Fruit of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Galatians 5: 22-23
In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through Whom also He created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of His nature, upholding the universe by His word of power.
Hebrews 1:1-3
Before we leave St. Paul’s Treatise on Love from First Corinthians, let’s look at it two more times. Let’s read chapter 13:4-8, but instead of using the word “Love,” let’s substitute the word “God.” The verses would then read like this :
God is patient and kind; God is not jealous or boastful; God is not arrogant or rude.  God does not insist on His own way; God is not irritable or resentful; God does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. God’s love never ends.
God is synonymous with love. God is love. To know love is to know God. And in order to know God, one must know love. God is all these things we speak of when we speak of love. 
Now, let’s look at this passage again. And this time, put your own name in the place of love and in the place of God, and see how this reads now:
(Your name) is patient and kind; (your name) is not jealous or boastful; (your name) is not arrogant or rude.  (Your name) does not insist on His own way; (Your name) is not irritable or resentful; (Your name) does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  (Your name) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (Your name’s) love never ends.
When I insert my own name into this chapter, I feel like a hypocrite actually. There is a big gap between how God loves and how I love, or how I behave. I may be patient and kind sometimes, but certainly not all the time. I certainly can be arrogant and rude, irritable and resentful. I often prefer when things go my way and try to insist they do. I don’t always see the good in others, I even celebrate their wrongs. Are there limits to how I love others? Honestly, yes. 
First Corinthians is the standard for what we should aspire to be. I should aspire to put my name in these verses and have that be a true statement. In fact, that should be a life goal. For to know God, to really know Him is to know love, and to know what it means to love, one must be able to insert his or her own name into these verses and have them be a true statement. The lesson for today is that we each have something to work on when it comes to love. 
Lord, thank You for loving me even when I don’t deserve it. Thank You for giving me an example of what it means to love. Help me to be more patient and kind, to be more humble and less boastful, to be more content and less jealous. Help me to see the good in others and to meet challenges with optimism. Help me to bear all things that come my way, to cling to faith and to hope when life gets hard. Help my love for You to grow each day. May Your love for me never end, neither in this life, or for everlasting life. Amen.
Take one aspect of love and work on it today!


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here:


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