Explaining what love is can be difficult when we are talking to adults. Likewise, it can be even harder when we are teaching children. We use the word to describe so many things. It is an action word and something that we feel. We say that we love things that make us happy. Most of the time, we speak about it as conditional. It is cause and effect. Something makes us feel good. Therefore, we love it. However, small children are not always able to grasp the idea of cause and effect. They are usually repeating something they have heard. However, that is not to say they do not know how it feels. Children feel the affection of others, and it is an important part of their development. We have all heard about the studies of older children who were developmentally delayed because they lacked affection as young children.
Let’s see if we can explain it as a fruit.
The fruit of the Spirit is love.
Galatians 5:22-23 tell us what the fruit of the Spirit is. It begins with love. Other places in scripture speak about love too. If you want to define it, the Bible is a great source. We can learn what, who, why, when, and how from it.
It is patient and kind. It is not proud, self-seeking, easily angered, or boastful (See 1 Corinthians 13).
Who is love? Who should we love?
Simply put, God is (See 1 John 4:7-21). This is why the fruit of His spirit embodies it too. Likewise, we are to love God (See Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:37) and each other (See Matthew 22:39 and John 15:12). We are to show it to our enemies (see Matthew 5:44). We are to show it to our neighbors (see Leviticus 19:18 and Romans 13:8-10).
We love because God loves us (See 1 John 4:9) so that others will know we are followers of Jesus (see John 13:35).
God wants to know our love for Him each morning (see Psalm 143:8). We are to love always, and it should never leave us (see Proverbs 3:3-4).
We put it on (see Colossians 3:14) and live in it (see 1 John 4:16). It is important to love deeply and forgive each other (see 1 Peter 4:8). We are to be genuine (see Romans 12:9) by honoring others and putting them above ourselves (see Romans 12:10). Ultimately, the greatest act of love is to be willing to die for someone else (see John 15:13).
Why God loves us.
Let’s consider how we feel about something we have made. With children, think of that awesome tower they built in the block center. Or the picture they painted in the art center. When we help create something, we have a greater passion for it. As parents, we completely understand this concept because of our deep affection for our children. In the books about the potter and his vessels, children understand that the potter loves them because he made each one. You can read more about these stories here. Consequently, God loves us because he made each of us.
The second reason why God loves us is that he chose to die for us. We already learned that Bible (John 15:30) tells us the greatest act of love is to lay down your life for someone else. And that is exactly what Jesus did. He died so that we would not have to. His death was necessary to forgive our sins and allow us to be with Him forever.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him.-John 3:16-17 icb
The equation of love
If God is love and lives in us, then His love is in us too. If we abide in love, we abide in God. (see 1 John 4:16 and John 15:9-11). And, if love is the fruit of His Spirit, we can only grow it when we are attached to God, just as the parable of the vine and the branches illustrates in John 15:1-17.