Friday, April 4, 2008

Cultivating Kindness

“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.” Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Like all disciplines, making kindness a part of one’s being is no simple thing. All though everyone knows someone who is the epitome of a kind soul, that person is the rare one. That person probably exhibits all of the fruits of the spirit in his or her daily life.

This week has been very trying on my attempts to cultivate kindness in my interactions with others. After reading a bit of A Woman’s Walk With God: Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit by Elizabeth George, I realize I have many steps to take. Mrs. George says in the introduction of the book, “We must never forget that all nine fruits stand together: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control make up our walk with God…No one of them can be missing, and all must be evident to be God’s fruit.”

It seems an overwhelming task, this idea of discipline. But, God in His wonderful way lets us know he has a plan for our growth and if we follow His plan and not our own willfulness, we will become the women He created us to be.

Look at 2 Peter 1:2-8 (NASB) ~

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to live and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (virtue).

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence (virtue), and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Cultivating the fruits of the Spirit is one of the goals of our walk with the Lord. It is not the end of the road, but the steps along the path. It is clear that the growth of one fruit prepares the way for the next fruit for the life deliberating seeking to know God.

Let’s look at three parts of incorporating kindness into our walk.

1) Requirement – Being kind isn’t an optional part of being a Christian.

Micah 6:8 ~ “He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

2 Timothy 2:23a ~ “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all.”

2) Results – When we seek to do God’s will, we are able to teach it to others.

Proverbs 31:26 ~ “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

3) Reputation – Our life should reflect Christ in a positive light, so that we have an influence in leading others to Him.

Acts 9:36-37a, 40-42 ~ Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died…But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and the widows, he presented her alive. It became know all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.”

Each deliberate act or word of kindness benefits us as well as the recipient. We start to care about those to whom we are kind. We start to think about what is best for that person. The first step is to pray that God will give us a soft heart that sees the needs of others before ourselves. This attitude will abundantly increase our fruits.

1 comment:

Digging for Pearls said...

I love Elizabeth George's books.

I wanted to let you know that I am having a book giveaway. To enter all you need to do is post ten struggles you face as a Christian woman and also your age. If you have a few minutes, come check out my blog. Thanks and God bless.