The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Kindness

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Kindness

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Kindness

“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel

I think most of us tend to take this route in life.

It’s easy when we’re younger to be mesmerized by the charismatic, the smart, the gifted, those with status, etc.

But, as we get older, and we begin seeing the fleeting reality of all I listed above, our values and role models begin to shift.

And the more we value simple, godly characteristics such as kindness.

The Embodiment of Kindness

It can sound strange that kindness is listed as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

It sounds so lowly and insignificant.

But check out the definition:
“The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”

That sounds a lot like Jesus, doesn’t it?

Jesus was friendly and approachable even by children
Jesus was generous with His words, possessions and actions
And Jesus was considerate and allowed the needs of others to be put above His own.

This really is the trifecta that embodies kindness.

Missing just one of these characteristics leads to a stool with less than its indented 3 legs to stand on.

Seeking Kindness In Everyday Life

“Cleanliness is close to godliness.”

Not really, but what we’ve seen is that being kind is close to godliness.

To grow in friendliness
To be more generous
And to be more considerate and think of others as more important than ourselves.

This is close to godliness.

This is the life and fruit that God desires us to have.

So, take the extra time to show some unexpected kindness.
Consider where you can be more generous in your money, talents and time.
And seek to put other’s before yourself.

And do so by His grace and strength.

As we’re reminded in Philippians 2:1–11:

Jesus lived kindness.
He lived love.
He lived perfection.

And now, He has paid the price for our sin,
And gives us the power, by His Spirit,
To have Him transform us to be more like Him.

And one day, we will be with Him forever.

So as we look forward to heaven,
Let’s ask Jesus to instill His kindness into our hearts,
And let us be kind to others the way Jesus is.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” – Colossians 3:12

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:8–9

“A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches. A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.” – Proverbs 11:16–17

“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.” – Proverbs 21:21

““Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another.” – Zechariah 7:9

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Patience

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Patience

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Patience

“It’s hard to be patient, isn’t it?”

I have this conversation with my 3-year-old frequently.

And, patience doesn’t seem to get easier as we get older, does it?

I mean, we tend to get better at seeing the bigger picture, which helps,
And we at least get better at hiding our impatience…

But biblical patience is far more than just tolerating having to wait.

I found this definition that I think describes it out really well:

“The ability to take trouble (from others or life) without blowing up. To suffer joyfully.”

To be patience in all circumstances unlocks numerous opportunities to enjoy day-to-day life more and even to get better insight into when God is wanting to purposely interrupt our plans with his own.

Patience in everyday life

For me, the classic example is traffic.

I hate traffic.
In fact, I just hate lines in general.

Do you dispise the everyday situations of waiting? The mundane, normal waiting experience all the time?

God would have us be patient.

That we would not simply endure times of waiting, but that we’d find His divine opportunity in them.

The traffic as a time to talk to Him more
The checkout line as an opportunity to say something kind to a stranger
The simple times to slow down, recognize God’s sovereignty and see what He might have for us in that moment.

Patience in the “bigger” things

And what about those larger delays?

Struggling with a job you hate, or even unemployment
Waiting for the test results
Waiting for a judge’s verdict
Waiting for the result you’ve worked so long and hard for

In these times, it’s tempting to try to force the issue
To simply push harder

And yes, we ought to take responsibility during these times. To be diligent and do everything we can to better the situation.

But there comes a point where there’s only so much we can do.

And, as the saying goes:

“Do what you can do. And let God do what only He can do.”

Sometimes, you just have to wait.

More importantly, we have to be patient.

To trust God,
To endure trials,
To wait on God and His timing.

A saying I try to remind myself of during difficult times is this:

“God’s timing is not just perfect. It is precise.”

“Perfect” just sounds to sterile.

Precise really gets at the heart of it: that God has specific reasons for making us wait:

And that can help us be patient.

The root of godly patience

But even more than simply reminding ourselves why we ought to be patient,
Let’s not forget that patience is a fruit of the Spirit.

