Read His Words Before Ours!
I have become incredibly passionate about proclaiming – and living out in my own life! – the vital importance of walking by the Spirit’s power to experience victorious Christian living.
Still, so often we forget to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leadership when we seek to grow in Christlikeness and sanctification. We have the mistaken idea that the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23), will somehow be cultivated in us and lived out when we strive for it.
This is impossible!
When we pay attention to context, and back up to verse 16, Paul shows us exactly how these fruits will grow in our lives, “I say, then, walk by the Spirit, and you will certainly not carry out the desires of the flesh.” Walking by His Spirit is to closely abide in relationship with Him through studying His Word, prayer, and living in biblical community. As we surrender to Him, He cultivates His fruit within us, and we begin living it out.
Here’s the key: the Holy Spirit.
Apart from His work in our lives, we can produce no good fruit.
So far, we’ve studied Love, Joy, Peace, and Patience in our Journey Theme.
Today, we’re studying Kindness.
What a beautiful realization to know that if kindness is a fruit of the Spirit,
then it’s proof our God is kind.
Kindness characterizes His Spirit.
Isn’t that encouraging?
We do not serve a harsh, unfeeling, mean, rude, uncaring God.
We serve a kind One.
One of my favorite passages revealing His kindness also comes from the pen of Preacher Paul in his letter to the Romans.
“Or do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
I love this beautiful passage because it so clearly shows us the loving, compassionate, caring, tender kindness of God. He doesn’t beat us over the head with our sin, as if cruelty and condemnation would somehow spur us to repentance. Instead, He showers upon us His kindness, He shows us His long-lasting forbearance and patience as His tender love draws us to Him.
We see this so clearly throughout the Old Testament.
Again and again, we read of the Israelites, God’s chosen people, forsaking Him and turning to do their own thing instead. Yet repeatedly, the Lord reaches out to them, sends prophets to tell of His love, rescues them, and reveals Himself to be incredibly compassionate and patient. His love for them never ends, therefore He is kind and forgiving as He seeks to woo them back. (Hosea 2:14-20)
I have experienced this kindness of God myself when His Spirit gently and lovingly convicts me of sin, inspires repentance in my heart, then compassionately clarifies to me all is well between us and has been forgiven. Then, this fruit of kindness begins flowing outward to touch other’s lives with the kindness of God as He draws them ever closer to Him.
What a beautiful thing!
This is one reason biblical community and church fellowship are emphasized throughout Scripture. We need each other, and we need each other’s kindness flowing from the Spirit within us. I have experienced this kindness firsthand from God’s people in countless ways, including phone calls and texts to check on me, meals delivered after I’ve had a baby, birthday and book launch parties thrown for me, prayers when I’m going through a hard season, a meal train set up in preparation for my husband’s upcoming deployment, offers to mow my yard and tend to other things around our home while my husband is away, babysitting my children so I can have some moments to myself, impromptu money showing up in my PayPal account with a note saying, “Go get yourself some coffee,” and more.
Each time I have been shown the kindness of God through the actions of His people, it has comforted my heart, brought me joy, and drawn me ever closer to the God Who inspired these Christian sisters of mine to bless me.
Never underestimate, dear reader, the impact of your Spirit-led kindness on others! It is no small thing to live out the fruit of the Spirit known as kindness.
It changes lives, friends.
It has changed mine.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!