But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)

Love is the first attribute of the fruit of the Spirit.

Agape is the Greek word for love. Agape love is considered the highest form of love because it puts first those they loved and is willing to make sacrifices for them. It is this kind of love that God has for us that allows His Son to take the weight of the cross in exchange for the burden of our sin. It is the one love that will never abandon you because God promises to never leave you or forsake you.

Agape love has the power to transform us so that we can love others who are different from us in the same way that God loves us. The Apostle Paul is the best example of someone whose life and ministry was profoundly influenced by God's perfect love. Paul was able to overcome his religious pride and cultural prejudices as a Pharisee by walking with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and becoming a missionary to reach the Gentiles for Christ.

When we lack love, it is easy to put up barriers and justify why we cannot love certain people. However, we have everything we need right now to love even those who are difficult to love because God has already shed His love abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives within us (Romans 5:5).

God does not want us to only love those who deserve it.

Jesus taught us to love strangers and even our enemies. We can only lavish God's unmerited love on a world in desperate need of it with the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit. This is evident in Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37) The key point of that parable is not who our neighbours are, but how we can be neighbours to others.