce a certain kind of fruit. The fruit doesn’t determine the tree, but the tree determines the fruit it bears.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

If that be true, the tree determines the fruit, what tree produces love?

Love is From God

We cannot love outside of God’s realm. We can only love because he first loved us. If he hadn’t shown us his love, we would be incapable of love. So for those outside of Christ, true agape love is impossible. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

There we have it folks, unless we are rooted in Christ, we cannot bear fruit. We can’t bear the fruit of love. If you are fruitless, then maybe you want to anchor your branches in the vine who is Christ Jesus.

Now, none of us are perfect and we do have our bad days when not much fruit is falling from our branches. And bearing fruit takes time. A small tree (even one anchored in Christ) takes time to mature, blossom and produce fruit. Weak, immature branches cannot bear the weight of heavy fruit. It is the desire to bear fruit for God that is important. I am not saying because I don’t see love in your life today, you are not in Christ. I leave this for your self-examination.

Love, especially agape love is indeed a many splendored thing. There are so many facets to love that flows from God and channels through us. So what does the fruit of love look like?

Love for God

I heard a lady on a Christian program say that the fruit of love was what we directed towards other people. Somehow she missed saying that this fruit is also directed to God, maybe foremostly directed towards him. I believe that you can’t love without loving God first.

To love God is to know him. Without knowing him, how can you love him? To love God is to put him first. He is top priority above all else. We are commanded to love him with all our soul, mind and strength. Of course our love for him is seen in how we love others, but he is first. To love God is to praise him, thank him, fall down and worship him. And to love him is to desire him as the “deer pants for the waters, so our soul pants after him, our souls thirst for Him”, to paraphrase the Psalmist. We will spend time with him in prayer, reading His Word, communing with him. And we will obey him.

Love for Self

Proverbs 19: 8 tells us those who acquire wisdom love themselves. Where does wisdom come from? From God. The Psalmist in Psalm 139: 14 calls us to give thanks to God because we are wonderfully made, and for those who know God’s love, who love God have learned from him that we are beautiful, and our soul is aware of it. There is a love for self that is humble and rooted in God and that love is needed for a believer to bear much fruit.

Why did I put love for self before other loves? I believe that we can’t love others without loving ourselves first. When we are caught up in low-self-esteem and negative thoughts, turning our thoughts inward to the self, it is difficult to bear the fruit of love.

Love for the Church

A love relationship with the Father means we love our siblings, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We might not always agree, we might not always like them, but we are to love them. Constantly throughout scriptures, we are admonished to love one another. This is a direct commandment to love those in the church.

Love for Non-believers

Nor are we to neglect love for outsiders. Some believers withhold their friendship and love for non-believers, but in God’s kingdom there is no place for that. I believe a good summary of how we should treat non-believers is found in Luke 6:35-36, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

So how are we to treat non-believers? With love, do good to them, lend to them, show kindness and mercy. It is okay to be friends with non-believers, just don’t conform to them – be in the world but not part of the world.

How splendid is this love that God calls us to bear! It is multi-splendored. This is the first fruit that is mentioned in Galatians 5: 22-23 and if we bear this fruit, the others will follow. I encourage you to love, first the Father and then yourself and others.

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