Friday, November 16, 2012

Love: A Fruit of The Spirit

Love, by Robert Indiana, photo from:

Article excerpt from: The Greatest of These is Love from

Poem: Robert Indiana from Poetry by Robbie Pruitt

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV

“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” –Colossians 3:14-15

The American artist Robert Indiana has created what many say is the most recognized image in American art.  The image is his work “Love,” which began as a sculpture of the letters L and O stacked atop the letters V and E.  This iconic sculpture was turned into a Christmas card and has been mass-produced in many forms from postage stamps to a Google search bar on Valentines Day.  The sculpture has shown up in many forms in cities all across America and across the world.  It has even been adapted into the Hebrew word for love “Ahava.”

While Robert Indiana did not grow up in a Christian church, the Word of God inspired his work “Love.”  In an interview, Robert Indiana described the drab Christian Science church building he grew up going to.  He explained how the church building was without aesthetic beauty and without the traditional artwork that may be expected in most other churches.  He stated that there was no stained glass, no carvings, no art on the walls, and no color.  The only thing that was close to art, however, was on the lectern where the readers would read.  Here, there were raised golden letters, which basically quoted 1 John 4:8, which says, “God is love.”

Indiana remembered looking at those raised golden letters and being inspired.  The greatest is still love according to Robert Indiana, who in another interview stated, “As far as I’m concerned love is still the most important thing.”  Robert Indiana goes on to say in this same interview that he is “painting and writing his own history.” Which is an interesting contrast to the Christian Science belief that the “spiritual reality is the only reality and all else is illusion or ‘error’ (Wikipedia).”  

Robert Indiana’s beliefs about love are contrary to the Christian teachings about love.  “In contrast to conventional Christian theology, Christian Science rejects both substitutionary atonement and the concept of Hell as a place of eternal punishment (Wikipedia).”  In contrast to this, Jesus’ teachings about love are filled with self-sacrifice and hinges on Him laying His life down for us in the atonement (see John 15 and 1 John 4).  Jesus embodied love and is love personified.  Love is a person and his name is Jesus Christ.

There is no love without sacrifice.  In John 15:12-13 Jesus says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  This is what Jesus does; He lays His life down for us and calls us His friends.  This is how we are to love.  Any love less than a giving and a sacrificing love falls short of God’s Love and is just cold golden letters on a lectern, or a clanging metal sculpture of what could be, or platitudes on a Christmas card or empty sentiments on a postage stamp.  

God is Love and Love lays His life down.  It is only being in relationship with this love and the author of this love that we can love.  As John goes on to say in 1 John 4:9-11, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

You can read the rest of this article, The Greatest of These Is Love, in here

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