The Fruit of the Spirit is Love
- Andrew Murray,
I want to look at the fact of a life filled with the Holy
Spirit more from the practical side. I want to show how this life will
reveal itself in our daily walk and conduct.
Under the Old Testament you know the Holy Spirit often came upon men as a
divine Spirit of revelation to reveal the mysteries of God, or for power to
do the work of God. But He did not dwell in them then. Now, many just want
the Old Testament gift of power for work. But, they know very little of the
New Testament gift of the indwelling Spirit, animating and renewing the
whole life. When God gives the Holy Spirit, His great object is the
formation of a holy character. It is a gift of a holy mind and spiritual
disposition, and what we need, above everything else, is to say:
"I must have the Holy Spirit sanctifying my whole inner life if I am really
to live for God's glory. "
You might say that when Christ promised the Spirit to the disciples, He did
so that they might have power to be witnesses. True, but then they received
the Holy Spirit in such heavenly power and reality that He took possession
of their whole being at once and so fitted them as holy men for doing the
work with power as they had to do it. Christ spoke of power to the
disciples, but it was the Spirit filling their whole being that worked the
I wish now to dwell upon the passage found in Galatians 5:22:
"The fruit of the Spirit is love."
We read that "Love is the fulfilling of the law"' (Romans 13: 10), and my
desire is to speak on love as a fruit of the Spirit with a twofold object.
One is that this word may be a searchlight in our hearts, and give us a test
by which to try all our thoughts about the Holy Spirit and all our
experience of the holy life. Let us try ourselves by this word. Has this
been our daily habit, to seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit as the
Spirit of love? "The fruit of the Spirit is love." Has it been our
experience that the more we have of the Holy Spirit, the more loving we
become? In claiming the Holy Spirit, we should make this the first object of
our expectation. The Holy Spirit comes as a Spirit of love.
Oh, if this were true in the Church of Christ, how different her state would
be! May God help us to get hold of this simple, heavenly truth that the
fruit of the Spirit is a love which appears in the life. Just as the Holy
Spirit gets real possession of the life, the heart will be filled with real,
divine, universal love.
One of the great causes why God cannot bless His Church is the lack of love.
When the body is divided, there cannot be strength. In the time of their
great religious wars, when Holland stood out so nobly against Spain, one of
their mottoes was: "Unity gives strength." It is only when God's people
stand as one body, one before God in the fellowship of love, one toward
another in deep affection, one before the world in a love that the world can
see-it is only then that they will have power to secure the blessing which
they ask of God. Remember that if a vessel that ought to be one whole is
cracked into many pieces, it cannot be filled. You can take one part of the
vessel and dip out a little water into that, but if you want the vessel
full, the vessel must be whole. That is literally true of Christ's Church.
And if there is one thing we must pray for still, it is this-Lord, melt us
together into one by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit, who
at Pentecost made them all of one heart and one soul, do His blessed work
among us. Praise God, we can love each other in a divine love, for "the
fruit of the Spirit is love." Give yourselves up to love, and the Holy
Spirit will come; receive the Spirit, and He will teach you to love more.
GOD IS LOVE
Now, why is it that the fruit of the Spirit is love? Because God is love (I
And what does that mean?
It is the very nature and being of God to delight in communicating Himself.
God has no selfishness; God keeps nothing to Himself. God's nature is to be
always giving. You see it, in the sun and the moon and the stars, in every
flower, in every bird in the air, in every fish in the sea. God communicates
life to His creatures. And the angels around His throne, the seraphim and
cherubim who are flames of fire where does their glory come from? It comes
from God because He is love, and He imparts to them part of His brightness
and His blessedness. And we, His redeemed children-God delights to pour His
love into us. Why? Because, as I said, God keeps nothing for Himself. From
eternity God had His only begotten Son, and the Father gave Him all things,
and nothing that God had was kept back. "God is love."
