It’s safe to say that each of these three fruits of the Spirit deserve their own post. I mean, Jesus is literally the embodiment of love; it’s what He is. Plus, we see love being placed above all else so many times in the Bible. For example, in Colossians the apostle Paul tells the church at Colossae that love binds all other virtues together:
'Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.' (ESV)
Trust me, I know that I could write a lengthy post about love by itself, and about peace or faithfulness, too. The thing is, when I thought about how Jesus displayed each of these three fruits, I came back to the same thing for all of them: the cross. Also, you can’t have true love, peace, or faithfulness without the others. In Colossians 3, Paul went on with his instruction to the church:
'And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.' (ESV)
He talks about peace immediately after talking about love, and then he goes on to talk about doing everything in the name of Jesus, which means living our lives for Jesus, and that is called faithfulness. Love, peace, and faithfulness may all deserve their own time in the spotlight, but even Paul didn’t separate each one into its own neat paragraph. They’re too intertwined, and I think it’s usually a good idea to follow Paul’s examples… So one post it is!
Now, let’s go back to what I said earlier about why I originally grouped these three fruits together. Let’s talk about the cross. All I ask of you, dear readers, is that you approach this as though it’s the first time you’ve ever heard about the cross. I know you may very well have read the account of the cross in every book of the Bible in which it’s recorded, attended Easter service every year since you can remember, and you probably even own some form of jewelry or attire with a cross on it. But when was the last time you just reflected on the cross? Quietly and deeply thought about it, letting the reality and gravity of it sink into your soul? I think we forget that the cross is not just a symbol we wear around our necks or see on the side of churches. The cross was real. The death of Jesus was real. Salvation is real. The cross is the epitome of love, peace, and faithfulness in the life of Jesus.
Love is kind of the obvious one:
'"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.' (ESV)
Jesus endured suffering, pain, humiliation, and betrayal for us. Because He loved us in a way that I don’t think we can fully fathom. Not while we’re here on Earth.
Peace is a beautiful thing, and in many ways it is what carried Jesus through the days leading up to his brutal execution.
'And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me."' (ESV)
You may think that doesn’t sound like peace at all, but that’s the thing about peace. It does not mean that we don’t feel grief or sorrow; it means that despite all of our troubles, we can have a deep sense of hope. We can be carried through the sorrow and the trouble. Peace supernaturally gets us through times that would otherwise destroy us, and we somehow come out even stronger. I fully believe that even though Jesus felt deep sorrow, peace carried him through. How else could He have “reclined” with his disciples the same night He was so deeply troubled (Matthew 26:20)? How else could He have continued to teach them and lead them, instituting the Lord’s supper and giving them instruction in Gethsemane (Mark 14:22-25, 38 ; Matthew 26:26-29, 41)?
Jesus was faithful to his Father and to the plan God had for his life. Although He knew what the plan entailed—how the story was written—He trusted in the ending God had planned. He asked the Lord to take it from him, but ultimately He was obedient and trusted the will of God:
'And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."' (ESV)
Jesus was faithful to what God willed above all else.
Although God has not called anyone besides Jesus to endure what He did, we are still called to bear love, peace, and faithfulness. We need to follow the example of Jesus. We need to strive to show unfathomable love, desire unexplainable peace, and live by unfailing faith.