Sunday, June 1, 2008

our kindness and His kindness - fruit of the Spirit series

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness....
Galatians 5:22

Well, it's been a while since I've posted and I want to continue my series of praying through the fruit of the Spirit. While studying what the Bible has to say about kindness, I found something interesting; the Greek word translated kindness [chrestotes] in Gal 5:22 means moral integrity and kindness and is used 10 times in the NT. One of those uses occurs in Romans 3:12:

All have turned away,
together they have become useless;
there is no one who does good [chrestotes],
there is not even one.

So, Paul tells us in Romans 3, quoting from Psalm 14, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, there is no one who does what is right, no one who does good [chrestotes] in the eyes of God. And yet, the fruit of the Spirit is kindness [chrestotes]. In other words, it is the Spirit in us that allows us to do what we could not do on our own. And moreover, it is only through the Spirit that we can do what God expects of us; without the Spirit, we are lost in our sinful natures.

Amazing grace!
How sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost,
but now am found,
was blind but now I see.

But, wait; there's more.

While chrestotes is used to describe our innate sin and later our fruit, it is most often used to describe the kindness God showed us through our salvation. Romans 2:4 tells us about "the riches of His kindness [chrestotes], restraint, and patience, [that is] intended to lead you to repentance." And Ephesians 2:4-9 states:
But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in [His] kindness [chrestotes] to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.


Father, I am a sinner, who by nature, does not show kindness.
I am selfish and prideful.
My natural desire is to turn away from you.
But, you are the creator of the universe;
you are the one who truly is independent.
There have been so many times I knew the right thing to do,
but yet I didn't do it.
I cannot be good on my own.
But, because of your Spirit, I am now growing in the image of your Son.
It is through your kindness, in pouring your Spirit out on me,
that I am able to be kind in return.
When I deserved nothing but your wrath, you saved me.
And you saved me as a way to demonstrate your goodness.
In all those times I sinned against you, you were kind, restrained and patient.
And your kindness, your restraint, your patience allowed me to come to know you.
You brought me to repentance.
Help me always remember the kindness you have shown and help me show that kindness to others.
Continue the good work in me as you bring me to know you more deeply.
And may I live in constant praise of you because of the grace you have shown to me.
I praise you in the name of Jesus, your Son and my savior. Amen.

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