One of the old Church fathers said that we cannot better understand the
Trinity than as a revelation of divine love the Father, the loving One, the
Fountain of love-the Son, the beloved one, the Reservoir of love, in whom
the love was poured out-and the Spirit, the living love that united both and
then overflowed into this world. The Spirit of Pentecost, the Spirit of the
Father, and the Spirit of the Son is love. And when the Holy Spirit comes to
us and to other men, will He be less a Spirit of love than He is in God? It
cannot be; He cannot change His nature. The Spirit of God is love, and "the
fruit of the Spirit is love."
MANKIND NEEDS LOVE
Why is that so? That was the one great need of mankind, that was the thing
which Christ's redemption came to accomplish: to restore love to this world.
When man sinned, why was it that he sinned? Selfishness triumphed-he sought
self instead of God. And just look! Adam at once begins to accuse the woman
of having led him astray. Love to God had gone; love to man was lost. Look
again of the first two children of Adam, the one becomes a murderer of his
Does that not teach us that sin had robbed the world of love? Ah! what a
proof the history of the world has been of love having been lost! There may
have been beautiful examples of love even among the heathen, but only as a
little remnant of what was lost. One of the worst things sin did for man was
to make him selfish, for selfishness cannot love.
The Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven as the Son of God's love. "God
so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). God's
Son came to show what love is , and He lived a life of love here on earth in
fellowship with His disciples, in compassion over the poor and miserable, in
love even to His enemies. And, He died the death of love. And when He went
back to heaven, whom did He send down? The Spirit of love, to come and
banish selfishness and envy and pride, and bring the love of God into the
hearts of men. "The fruit of the Spirit is love."
And what was the preparation for the promise of the Holy Spirit? You know
that promise as found in the fourteenth chapter of John's Gospel. But
remember what precedes in the thirteenth chapter. Before Christ promised the
Holy Spirit, He gave a new commandment, and about that new commandment He
said wonderful things. One thing was: "Even as I have loved you, so love ye
one another." To them His dying love was to be the only law of their conduct
and fellowship with each other. What a message to those fishermen, to those
men full of pride and selfishness! "Learn to love each other," said Christ,
"as I have loved you." And by the grace of God they did it. When Pentecost
came, they were of one heart and one soul. Christ did it for them.
And now He calls us to live and to walk in love. He demands that though a
man hate you, still you love him. True love cannot be conquered by anything
in heaven or on earth. The more hatred there is, the more love triumphs
through it all and shows its true nature. This is the love that Christ
commanded His disciples to exercise.
What more did He say? "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).
You all know what it is to wear a badge. And Christ said to His disciples in
effect: "I give you a badge, and that badge is love. That is to be your
mark. It is the only thing in heaven or on earth by which men can know me."
Do we not begin to fear that love has fled from the earth? That if we were
to ask the world: "Have you seen us wear the badge of love?." the world
would say: "No, what we have heard of the Church of Christ is that there is
not a place where there is no quarreling and separation." Let us ask God
with one heart that we may wear the badge of Jesus' love. God is able to
LOVE CONQUERS SELFISHNESS
"The fruit of the Spirit is love." Why? Because nothing but love can expel
and conquer our selfishness.
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 no longer going to have any. trouble in serving God. 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. 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
fellowship with God, but the unloving self in fellowship 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," many must confess. And what
is the reason? The reason is simply this-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 has often been limited!-"The love of God is shed
abroad in our hearts" (Romans 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. It is 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 fellowmen. The three are one; you
cannot separate them.
Do believe that the love of God can be shed abroad in your heart and mind 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
does not have to summon up its courage; the wolf nature is there.
And how can I learn to love? I cannot learn to love 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, a
joy, a happiness, and a pleasure to myself. I will not learn it until I
realize that "God is love," and to claim and receive it as an indwelling
power for self sacrifice. I will not love 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 this! Oh, the
divine blessedness of the love with which the Holy Spirit can fill our
hearts! "The fruit of the Spirit is love."
LOVE IS GOD'S GIFT
Once again I ask, Why must this be so? And my answer is: Without this we
cannot live the daily life of love.
