Among the many fruits listed in Galatian 5:22, kindness is one that often seems to be overlooked. Patience? We’re glad to pray for more of that. Love, joy, faithfulness? Who doesn’t need more of those in their life? But kindness…kind of seems to encompass all these.
How would you explain being kind to someone? Being nice by being patient or giving? To tell someone what kindness looks like kind of means describing all of those other fruits again.
But kindness is distinct, as each of the fruits of the Spirit are. Kindness has a quality of its own that sets it apart as a fruit with its own taste and purpose.
Not just being patient, but cheerfully so.
Not just loving, but warmly caring.
Not just joyous, but delighting beyond oneself.
Not just faithful, but concerned with others’ qualities, needs, and desires.
Scripture’s word for kindness, “chréstotés,” is understood as Spirit-produced goodness. It is not tainted by self-gain or the cruelty of sinful nature. Rather, kindness in its true form is something purely given by God according to His will and character. The definition of being kind as a fruit of the Spirit includes meeting “real needs, in God’s way, in God’s timing.”
Little is sweeter than that. The right word at the right moment. The cheerful, caring gift that furthers the work of the Lord in someone’s heart. That’s kindness.
And its fruit we ought to ask the Lord to produce in us. More than our niceness or our own sin-hybrid versions of fruit, Sprit-produced kindness tastes sweet. Its nourishment provides energy and hydrates our thirsting souls.
Ask the Lord, as He shows you His kindness, to tend to your heart that you kindness might be something you can pass on as well.
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