Today’s verses are towards the end of the passage we’ve been looking at over the last few weeks. Here we are challenged to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. One of the results of this fruit bearing is that we will be given whatever it is we ask of God. But the reason we are given this command to bear fruit – as well as to abide – is so that we may love one another. What is interesting in our passage is that the disciples are not told what the fruits are that they should be bearing. If you ‘google’ Fruits of the Holy Spirit you will find that there are 9 fruits that are most commonly referred to. I hope you will look these up as I might just ask you what you think they are. If you happen to come across the listing of the Fruits of the Spirit that the Roman Catholic church follows you will see there are 12 fruits of the Spirit.
We actually need to go to the letter to the Galatians to find out just what the fruits are. No matter if you ‘google’ this list, or go to Galatians chapter 5, or even manage to remember the list, the first fruit just happens to be love. This is the essence of Christ’s message here in John – that we love one another.
The goal of the gift of love, or we could say the fruit of love, is to enrich and enhance the person whom we love rather than to extract value from them. C. S. Lewis says of this gift of love; increase rather than to acquire or to diminish. Gift love is more like a bountiful, artesian well that continues to “Gift love moves out to bless and to overflow than a vacuum or a black hole.” Lewis concludes that is what God’s love is all about. In other words, God’s love is gift love, not need love. This, of course, is the meaning of love. It denotes an undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good for agape love. Agape is one of the Greek words for others, no matter their behaviour. It is a love that gives freely without asking anything in return and does not consider the worth of its object. Agape is a love by choice and it refers to the will rather than the emotion. Agape describes the unconditional love God has for the world. Paul describes love in 1 Corinthians 13:4–8, this is a passage that is frequently read at weddings. We are told that love never fails, that is always perseveres and so love is definitely a fruit that will last. Jay Robinson