Yesterday I lined up the world’s counterfeit fruits in the post “Fruits of the Flesh.” Now I’m going to hit each one briefly, for a little explanation.
The first Fruit of the Spirit is Love. The first Fruit of the Flesh is Romance.
The Fruits of the Flesh are not, inherently, bad. The only people I know who would call Romance bad are the unromantic. Romance, to them, is what gives the Romeos and Don Juans an unfair advantage. But apart from them, most of us can agree that Romance is a good thing, especially within marriage.
But here’s the kicker. God says, “Love.” The world says “Fall in love.” That’s what Romance is: Falling in love. It’s not something you have any control over… you’re a victim. It just happens. So you get swept off your feet, and carried along by a sweet summer breeze.
And it’s only logical that if you don’t have any control over the beginning of something, you won’t have any control over the end, either. Falling out of love. Breaking up. Divorce. Romance, like money, is a great servant and a terrible master.
One of the great tragedies of the English language is the multi-tasking it often is required to do. I’m not going to ask you to stop saying how much you love Snow, or Motorcycles, or Burger King. But when you talk about loving people, you’ve got to switch into another gear. DC Talk wrote a hip-hop ditty called “Luv is a Verb” which was cheesy, but right on target.
If Love is a verb, it’s not something you can “fall into”. It’s a bull you take by the horns. And if it’s all mushy and emotional then guys will get really quiet when they say “I love you” to each other, and have to add the word “dude” or “man” or “bro”.
So I’m gonna finish with a word to the men. If there’s anything masculine out there, it’s action. Decisive, Aggressive Action. No wonder we’ve shrunk back from loving each other… our society equates it with sex, sunsets and satin sheets. And those things have their place. But love is a thing of action! It is a thing of reckless sacrifice and relentless devotion. It means making a decision and never, ever swerving from it. Do you think you’re stubborn and tough? Make a pact with God right now (or renew the one you already have) to never leave your wife… legally, physically, sexually, mentally… period. Make a pact to never abuse her, or your kids. Never in a million years. Make a pact to work like an ox to provide them everything they need. Make a pact to shut the hell up when they just need you to listen.
Because Love is a verb… bro.