Kindness. Perhaps like me, you immediately thought of Galatians 5 when you heard the word “kindness”. I used to see a huge bowl of fruit depicting the fruit of the Spirit.
“But the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness. Gentleness and Self-control.
And for years I would see them as separate characteristics that I longed to possess and even needed to practice. Kindness, I saw as “something” that you show, something that you demonstrate and therefore something you choose to do. However, the more I gain in understanding, I have realized that firstly fruit is singular and that these beautiful traits are Who Jesus is and they are part of who we are in Christ. Yes, they are our uniform. They are as the word says, the fruit of the Holy Spirit who dwells inside of us and He is growing this Christ like nature in each of us.
Kindness is being selfless, compassionate and merciful and it is the very nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is kind, that is Who He is, and He calls us to imitate Him. It isn’t just something we choose to demonstrate; He asks us to be kind. No matter the situation, no matter our feelings or fears, He asks us to be kind, because that is who we are in Him. Kindness is revealed in so many, many ways, from carrying an older person’s parcels to sharing your food with someone, to helping financially or just giving a reassuring smile. Kindness is sometimes dramatically revealed during times of chaos and disaster, during horrific conflict. Hiding people away, like many hid the Jews in the second world war, flying out to help flood victims, doctors helping those who lack basic health care for no return. People showing unselfish concern for those in need and responding in ways that sometimes have just blown my mind away.
The courage, the generosity and compassion of people, is totally unselfish and brave! It has so many, many faces but without fail it changes the dynamic of every situation bringing a peace and a hope. It is a balm that heals, an oil that prevents friction, it is the hope in a hopeless situation. So the more I think about kindness for myself, the more I realize my
desperate need of the Holy Spirit. Kindness is not and cannot be a byproduct of my trying to be a good person, wanting to please to God…I am not always kind, in fact I can be thoroughly unkind. I need help, not will power or determination, to be a kind person. I need so much more ….I need the very manifestation of the Holy Spirit in me. It is He who causes me to bear fruit…..the more I yield to His presence and His working in me, the more my heart is softened and He is able to produce kindness, He is able to make it part of my nature. When my carnal nature wants to be unkind, He is able to show me, No! that is not the way. He is able to make my hard heart soft and full of compassion. If I am to be anything like Jesus I must be full of Him and not of me.
As Paul says the old has got to go and the new wine, the Holy Spirit wine needs to be poured in. As I yield! Give way! Let go of my own desires and give way to the desires of God, allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me with a desire to please God and not myself, He will work in me. He knows my thoughts and my motives, He knows how to guide me and channel me in the right, Godly direction. Perhaps this is one of the reasons it is so important for us to honor one another. To value each other as precious in the sight of God and to realize that just as He is working in me, He is working in you. I don’t know how to mold you and make you like Jesus but of course the Holy Spirit does and He does an inward work that is more gentle and more effective than any of us could do. It is easy to resist the prodding of another person but to resist the Holy Spirit is impossible. Yield!
Jesus was kind, He had compassion for the sick and healed them, He cast out demons and set people free, He saw that people were hungry and He fed them. He saw that the wine had run out at a wedding and provided more of the finest and the best. He gave His very life to save a sinful people. There are no limits or end to the kindness of God. What ever the situation, He is kind. There is no unkindness in Him. We serve a loving, kind God in whom there is only goodness, and He pours out His provision and love on us liberally. Doesn’t that make you feel treasured, loved and perfectly safe? Not for a moment do we need doubt His goodness and kindness towards us and so He asks that we demonstrate this same love to one another and to strangers. We are to imitate Him. Not in our own strength but in His. We are to be His hands and feet and to reach out to those in need. As we reach out, we are given opportunity to point to Christ, the Holy Spirit directs and makes a way to magnify Jesus. It is no wonder that we are encouraged to renew our minds.
For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Our minds are renewed by reading scripture, studying scripture, meditating on God’s word so that we are steadily transformed in the way that we see and understand things, ie; the way we think. Our carnal mind being changed so that we may think like Jesus. The Holy Spirit illuminating the scriptures that they become, let's become absorbed by our minds to change the way we think. For as we think in our hearts we will be and do. Paul says the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and is able to instruct us in these things, so that we can know and understand the mind of our God and be able to follow His ways. He says in 1 Corinthians 2:16, “But we have the mind of Christ.” As we think like Jesus our behavior will reflect the way we think and we will reveal Jesus. Our thoughts will be like His and therefore also our actions.
Kindness is the fruit of the Spirit, the very nature of our Lord Jesus Christ and as we remain connected to the vine and nourished by the Holy Spirit, teaching us new and wonderful things that may seem foolish to the world, we will bear fruit, fruit that will last. As we feed on His word we will mature and be transformed, able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will, yielding ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice. Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “ But we are all, with open face ( No veil) beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Father have your way in us! May your Holy Spirit become more real to us than the air we breath as we lean on Him, trust Him and long for that change that will make us like Jesus. We long to bear fruit, the fruit of the Spirit as He changes our selfish, self-centered nature to that of Christ making us kind in all our ways. That is our cry, Amen!
Jane is the co-founder of Love Renewed and offers a free resources. Click here for more info.