Day – Kindness and Love
Mission to Uganda August 14
On June 16th, pending the mission trip to Uganda, as I spent my time in prayer I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to read Galatians 5, focusing on the fruits of the spirit. Lo and behold a month later it was revealed that for morning devotionals we, as a team will be concentrating on, was the fruits of the spirit. I was given ‘kindness’.
Most dictionary definitions state that kindness is: a quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. We hear of people carrying out acts of kindness or good deeds.
However, in Galatians 5:6-7 says “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love”. This spoke volumes to me in terms the root of kindness. We can look at it in this way… in Christ it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you do, how friendly, generous or considerate you are, if it’s not done in love. Kindness is rooted in Agape love. It’s one of the fruits that is birthed from another fruit of the spirit. For it’s love that compels us to act and move in compassion, that leads us to express this love in an act of kindness. If the motive is not love it becomes about self- accolades, self-promotion and self –gratification which is walking in the flesh. This leads to us become vainglorious and self-conceited (Galatians 5:26).
As 1 Corinthians 5:6 states “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump?” This shows how once you start to boast in what you do how pride begins to set in. Just a little pride can destroy all the acts of kindness as it becomes about ‘self’ receiving glory and not God.
As I meditated more on Galatians 5, I realised that kindness is NOT just doing good. After all, who is good? Jesus himself said only God is good and it’s His goodness that leads us to repentance. I looked further into what kindness is, by checking the Strong’s concordance definition of the word:
Kindness known as Charis (pronounced Kharece) means grace , favour it refers to God freely extending Himself (not expecting in return) and (His favour, grace) reaching to people because He is disposed to bless or be near them.
So kindness should be the extension of God’s grace and favour to others to bless them freely, this shows God’s Agape (unconditional) love. As God is love this should be reflected in our kindness, which should disperse His presence, drawing people to Him (ultimately it’s about relationship with Him, as He wants to be near us). This is the gospel it is through one act of kindness that we are saved. You could say it like this…
So God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (in kindness) that whosever shall believe in Him shall be saved.
The fruit of kindness is about sacrifice as it should not discriminate between any person saved or unsaved, poor or rich, no matter the colour or nationality. It’s about displaying God’s love through us to others.
So the question is a matter of the heart and motive – who are you kind to and Why?
Genuine Kindness expects nothing in return as it is activated by faith and is expressed through love.
This trip to Uganda for me can be summed up in one word ‘compassion’. My heart has been deeply transformed by God and is continually being shaped to understand and value the most precious jewels on this earth…that is people and their souls. The trip has increased a desire is to grow in the compassion and love that Jesus had that I may continue to bless others and draw them to HIM!!
“What’s love got to do with it?”
Love is the first fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5. I began thinking about the significance of this position. Normally, ingredients of products are listed in order with the highest content percentage first. I therefore came to the conclusion that love is one thing that we should be most full of.
So why so full? Simply because God is Love. Therefore if He is inside us, we should be full of love and the impact of this should be the first thing people experience clearly and freely.
Everybody talks about the idea of love; whether you are in the world or in the faith. But what type of love are we talking about? The love required from us is a spiritual love; this is more than just saying ‘I love you’ or doing acts of service.
Spiritual love is an attitude and condition of the heart that leads to action.
1 Corin 13 talks about the love we should demonstrate. According to this, how many of us can say we truly love? Are we consistently patient? Do we act in kindness and have good thoughts towards people no matter what they do? Can we endure in relationships and not give up? Do we always forgive? Will we serve and expect nothing in return?
The opposite of walking in spiritual love is walking in the flesh; operating in emotional love. Love in the flesh is emotional, temperamental, ultimately self seeking and conditional. It is based on feelings rather than spiritual truths.
Caring for the fruit:
Jesus’ greatest commandment was to Love The Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbour as ourselves. Meaning it is imperative that this fruit is produced without fail. It’s not an option or just a by-product.
When God plants a seed we need to allow it to grow.
Planting the fruit – God comes to live in us at salvation – the seed is in us.
The roots – As we read the Word we become rooted, grounded and secure in the truth.
Cultivate the fruit – The Holy Spirit waters us and strengthens us. He prompts us and guides us so that we grow in spirit.
Nurturing the fruit – Showing/demonstrating it to others so that it continues to increase.
Enjoying the fruit – Walking daily in spiritual love and seeing its benefits in relationships with God and each other.
In one sense the Uganda mission trip could have been seen as an act of love. Two weeks of ministry, serving, giving, labouring etc. However, looking at the heart reveals the truth behind our love. It was something we had to judge. Were we here out of the overflow of our love for God and therefore the trip was a natural expression of this love? Or were we here because the opportunity just happened to arise, sounded exciting and made us feel good about ourselves? In everything I do God challenges me to check my heart to make sure spiritual love is driving me. When the days are long and hot, am I still patient with people? When I’m really tired, will I still serve others readily and with gladness? ‘Love’ is everywhere, let’s make sure our hearts are full of the love of God.
Galatians 5:25 – if we live in the spirit let us also walk in the spirit.