The View From Here

The Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 6): Kindness

I must confess that writing a blog about kindness is really hard. The principle is easy to understand yet hard to apply to real life. Acts of kindness are prevalent when things are going well and life is great.   Yet kindness becomes a profoundly difficult task when I am having a bad day or dealing with people that irritate me. I heard a story the other day about a guy who was having a tough day. Nothing was going right and he was running way behind. He had to stop at the store to pick something up, and on his way out of the store he saw a woman just sitting in her car. He was running late and so he pushed past her and kept moving to his truck. He could not afford interruptions now.  Yet the Holy Spirit kept nudging his heart, and he finally gave in.  He returned to the store, bought some flowers and took them over to the woman. He realized the woman had been crying and he was able to encourage her and reveal the love of God to a woman he had never met, and likely will never see again.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you”(Eph 4:32). We recognize that kindness like all the fruits of the spirit is not something that we are able to do in our own strength.  It can only be achieved by abiding in Christ (John 15). Our job then becomes the obedience to act upon his promptings in our lives. God doesn’t override our hearts and force kindness, he gives us the ability and desire, but the act of faith is to obey and act in kindness when He reveals opportunities to us.  Christ also encourages us to be kind even to our enemies (Luke 6:23) or those people that just drive us nuts. Lastly, God marks us with His kindness, so that it just radiates in our lives (Proverbs 3:3). It is as if we are branded with Christ kindness. Literally, God call us to “outdo” everyone in kindness.

I take away two things for the story above. First people all around us need to see God through our kindness. God gives us a wonderful opportunity to minister to people and share the gospel by our life and works of kindness.  I call this lifestyle evangelism.  Next, there are people in each of our lives that are hard to love and be kind to.  This could be a family member, friends, coworkers, clients/customers or even someone with a goal to irritate us.  We do not naturally offer kindness to enemies, yet God wants to show Himself real by transferring His love into our hearts and giving us the desire to be kind.  Ask God to help you if you are struggling to be kind to your enemy, and watch God do something exciting. 

           

Posted by Jamie Mead with

The Fruit of the Spirit (Pt.5): Patience

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My wife, Lindsi and I, are fellow students in the school of patience. We answered and discussed some questions about patience. We discussed how God will bring many opportunities to develop patience into the lives of his children.  Marriage and parenthood are two wonderful opportunities we have to discover our need for patience.  Continue reading and learn more about this wonderful quality that the Holy Spirit wants to grow in all of us.

Question: You don’t have to follow Jesus to learn to be patient, so what is different about the patience God gives and grows in you?

Lindsi: The difference is the relationship with God. Honoring Him is our motivation, and that is what produces godliness in us.  God puts us in situations—or whatever circumstances are in our story at a moment—and we want to honor him.  He uses that to chip away at rough edges, to sanctify us.  People who aren’t believers may have or develop patience in a situation, but their motivation and view of it is different.  While they might be becoming “better people” through it, they don’t have God working within them to change their heart.  But, I believe honoring God is what makes Christian patience different.

Josh: I agree.  You might find lots of patient people who don’t know Jesus, and lots of impatient Jesus followers, but the difference is the heart.  Both groups might acknowledge that they need patience, but those in Christ understand that the beginning and end are with Jesus.  Jesus starts the work, and what grows here glorifies God now and into eternity. 

Lindsi: They are all connected… the fruit of the spirit.  Love, joy, peace, patience… they intertwine, grow together.  You can’t have one without the others.

Josh: Yeah, I might work hard to become the most patient person, but if I am all pent up and worried on the inside, am unloving, patience is just a mask.  I would be fake.  When we focus on Jesus, we follow his footsteps, and believe we endure now for eternal results.

Question: So, do you see growth in your own lives and relationship in this area?

Lindsi and Josh: Yes.

Lindsi:  God has developed patience in me for you.  I don’t have to make a mountain out of a molehill everything that bothers me.  I can’t change you.

Josh: God convicted me of micromanaging. I’ve learned to step back and let you do things your way. I’ve learned to enjoy watching you grow and do things on your own. I used to get a lot more impatient because you wouldn’t do things the way I would—wanted.  I am still learning to shut up. 

Question: In your experience, what is patience? 

Lindsi:  Gentleness in my responses.  Things that bothered me before used to fester and fester and then I would blow up and we would get in fights about it.  I have learned that you will do things your own way.  Things aren’t done my way or in my time, but I have learned that nagging doesn’t get the job done.  It makes the situation worse, divides us, making us farther apart.

Josh: It is really similar, in a way.  I already said it, but I’ve grown to step back. That’s it for me, stepping back.  I think we have learned that together, but I needed to learn it more.  I used to interfere with how you did things.  I had to learn it was okay if it wasn’t my way. 

Lindsi: It is the same with our kids.  You cannot expect a six year old to behave like a responsible 20-year old.  You have to gently walk with him and somethings will need repeating again and again and again.  Patience is when you realize browbeating doesn’t work…. It seems like all the fruit of the Spirit can be applied to the same situation.

Question: What is most difficult about patience in regard to parenting?

Lindsi:  That it never ends.  It isn’t like I can be patient enough times and then be done. I have to keep on.

Josh: If something is eating me up inside and the kids get in trouble, I could respond impatiently toward them, but the anger might be from something else.  I hate that.  God is changing that in me.

Question: Do you have a favorite Bible verse about patience?

Lindsi:  James 5:8 – You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Josh: 2nd Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Posted by Joshua Holland with

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