Kindness is one of those virtues that we are taught to observe from the very earliest stages of childhood. When I mention this fruit of the spirit, everyone knows exactly what this word means. It means treating others as you would want to be treated. It means showing generosity and consideration towards others. But there are two types of kindness. There is passive kindness…when someone does something nice for you and your respond kindly. And there is active kindness…when you go out of your way to do someone nice for someone else. I sincerely believe there would be more Christians in the world if those who know Christ would use more kindness in all we do. Mark Twain once said “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” I love that. Kindness is a universal language that starts simply with a smile.
The fruit of the spirit is falls into 3 categories: the upward qualities, the outward qualities, and the inward qualities. The upward qualities are love, joy, and peace. The first of the outward qualities is long-suffering…or as some translations say, patience. But this quality is much deeper than just having the patience to wait until someone is done talking, or being patient while we wait in line at Disney. It is the kind of patience that exudes a quiet willingness to accept and live through both irritating and painful situations. People who endure diseases or hard situations in life and do so while still portraying a Christ-like spirit are good examples of what it means to have long-suffering. The only way to have this outward quality in your life is the spend much time working on you inward growth in Christ.
The third fruit of the Spirit that Paul mentions to the Galatian church members is Peace. All worshipers of Jesus should relentlessly pursue peace in conflict and calm in chaos. When I picture peace, I think of a lighthouse. I imagine that lighthouse in the midst of a crazy storm with thunder and lightning and wind. I can see the waves crashing on the shore tossing a ship to and fro as the captain desperately seeks the safety of shore. And then…he sees the lighthouse…a symbol of stability and safety. The lighthouse is a stalwart of peace in the midst of a storm. this is the way each believer should be around those who do not know the Lord.This kind of peace brings both a supernatural calm amid the noise of a chaotic world and the ability to bring stability and harmony to a divided and decisive culture.
One of the fruits of the Spirit is Joy. Joy comes from the comfort of knowing God is able. It is not “pie in the sky” mentality. Rather, it is real, calming, and confident. Joy originates from God Himself. It is one of the many benefits of being one of God’s children. There are many things in life that try to steal away the joy in our hearts. The loss of a loved one, financial struggles, disease and sin will all make their way into most of our lives at some point. But for the growing, worshiping Child of God, there should be an inner Joy that resonates through it all. So trust Jesus, and rest in the Joy only He can give. It reminds of the old song from the late Andre Crouch. “Through it all, Through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I learned to trust in God. Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon His word.”
a key and run a few laps around my car dragging that key through the paint…I would lose my happiness. But, I would NOT lose my joy. Happiness is temporary. It is shallow. I wish we all had continued happiness, but it is simply not possible. Bad things happen. But JOY is eternal. Joy is deeper. Joy is based off of contentment and fulfillment that only comes from the Holy Spirit of God. The second fruit of the Spirit mentioned by the Apostle Paul in Galatians is Joy. True joy is one of the top ways you can spot a worshiper. Joy is based on attitude and confidence. It’s having the right attitude about every situation we face…both bad and good. And it is having the confidence that Jesus is always there and in control no matter what happened, what is happening, or what will happen.