How often, when we speak about the consecrated life, we have to speak about
temper, and people have sometimes said: "You make too much of temper."
I do not think we can make too much of it. Think for a moment of a clock and
of what its hands mean. The hands tell me what is within the clock, and if I
see that the hands stand still, or that the hands point wrong, or that the
clock is slow or fast, I say that something inside the clock is not working
properly. And temper is just like the revelation that the clock gives of
what is within. Temper is a proof whether the love of Christ is filling the
heart or not. How many there are who find it easier in church, or in prayer
meeting, or in work for the Lord-diligent, earnest work-to be holy and happy
than in the daily life with wife and children. How many find it easier to be
holy and happy outside the home than in it! Where is the love of God? In
Christ. God has prepared for us a wonderful redemption in Christ, and He
longs to make something supernatural of us. Have we learned to long for it,
ask for it, and expect it in its fullness?
Then there is the tongue! We sometimes speak of the tongue when we talk of
the better life, and the restful life, but just think what liberty many
Christians give to their tongues. They say:
"I have a right to think what I like."
When they speak about each other, when they speak about their neighbors,
when they speak about other Christians, how often there are sharp remarks!
God keep me from saying anything that would be unloving. God shut my mouth
if I am not to speak in tender love. But what I am saying is a fact. How
often sharp criticism, sharp judgment, hasty opinion, unloving words, secret
contempt of each other, secret condemnation of each other are found among
Christians who are banded together in work! Oh, just as a mother's love
covers her children and delights in them and has the tenderest compassion
with their foibles or failures, so there ought to be in the heart of every
believer a motherly love toward every brother and sister in Christ. Have you
aimed at that? Have you sought it? Have you ever pleaded for it? Jesus
Christ said: "As I have loved you that. ye also love one another" (John
13:34). And He did not put that among the other commandments, but He said in
"That is a new commandment, the one commandment: Love one another as I have
loved you" (John 13:34).
It is in our daily life and conduct that the fruit of the Spirit is love.
From that comes all the graces and virtues in which love is manifested-joy,
peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness-no sharpness or hardness in your
tone, no unkindness or selfishness, meekness before God and man. You see
that all these are the gentler virtues. I have often thought as I read those
words in Colossians, "Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and
beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness,
longsuffering" (Colossians 3:12), that if we had written this, we should
have put in the foreground the strong virtues, such as zeal, courage, and
diligence. But we need to see how the gentler, the most tender virtues are
especially connected with dependence on the Holy Spirit. These are indeed
heavenly graces. They never were found in the heathen world. Christ was
needed to come from heaven to teach us. Your blessedness is long-suffering,
meekness, kindness; your glory is humility before God. The fruit of the
Spirit that He brought from heaven out of the heart of the crucified Christ,
and that He gives in our heart, is first and foremost-love.
You know what John says: "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one
another; God dwelleth in us" (I John 4:12). That is, I cannot see God, but
as a compensation I can see my brother, and if I love him, God dwells in me.
Is that really true? That I cannot see God, but I must love my brother, and
God will dwell in me? Loving my brother is the way to real fellowship with
God. You know what John further says in that most solemn test, "If a man
say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth
not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not
seen?" (I John 4:20). There is a brother, a most unlovable man. He worries
you every time you meet him. He is of the very opposite disposition to
yours. You are a careful businessman, and you have to associate with him in
your business. He is most untidy, unbusiness-like. You say:
"I cannot love him."
Oh, friend, you have not learned the lesson that Christ wanted to teach
above everything. Let a man be what he will, you are to love him. Love is to
be the fruit of the Spirit all the day and every day. Yes, listen! If you
don't love that unlovable man whom you have seen, how can you love God whom
you have not seen? You can deceive yourself with beautiful thoughts about
loving God. You must prove your love to God by your love to your brother;
that is the one standard by which God will judge your love to Him. If the
love of God is in your heart, you will love your brother. The fruit of the
Spirit is love.
