Impossible Love Made Possible
When a lawyer asked which commandment was greatest, Jesus’ answer was, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” He also quoted a second one: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 39). What an overwhelming assignment!
In our own strength, none of us can live up to this obligation, but God has provided a way for Christians to do the impossible. The indwelling Holy Spirit works to produce His fruit in us, and first on the list is love (Gal. 5:22). In fact, the other eight qualities are really just descriptions of its expression.
Whenever we demonstrate kindness, patience, or gentleness, we see the Lord’s love at work through us, especially when the other person has been unkind and doesn’t deserve such pleasant treatment. This fruit is not produced by trying harder to muster good will toward someone who is irritating or hard to get along with. Instead, think of the process more like sap running through a branch on a grapevine. The branch doesn’t make grapes; the sap does. In the same way, the Spirit flows through us, producing God’s love in us so that we, in turn, can pass it on to others.
Agape—or divine love—is the reason we are able to care for someone who mistreats us; it’s God’s doing, not ours. Even the adoration we offer the Lord is not something that we can produce in our own heart apart from His assistance. Though the command to love is enormous and weighty, God’s grace is enough to make it possible.