The patience God wants us to have is not something we can muster up, grow into, or reason our way to having.

God’s patience is wholly different and supernatural.

And so, I leave you with some of my favorite verses on trusting God, on having patience and living for His will

And with the reminder to ask God for His patience
Because you can build up patience for a moment
But the quality and quantity of patience God desires us to have can only come from Him.

So ask Him, receive and give yourself to the patience God would have for you today through all the struggles, pain, issues and may you be like Jesus more and more as He fills you with His Spirit and Fruit.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8–9

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6–7

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” – Romans 12:12

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.” – Psalm 40:1

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.” – Psalm 37:7–9

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” – Psalm 127:2

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:24–28

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:25–34

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Peace

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Peace

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Peace

Peace is often misunderstood as quiet solitude.
As a secluded and calm lake without a problem in sight.

But have you ever been in a place of physical calm and quiet…
While still experiencing a restlessness that seems to be tearing you apart?

I have.
I’m guessing you have to.

Although, those places can be naturally stress free,
That’s not what peace really is.

Peace can be enhanced by being calm, quiet or slowing down, and having a discipline of pursuing those things is definitely good,
But peace itself is much deeper.

The best illustration I’ve ever heard for peace is…

A story of a painting contest where the contestants were to paint ‘peace’…

As expected, many of them painted small cottages by quiet streams, or docile animals resting by the water.

But the winner of the contest painted something very different.

He painted a lighthouse with its light shining bright in the mist of a dark night and raging storm.
With waves crashing against the lighthouse
And up at the very top,
you could see a man calmly sitting at the very top.

That is a great analogy for peace.

Even though the outward storm and waves are crashing around you…
You can be secure and secure inside your solid lighthouse.

Even though the darkness is all around…
You have a light within that shines out.

Peace from within

As you probably gathered from the analogy, the peace that Jesus gives us is one that is placed inside of us
and can withstand any storm
And can pierce through any darkness.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” -John 14:27

The peace Jesus gives is one that is fulled with the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

It is a peace that rests on the truth that Jesus has died, risen, has paid the price for our sins and that He promises eternal life to those who put their trust in Him.

So now, any storm we face is merely a blip on the map,
a moment compared to eternity,
And insignificant to the goodness He promises.

And so we can have peace throughout it all.

Deep Seated Peace

This all sounds great, but I’d be the first to admit that it also sounds like childish wishful thinking in the mist of hardship.

But that’s not what Jesus offers us.

Jesus wants us to have a big picture view that can bring peace in the mist of difficult circumstances.

Think of it like a movie where you’ve already been told the ending. You know who survives until the end and that the good guys win – and so all the hardships you watch during the movie seem far less disrupting; because you know how it ends.

The difficulties in the story can still be just as real,
And in some ways, just as hard to go through,
But knowing how it ends makes a world of difference.

Receiving His Peace

The examples I’ve given are obviously lacking.

Because life isn’t a single storm in a night
Or a 2 hour movie.

Life can be hard.
Real hard.

But we aren’t trying to simply work up a mindset of peace,
We’re told to simply receive the peace that Jesus offers.

We’re not told to “look on the bright side”
Or try harder and to trust that Jesus will come through.

Instead, we’re given God, Himself,
Who is called the great Comforter.

And, God doesn’t simply send us “peace” from afar in the mail,
He has chosen to hand deliver it into our hearts in a moment by moment basis.

So, instead of focusing on the storm in front of you: turn to God
Instead of trying to outwork the problems you face: turn to God
Instead of waiting out your problems, in hopes that they will pass: turn to God.

Because, as one of my favorite verses says:

“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

So, may you give God your cares, worries, restlessness and anxiousness
And let Him give you His peace.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” -Isaiah 26:3–4

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6–7

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Joy

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Joy

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Joy

Joy can be hard to describe.

To some degree, being joyful is being happy, but it clearly isn’t just happiness, as we know that even Jesus experienced sadness and we’re reminded in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything, even sadness and mourning.

