But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 5:22-26

“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Yesterday my almost six-year-old grandson recited all 9 of the Fruit of the Spirit qualities. Impressive! His ability to rattle off God’s fruit challenged me.

Today while on my walk with Toby, my Goldendoodle, I decided to test myself. Could I list all nine? I thought I could. I did not do as well as my grand. I got seven of the nine. For a person who does ministry and speaks regularly on Biblical topics, I considered that a fail.

This has motivated me to be a spiritual pomologist, someone who studies, fertilizes, and cultivates the Holy Spiritual fruit. I seek to participate in growing the Fruit of the Spirit in my grandkids and in myself. Maybe you feel the same. Perhaps you also hope to cultivate these nine godly traits in your kids, grandkids, or yourself. To do this it’s critical to note that all nine characteristics are a part of the whole. Blended together they make up the singular Fruit of the Spirit scripture talks about.

The ingredients to the Fruit of the Spirit begin with the quality of love.

Let’s first ask, What is love?

Here is a familiar cultural slogan most of us have heard or seen, the statement, love is love. This statement is not helpful.  It is a circular definition, defining the word with the word. Scripture doesn’t say, love is love but instead it says, “God is love” (John 13:34). It  reminds us, true love is sacrificial not self-directed, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

As I studied, I discovered seven different types of love represented in the Bible. None of these descriptions included, “Follow your heart.” But rather show that love is an intentional action not a feeling.

Seven Types of Love


Self-love as opposed to selfish love. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Embrace the concept of worth because we are created on purpose with purpose by a Holy God. We are made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  Our kiddos and grands need to hear they are created in God’s image. Due to this each one of us is valuable and precious to the Lord. We come to the Lord as we are. But God will not leave us as He found us. He will urge us to be the person He created us to be and carry out the purpose He has for our lives.


Hospitality love. Warmth and welcome to those outside of one’s immediate circle characterize xenia love. Hospitality is shown in serving or hosting strangers or guests as seen in Genesis 18. Hospitality is a spiritual gift plus a quality of love, a characteristic demonstrated in action and attitude. 1 Peter 4:9-11 says, Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” Include your kids or grands in the loving and serving of someone they do not know well. Consistently show them how to demonstrate hospitality by giving them a warm welcome each time you are together.


Brotherly love.  A high level of emotional intimacy. It’s the deep bond of friendship, made up of vulnerability, trust, commitment,  empathy, compassion, honesty, and shared experiences.  Phileo is a loyal, long term love. (John 15:13-15). To foster brotherly love in your family, there must be trust and emotional safety for all. Living this love allows our grands or kids to be a little silly, to make mistakes, to learn responsibility, and to live in a home that values time together playing and working. Jesus even calls us friend. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15). 


Family love. The love or natural affection parents have toward their children and siblings have for each other. Storge love meets the need for belonging and security.  Noah and his family (Genesis 6-7), Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17), Mary and Martha and their love for their brother Lazarus (John 11) are examples of this type of committed familial bond. To have healthy family love, there must be no parental favoritism or competition among the siblings as we see with Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25-27. These chapters warn us to be careful to love all our kids and grands well.


Romantic and sexual expression of love. Eros is love that takes on a physical manifestation, like the love in a biblical marriage as described in Genesis 1 and 2. The Song of Solomon or sometimes called the Song of Songs depicts this type of sexual love. (Song of Solomon 4:10). Be ready to talk about sexuality and the physical expression of love with your kids. Eros love is not lust and it is more than recreation, procreation, or even attraction. It is a representation of Christ and His bride the church. “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:4-6).


Enduring love. Love that perseveres and stands the test of time. We see pragma love in the love Isaac and Rebecca share in   Genesis 24:67. Or a steadfast, faithful  love like Hosea’s to Gomer, in Hosea chapters 1 and 3. Our kids and grands need to see that love truly endures, no matter their behavior or struggles. 


Unconditional love. The highest form of love. Agape is God’s love It is unconditional, selfless, and sacrificial. Jesus is our example of Agape love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). and Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).  If we are able to love like Jesus loves, we will draw our families to ourselves and more importantly to Jesus. God commands parents and grandparents alike to love well and talk about our faith. We are to talk the talk, walk the walk, and talk about the walk. 

Each one of these seven types of love can be shown the 1 Corinthians 13 way:

(Philautia, Xenia, Phileo, Phileo, Eros, Pragma, or Agape) ________ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love, all seven types of love, are choices, actions, and attitudes. Scripture says in 1st John 1 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”

Love, the Fruit of the Spirit’s first ingredient. Let’s love our grands and kids with BIG, Supernatural love.  

As a final thought, I asked my son and  daughter-in-love how my little grand was able to list the Fruit of the Spirit. They said he was able to because he has been watching the Sea Kids TV shows and reading the Sea Kids books both authored and produced by Lee Ann Mancini. Of course their encouragement , involvement, and support play a role as well.  I encourage you to check these books and the show out for your kids or grandkids. They are quality products.

One more addition to that final thought. (just incase you were wondering)  I now have all 9 Fruit of the Spirit locked into my heart and mind. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. (I’ll worry about the proper order later! )

Photo by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography


© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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