And what is the reason that God's Holy Spirit cannot come in power? Is it
You remember the comparison I used in speaking of the vessel. I can dip a
little water into a small vessel, but if a vessel is to be full, it must be
unbroken. And the children of God, wherever they come together, to whatever
church or mission or society they belong, must love each other intensely, or
the Spirit of God cannot do His work. We talk about grieving the Spirit of
God by worldliness and ritualism and formality and error and indifference.
But, I tell you, the one thing above everything that grieves God's Spirit is
this lack of love. Let every heart search itself, and ask that God may
OUR LOVE SHOWS GOD'S POWER
Why are we taught that "the fruit of the Spirit is love"? Because the Spirit
of God has come to make our daily life an exhibition of divine power and a
revelation of what God can do for His children.
In the second and the fourth chapters of Acts, we read that the disciples
were of one heart and of one soul. During the three years they had walked
with Christ, they never had been in that spirit. All Christ's teaching could
not make them of one heart and one soul. But the Holy Spirit came from
heaven and shed the love of God in their hearts, and they were of one heart
and one soul. The same Holy Spirit that brought the love of heaven into
their hearts must fill us, too. Nothing less will do. Even as Christ did,
one might preach love for three years with the tongue of an angel, but that
would not teach any man to love unless the power of the Holy Spirit should
come upon him to bring the love of heaven into his heart.
Think of the Church at large. What divisions! Think of the different bodies.
Take the question of holiness, take the question of the cleansing blood,
take the question of the baptism of the Spirit-what differences are caused
among dear believers by such questions! That there are differences of
opinion does not trouble me. We do not have the same constitution and
temperament and mind. But how often hate, bitterness, contempt, separation,
and unlovingness are caused by the holiest truths of God's Word! Our
doctrines, our creeds, have been more important than love. We often think we
are valiant for the truth, and we forget God's command to speak the truth in
love. And it was so in the time of the Reformation between the Lutheran and
Calvinistic churches. What bitterness there was in regard to communion,
which was meant to be the bond of union among all believers! And so, through
the ages, the very dearest truths of God have become mountains that have
If we want to pray in power, and if we want to expect the Holy Spirit to
come down in power, and if we indeed want God to pour out His Spirit, we
must enter into a covenant with God that we will love one another with a
Are you ready for that? Only that is true love that is large enough to take
in all God's children, the most unloving and unlovable and unworthy and
unbearable and trying. If my vow-absolute surrender to God-was sincere, then
it must mean absolute surrender to the divine love to fill me. I must be a
servant of love to love every child of God around me. "The fruit of the
Spirit is love."
Oh, God did something wonderful when He gave Christ, at His right hand, the
Holy Spirit to come down out of the heart of the Father and His everlasting
love. And how we have degraded the Holy Spirit into a mere power by which we
have to do our work! God forgive us! Oh, that the Holy Spirit might be held
in honor as a power to fill us with the very life and nature of God and of
CHRISTIAN WORK REQUIRES LOVE
"The fruit of the Spirit is love." I ask once again, Why is it so? And the
answer comes: That is the only power in which Christians really can do their
work. Yes, it is love that we need. We want not only love that is to bind us
to each other, but we want a divine love in our work for the lost around us.
Oh, do we not often undertake a great deal of work-just as men undertake
work of philanthropy-from a natural spirit of compassion for our fellow-men?
Do we not often undertake Christian work because our minister. or friend
calls us to it? And do we not often perform Christian work with a certain
zeal but without having had a baptism of love?
People often ask: "What is the baptism of fire?"
I have answered more than once: "I know no fire like the fire of God, the
fire of everlasting love that consumed the sacrifice on Calvary." The
baptism of love is what the Church needs, and to get that we must begin at
once to get down on our faces before God in confession, and plead:
"Lord, let love from heaven flow down into my heart. I am giving up my life
to pray and live as one who has, given himself up for the everlasting love
to dwell in and fill him."
Ali, yes, if the love of God were in our hearts, what a difference it would
make! There are hundreds of believers who say:
"I work for Christ, and I feel I could work much harder, but I do not have
the gift. I do not know how or where to begin. I do not know what I can do."
