While reading Galatians 5 recently, I noticed a theme repeated clearly throughout the chapter. In verse 6 we read:
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
In verse 13 we read:
“Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
This thought continues into verse 14:
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Finally in verse 22 we are introduced to the famous “fruit of the Spirit.”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love...”
A friend of mine argues that there is in fact only one fruit: love. All the other attributes or characteristics listed are expressions flowing from that primary quality of love.
Are you catching the theme here? It seems amazingly clear what God asks of us and what God most highly values. Living in step with the Spirit (to reference verse 25), means living in love.
I'm not saying that doing this is easy. In fact it can be the hardest thing of all to do. When Jesus told us to love our enemies, he wasn't telling us that doing so would come naturally or easily. But it strikes me that of all the attributes and characteristics that should mark followers of Jesus, demonstrating love stands out as the clear forerunner.
Rather than calling for the Ten Commandments to be posted in our courts, schools and who-knows-where-else, we would do better to remind ourselves of the basic command of Jesus repeated here: “love your neighbor as yourself.” As Jesus says, this along with the command to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds, sums up all of the law. We don't need a bunch of regulations to judge one another. We need to look into ourselves and ask God to help us live with greater love.
I can't imagine we couldn't go too wrong by living out the injunction of verse six.
Serve one another humbly in love.
Let that be the hallmark of God's people and I think we'd see a radically different society.