It’s now clear to me why God has me writing about the fruits of God’s Spirit this week. I need them this week! Yes, me.
Early in the week I experienced an unexpected rekindling of the most painful experience of my entire life. God urged me to write about, and then embrace, the fruits of his Spirit—specifically that his PEACE is not the absence of turmoil and pain, but the presence of calm in its midst. So, that’s exactly what I did.
The next day I wrote about, and then focused on, exhibiting another one of God’s fruits of the Spirit—FORBEARANCE. I asked him for the patience to put out my anger ember before it caught fire. And it worked!
The devotional I wrote for the next day spotlighted the fruit of KINDNESS. So I put that into action, too. I immediately recognized that when we’re in pain, especially when we’re in pain, we need to express Christ-like kindness. So, that’s exactly what I did.
I know, that just sounds too sterile…too easy. After all, it’s hard enough to be kind when things are great! But that’s the point…it’s hard because the kindness God expects from us cannot be manufactured. That would be nothing more than “being nice.”
The spirit of kindness is far more than being nice. But that also worked! Here’s how I look at it:
Fruit of the Spirit KINDNESS comes out…IF it’s already in.
Already in our mind. Already in our heart.
Even while suffering a painful death by crucifixion, Jesus reacted with kindness to his by praying for his adversaries. Jesus modeled kindness as a character trait that came out of him every day of his ministry.
“Live in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left.” 2 Corinthians 6:6-7
My kindness “test” is to ask:
Do I naturally default to a kind spirit or do the circumstances of the moment dictate my response?
I then pray that God would have me treat others with the kindness that only his Spirit can produce. To make me a vessel of love and kindness to fulfill his purposes in my life and the lives of others.
The week closed out with me writing a devotional on the fruit of GOODNESS, the other side of the kindness coin. Fruit-of-the-Spirit goodness reflects God’s character and prompts us to look for good in others no matter how hard that is to do. The entire ministry and sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross is the greatest example of God’s goodness. It undergirds our Christian faith.
God will always be our example of true goodness. His character has never changed and will never change. So that’s where we must put our focus because true goodness can only come from God, no matter how “good we act.”
“For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” Ephesians 5:9
Whew…what a week! But I learned, once again, that God is there for us—no matter our circumstances or pain. All we have to do is call on him. Try it today.