But even when the happiness leaves and the sadness and difficult times come, there can still be an underlining joy found from the Spirit.

Essentially, joy is a bedrock foundation of happiness.
It’s the solid ground that remains when everything else is taken away.

No, this doesn’t meant we will always feel happy,
But it means that this foundational happiness (joy) continues to bring a solid beam of light to our hearts in the mist of our darkest days.

And, as always, we can find a perfect example of this joy in the life of Jesus:

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Hebrews 12:2

In the mist of Jesus’ darkest hour,
He had joy that helped bring Him through to the end.

Even in the mist of enduring all the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that He was experiencing in that moment, Jesus turned and focused on the “joy that was set before Him” the solid foundation that could not be moved even in His darkest moment.

And we too can set our foundational happiness on solid ground as well.

A bedrock foundation of truth and joy that will weather every storm
Every pain,
Every loss.

Now, keep in mind, this foundational joy has to be something that cannot be taken away from us, no matter the circumstances or the struggles we go through.

And, the foundational joy Jesus promises us is that when all is said and done, He will wipe away every tear and right every wrong. And He promises to be with us for every step along the way. No matter how dark our days may be, Jesus promises that there will be a day of light that will shine brighter than we could ever imagine.

And we can trust that He will fulfill this promise to us because of His Spirit that He gives us.

The Guarantee Of The Holy Spirit

One of the many roles that the Spirit plays in our lives is that He reminds us of Jesus’ eternal promise to us: that Jesus has saved and redeemed us and will one day bring us to be fully with Him, forever.

And here is how He, the Holy Spirit, is part of that promise:

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” -Ephesians 1:13–14

Jesus has fully paid our debt, and brought us into the family of God…
But we are not fully with God yet, as we will be in the New Heaven and New Earth. (we have not “acquired possession” of the promise)

And so, until that day, Jesus has sent His Spirit ”who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it”.

This guarantee is much like an engagement ring, which represents a soon-to-be marriage. One that is sure to happen, yet hasn’t happened yet.

You can also think of the Holy Spirit as a “deposit” with the “full payment” coming soon.
Or as having the title to a car in hand that you have yet to pick up.

Regardless of the analogy you prefer, the Holy Spirit gives us a foundational joy for our lives that can sustain us in any difficulty, because it’s rooted in Jesus’ death, resurrection and promise to give us eternal life with Him.

And here’s why this foundational joy can surpass any circumstance we face:

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38–39

And the Holy Spirit in our lives reminds us of that.

That Jesus has died,
That Jesus has risen,
That Jesus has paid our debt,
That nothing can separate us from His love,
And that no matter how bad it gets,
No matter what darkness we face,
Jesus. Has. Won.
He’s preparing an eternal place for those who believe in Him,
And He is coming again.

I’m not saying it won’t get extremely dark and difficult,
But the Joy of the Spirit keeps it from getting pitch black.
And He promises to sustain us until the morning comes.

Receiving His Grace

As with producing the love of the Spirit, we need to recognize that this joy isn’t found in trying harder or doing better, but it’s found by coming to Him and asking for His power and grace in our lives.

As you pray for more of His joy and hope in your life, here’s some verses you can reflect on regarding having joy in the mist of trials and faith that God is working through it all.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” -Romans 15:13

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” -James 1:2–3

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” -1 Peter 1:6–9

“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.” -Psalm 27:6

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance…” -Romans 5:3

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Love

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Love

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23

Some have said that love is the single fruit of the Spirit and that the others on this list (joy, peace, patience, etc) are merely descriptions of how love plays out in our lives.

Regardless, love is certainly a forefront attribute that should mark the life of someone who has been saved by Jesus, and have given his or her life to Him. Jesus even said that everyone will know that we follow Him by our love for one another (John 13:35).

As another way to look at the importance of love, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:13: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Paul is reminding us that faith and hope ought to be prominent pieces in our lives while following Jesus, but even those will one day go away because we will one day be with Jesus where we no longer need faith or hope, for we will be with Him… but even then, we will have and experience love.

