As we continue our Winter Bible Study, our journey is to discover the character of God and how we reflect it; we are starting to build. Remember the journey is about trying and making the effort. God is there to cover us when we fall short. Kindness is something we all possess the capacity to extend, but we can be very stingy. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We are looking at Galatians 5:19-23 and for the next few weeks, we will focus on the last part of verse 22 and 23, one word at a time.
Galatians 5:22-23; But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
This week we will discuss kindness. When I hear kindness I immediately relate that to grace, we have difficulty extending grace to others. We usually decide in our mind if they deserve it. We have a mental checklist and if we feel they earned it we are kind to them. That is not the way it works folks.
As I have said before God’s Word has a way of building on itself. Just as we cannot reflect the true character of God without the presence of the Holy Spirit, we will find it easier to develop that character if we build on each previous character trait. So, let’s see what our building blocks stack up to.
We started with Love, God’s love for us, not our love for Him. He initiated it by removing the obstacles that we put in the way of our relationship with Him.
John 3:16-17; NIV; For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
That is the foundation, God, and His love for us. That makes everything else possible. From that he puts his Spirit in our hearts and that presence allows us to see things differently. With the Holy Spirit present we experience joy and peace. His presence allows us to focus on others and not ourselves, for the first time we start to live with an outward focus, not an inward, selfish one.
In that moment we start to differentiate ourselves from the World around us, the me first, get mine, look out for number one mindset we see all around us. I wonder if we realize that the United States would not have existed or even had a chance to succeed if the current thought process we see in our daily life existed 250 years ago? Unless we look outside ourselves the community in which we live is doomed to failure and anarchy, Mad Max here we come!
We see it on the track, a young driver is going to drive through everyone to get to the front. They think the answer is pushing everyone out of the way. Then it happens, someone pushes back and chaos ensues, not unlike some SK Lite features I have seen. Until we learn to respect and see things through the eyes of others we will not develop the character of God.
It is said that the first step in becoming a championship contender is to finish the race. To do that we have to be aware of our surroundings, develop a give and take attitude and have some patience. Now we start to see things come together but how does kindness fit at the race track? Think of all the grace that has been extended to you. Think of the provision that others have provided. Think of all the effort and sacrifice given for your benefit? That doesn’t happen without others choosing to extend grace and kindness.
So, what does kindness look like? You will find a common thread that runs through each of these character traits, we must want to. We must decide to be kind. We must decide to be gracious. It is a decision. Like every decision we make we need training and practice. Think about the good things in life, they don’t come without some effort. We can learn to be gracious and kind.
Some of us are kind by nature, that is a plus for them. For most of us it is a learned behavior. It starts when we are young. We are taught to play nice, don’t bite, hit, kick or scream. From there we learn how to share. Then we progress to giving the biggest piece of candy to someone and keep the smaller piece for ourselves. In that process we develop a thought process that considers others.
I can say somewhere along the line we fell off the rails, because I see less and less of that each day. When the worldly pressures close in we see self-preservation escalate. I am sure we all know someone with enough toilet paper to last them ten years! It happens, it is a defense mechanism that exists. We don’t think that anyone will provide for us so we have to do it ourselves. If we follow that to its inevitable conclusion we will all be isolated narcissists. If you’re wondering if you are headed that way, let me ask you, have you thought about building a safe room with provisions?
Don’t misunderstand, we need, to a certain extent, provide for our needs. It is when it gets obsessive that we lose focus. We need to step back from that and start looking outside our own little world and see the greater need around us. We need to extend a gracious, kind hand without the worry of what’s in it for me.
Kindness is more a state of mind than an action. One of the byproducts of receiving the gift of salvation God offers is that it comes with a promise that He will supply what we need. When we learn to rest and be at peace with that provision we start to see where we can extend kindness and grace by giving of ourselves to others. That’s when we depend on God.
The foundation of His love and presence expresses itself in us as peace and patience. From there we are able to be kind and gracious. We don’t have to protect and provide for ourselves, God has promised to do that.
Matthew 6:31-33; NLT; “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.