Photo by Daria Shevtsova
THE NINE-FLAVORED FRUIT DEVOTIONAL SERIES
But 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 (NASB)
THE FLAVORS CALLED “KINDNESS” AND “GOODNESS”
This short article is called a “devotional,” but there is a world of difference between words on a page written to encourage the believer in their faith, and a life of devotion to God. Christians can ‘strategize’ their practical lives with displays of Christian characteristics, such as the Fruit of the Spirit found in the letter of Paul to the Galatians, and yet still be far from a life of devotion to God. It is not the characteristics that produce devotion. It is devotion that produces these nine characteristics, and displays them in our lives for all the world to see the wonder of our God!
It is when our lives have an attitude of devotion to God that He Himself produces in us the Fruit of the Spirit...the very actions that reflect the nature of God! The nine ‘flavors,’ or characteristics of this fruit include the ‘flavors’ Kindness and Goodness. To measure our understanding of, commitment to and whether Spirit-produced Kindness and Goodness are present in our lives, let’s look at them in “3-D!”
1st “D” - DISPOSITION
The word “disposition,” according to Webster, means, “a prevailing tendency, mood, or inclination.” Instead of a natural disposition to react to others on the basis of how we are treated, we ought to seek a spiritual disposition. This will enable us to act in accordance with God’s disposition and attitude He displays toward us. “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” Luke 6:33. This disposition of Kindness inside the believer is created by the Holy Spirit and makes us see the needs of others as if they were our own. The Kindness we have toward others will result in doing Good to all men. “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians 6:10, and even, “...love your enemies, do good to them…” Luke 6:35.
2nd “D” - DEEDS
Kindness is the authentic desire for God’s best for others, and Goodness is the action that intentionally results in deeds that contribute to that end. Instead of, or perhaps along with, what we have come to call “random acts of kindness,” perhaps we ought to intentionalize and become proactive as we seek to represent the loving hand of God in people’s lives. Doing good ought to be deliberate, not just impulsive. There is a time for being impulsive, but it is always time to be deliberate! A person is seen as a Kind person, caring about others, not mostly by what they say, but by the Good that they do.
3rd “D” - DISTINCTION
As a high school teacher, of theology at that, I would cringe slightly when I would hear one of my Sophomores ask their friend, “Hey, how are you doing?!”then to hear the response of, “Good!” While not an English teacher by any stretch of the imagination, the adverb that should be used is, “Well!” How great would it be if when we are asked, “Hey, what are you doing?” that we would answer, “Good!” Oh, that our lives would be less consumed with whether we are pleased with our own circumstances, and be more filled with Kindness and doing Good, positively affecting the circumstances of others!
If I am kind, I will want to do good!
Father, create in me the Kindness that is in your heart for me, so that I can demonstrate the Goodness to others that you have so graciously and mercifully shown to me, that they too can say, ‘I love you Father. Thank you for loving me.’” In the Good name of Jesus, Amen.
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