To make love’s importance even more pronounced: Jesus told His followers to “love others as He has loved us,” which is no easy task (John 13:34).

In fact, I think it’s impossible on our own.

But let’s not forget,
This isn’t the “fruit of a person trying harder to do better…”
Or the “fruit of someone who has chosen a new life for themselves…”
Or the “fruit of someone who has experienced enlightenment and has risen to new heights…”

This is the fruit of the Spirit and only His.

Just as oranges don’t grow on pear trees…
And apples don’t grow on coconut trees…

The Fruit of the Spirit only grows by the power of the Spirit

Jesus said it best in John 15:4-5:

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

We cannot bear this fruit
We cannot do any God-glorifying act
Without the grace and presence and empowerment of Jesus and His Spirit.

As Paul wrote warned the Galatians earlier in the book:

“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” – Galatians 3:3

The tempting to think of God’s grace as only a clean slate
A fresh start
A new day

But it’s so much more than that
It has to be.

Because no matter how many “second chances” we get,
We cannot please God by simply trying harder.

As it’s been said: “Jesus didn’t come to make good people better. He came to make dead people alive.”

Let us not look at the fruit of the Spirit, even one as simple as “love” as something that we need to simply strive to do better in.

Let us remember that this love will be the outflow of God’s Spirit transforming our hearts and lives.

And, since this isn’t something we can simply try harder to do
Our next best step is simple:

We ask for God to help.

Simply ask that He would fill you with more love
Joy
Peace
Patience
Kindness
Goodness
Faithfulness
Gentleness
Self-control

Here’s some of my favorite verses to reflect on as you pray that God would fill you with His Spirit, that you would abide in His grace and that you would bear more fruit that comes from His Spirit.

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” -Romans 8:11–14

“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” -Philippians 2:13

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I [Jesus] have spoken to you are spirit and life.” -John 6:63

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” -1 John 4:16

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love.” -Ephesians 3:14–17

Jesus Gave Us His Spirit

Jesus Gave Us His Spirit

Jesus Gave Us His Spirit

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” – Romans 8:11

This is one of the most incredible verses in the entire Bible.

It reminds me of the story in Ezekiel 37 where God takes the prophet and raises up an entire battlefield graveyard back to life – an incredible visual to such an overlooked verse.

The reality is that all of the Bible has been leading up this moment.

Humanity experienced God’s Spirit coming upon people in the Old Testament, but it had never become available as a widespread experience.

Until now.

When the promised Holy Spirit first entered into the disciples, Peter quotes Joel 2:28 saying:

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”

And the disciples proceeded to teach that God’s Spirit has become available to anyone who repents and confesses Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

What This Means For Us

Unfortunately, I think most of us (myself included) live below God’s intended goal for the Christian life.

We limit Christianity to Sunday services, Bible reading, prayer, even doing good things for others.

But look at how Jesus described the Christian life:

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” – John 7:37-39

In other places, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will be guiding, teaching, empowering, comforting and transforming our hearts into His likeness.

But so often, we get caught up in the busyness of life and the standard ‘to-do list’ of “Christian living”.

So, let us refocus these to-do lists, because they aren’t bad in of themselves. Think of them like you would a standard date night with a significant other. Having the structure and realizing the importance of quality time is good, however, you could easily check of the list of to-dos for them and not really draw any closer to each other.

It’s the same with God.

  • Read your Bible… so that you may know Him more and hear Him more clearly…
  • Pray to Him… so that you may pour out your heart to Him and learn to trust Him more…
  • Serve others… so that you may be used by Him and get to participate with Him in what He is doing.

Do all of the good things we ought to do,
But do them with the intentionality of being in relationship with God.
Do them as an outflow of living water that He has created in you.

May you not simply live a life with Jesus crammed into as many spots as you can put Him…

But may you live a live guided, filled, empowered with the Holy Spirit in your heart.

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