Brother, sister, ask God to baptize you with the Spirit of love, and love
will find its way. Love is a fire that will burn through every difficulty.
You may be a shy, hesitating person, who cannot speak well, but love can
burn through everything. God fills us with love! We need it for our work.
You have read many a touching story of love expressed, and you have said,
How beautiful! I heard one not long ago. A lady had been asked to speak at a
Rescue Home where there were a number of poor women. As she arrived there
and passed by the window with the matron, she saw a wretched woman sitting
outside, and asked:
"Who is that?"
The matron answered: "She has been into the house thirty or forty times, and
she has always gone away again. Nothing can be done with her, she is so low
and hard." But the lady said: "She must come in."
The matron then said: "We have been waiting for you, and the company is
assembled, and you have only an hour for the address."
The lady replied: "No, this is of more importance"; and she went outside
where the woman was sitting and said:
"My sister, what is the matter?"
"I am not your sister," was the reply.
The the lady laid her hand on her, and said: "Yes, I am your sister, and I
love you"; and so she spoke until the heart of the poor woman was touched.
The conversation lasted some time, and the company was waiting patiently.
Ultimately, the lady brought the woman into the room. There was the poor,
wretched, degraded creature, full of shame. She would not sit on a chair,
but sat down on a stool beside the speaker's seat, and she let her lean
against her, with her arms around the poor woman's neck, while, she spoke to
the assembled people. And that love touched the woman's heart; she had found
one who really loved her, and that love gave access to the love of Jesus.
Praise God! there is love on earth in the hearts of God's children; but oh,
that there were more!
O God, baptize our ministers with a tender love, and our missionaries, our
Bible readers, our workers, and our young men's and young women's
associations. Oh, that God would begin with us now, and baptize us with
LOVE INSPIRES INTERCESSION
Once again. It is only love that can fit us for the work of intercession.
I have said that love must fit us for our work. Do you know what the hardest
and the most important work is that has to be done for this sinful world? It
is the work of intercession, the work of going to God and taking time to lay
hold of Him.
A man may be an earnest Christian, an earnest minister, and a man may do
good, but alas! how often he has to confess that he knows little of what it
is to tarry with God. May God give us the great gift of an intercessory
spirit, a spirit of prayer and supplication! Let me ask you in the name of
Jesus not to let a day pass without praying for all saints, and for all
I find there are Christians who think little of that. I find there are
prayer unions where they pray for the members, and not for all believers. I
pray you, take time to pray for the Church of Christ. It is right to pray
for the heathen, as I have already said. God help us to pray more for them.
It is right to pray for missionaries and for evangelistic work and for the
unconverted. But Paul did not tell people to pray for the heathen or the
unconverted. Paul told them to pray for believers. Do make this your first
prayer every day: "Lord, bless Thy saints everywhere."
The state of Christ's Church is indescribably low. Plead for God's people
that He would visit them, plead for each other, plead for all believers who
are trying to work for God. Let love fill your heart. Ask Christ to pour
fresh love into you everyday. Try to grasp, by the Holy Spirit of God: I am
separated unto the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love. God
help us to understand it.
May God grant that we learn day by day to wait more quietly upon Him. We
must not wait upon God only for ourselves, or the power to do so will soon
be lost. But, we must give ourselves up to the ministry and the love of
intercession, and pray more for God's people in general, for God's people
around us, for the Spirit of love in ourselves and in them, and for the work
of God we are connected with. The answer will surely come, and our waiting
upon God will be a source of untold blessing and power. "The fruit of the
Spirit is love."
Have you a lack of love to confess before God? Then make confession and say
before Him, "O Lord, my lack of heart, my lack of love-I confess it." And
then, as you cast that lack at His feet, believe that the blood cleanses
you, that Jesus comes in His mighty, cleansing, saving power to deliver you,
and that He will give His Holy Spirit. "The Fruit of the Spirit is love."