The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. Little Pot is a fruit-bearing vessel created by the potter. It is given the privilege of growing fruit. You can find the full story here. The allegory mirrors the relationship that we have with our creator. We are also vessels created to bear fruit. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is the substance God grows through us when we allow Him to work in our lives. The verses in Galatians describe this fruit with nine words. Therefore, each week we look at a word from the list and what Paul meant when he explained this fruit to the church.
We studied love, joy, peace, and patience in the previous weeks. In addition, click here to see how to explain love to children. This week, we will consider what Paul meant when he labeled the fruit of the Spirit with kindness.
Kindness: a movement, a day, a trend
Google defines kindness as being friendly, generous, and considerate. In the past few years, kindness has become a movement encouraging people to pay it forward and do kind acts for others. There are entire websites devoted to the idea. You can find school programs dedicated to kindness and all types of groups, including a bicycling group.
We have even created a kindness day. (It is November 13th, if you were wondering). Wikipedia explains the movement and history of the day here. According to the Hindustan Times, this day reinforces that compassion links us all together and has the power to bring nations together. The power to bring nations together? Wow! that is a tall order for one little word.
It was not til recently that kindness became a revolutionary trend that we celebrate by buying strangers coffee at Starbucks or painting rocks for strangers to find. Don’t get me wrong; I think focusing on acts of kindness is great. But I believe our efforts can leave out the source. In addition, Josh Wilson even wrote about it in a song.
Bible on Kindness
The fruit of the Spirit is kindness. That means God’s Spirit, and God, Himself, is kindness. We’ve learned in previous weeks that this fruit is not something we can produce without God’s divine intervention. Therefore, when we think of kindness toward ourselves and others, we must realize that it is impossible without God. The Bible has a lot to say about it.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” -Eph. 4:32
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.” -1 Cor. 13:4
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” – Luke 6:35
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Col. 3:12-13
Consequently, God’s definition of kindness includes forgiveness. We aren’t just supposed to be kind to friends and strangers. God includes our enemies in the list. Likewise, we are to be kind to those that we disagree with and those that hurt us. For a moment, consider Jesus and his acts of kindness. He was willing to humble himself and become a man for us. He gave all of himself, even facing the gruesome death of the cross (Philippians 2:6-11). This sacrificial kindness is the kindness that His Spirit can grow in us. We can forgive the unforgivable and sacrifice our desires for those of others when we allow God to produce His fruit through us.
The fruit of the Spirit is kindness.
Love, joy, peace, and patience can continue to grow when we add the truth from the Bible on kindness.
While God’s Spirit is what will produce this fruit, it requires our surrender and participation. Our lives should cultivate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. However, understanding how to become fruit-bearing vessels is a God-sized calling and one of the most important things we do as followers of Christ. Likewise, I’ve seen how God produces the fruit of the Spirit, and I’ve explained the process in seven steps. I have used these steps with children, teachers, and parents. It includes the three areas of spiritual, social, and academic growth. In these areas, you’ll learn practical things to do. Consequently, you will be a fruit-bearing vessel.
If you join me on this fruit-bearing journey, I promise we will see how God works in our lives and with others around us. Just type in your email address and name below.
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