“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” Why? Because nothing but love can expel and conquer
Self is the great curse, whether in its relation to God, or to our fellow-men in general,
or to fellow-Christians, thinking of ourselves and seeking our own. Self is our greatest curse.
But, praise God, Christ came to redeem us from self. We sometimes talk about deliverance
from the self-life—and thank God for every word that can be said about it to help us—but
I am afraid some people think deliverance from the self-life means that now they are going
to have no longer any trouble in serving God; and they forget that deliverance from self-life
means to be a vessel overflowing with love to everybody all the day.
And there you have the reason why many people pray for the power of the Holy Spirit,
and they get something, but oh, so little! because they prayed for power for work, and power
for blessing, but they have not prayed for power for full deliverance from self. That means
not only the righteous self in intercourse with God, but the unloving self in intercourse with
men. And there is deliverance. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” I bring you the glorious
promise of Christ that He is able to fill our hearts with love.
A great many of us try hard at times to love. We try to force ourselves to love, and I do
not say that is wrong; it is better than nothing. But the end of it is always very sad. “I fail
continually,” such a one must confess. And what is the reason? The reason is simply this:
Because they have never learned to believe and accept the truth that the Holy Spirit can
pour God’s love into their heart. That blessed text; often it has been limited!—“The love of
God is shed abroad in our hearts” (Rom. 5:5). It has often been understood in this sense: It
means the love of God to me. Oh, what a limitation! That is only the beginning. The love of
God is always the love of God in its entirety, in its fullness as an indwelling power, a love of
God to me that leaps back to Him in love, and overflows to my fellow-men in love—God’s
love to me, and my love to God, and my love to my fellow-men. The three are one; you
cannot separate them.
Do believe that the love of God can be shed abroad in your heart and mine so that we
can love all the day. “Ah!” you say, “how little I have understood that!”
Why is a lamb always gentle? Because that is its nature. Does it cost the lamb any trouble
to be gentle? No. Why not? It is so beautiful and gentle. Has a lamb to study to be gentle?
No. Why does that come so easy? It is its nature. And a wolf—why does it cost a wolf no
trouble to be cruel, and to put its fangs into the poor lamb or sheep? Because that is its
nature. It has not to summon up its courage; the wolf-nature is there.
And how can I learn to love? Never until the Spirit of God fills my heart with God’s
love, and I begin to long for God’s love in a very different sense from which I have sought
it so selfishly, as a comfort and a joy and a happiness and a pleasure to myself; never until
I begin to learn that “God is love,” and to claim it, and receive it as an indwelling power for
self-sacrifice; never until I begin to see that my glory, my blessedness, is to be like God and
like Christ, in giving up everything in myself for my fellow-men. May God teach us that!
Oh, the divine blessedness of the love with which the Holy Spirit can fill our hearts! “The
fruit of the Spirit is love.”