Impact Church

Passionately serving God and His people

Category: January Devotion 2016

The Courage To Be Kind

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love suffers long and is kind.

Everyone enjoys seeing kindness in others. It gives us warm and fuzzies to see a young man open a door for a single mother, to see someone pay for the coffee of the person behind them in the Starbucks’ line, or to watch someone assist an elderly person carrying their groceries to the car. It’s inspirational and beautiful. It’s what we dream our kids will do when they grow up and what we all wish our country would possess more of. However, that sounds a bit too idealistic, doesn’t it? Because truthfully, the single mother, the stranger in Starbucks, or the elderly may deserve such kindness but definitely not the people in our circles. They have ruined that privilege long ago. And although we see its attractiveness in others, we have a laundry list of reasons why it’s not more prevalent in our own lives.

Honestly, kindness has an image problem. Kindness gets little respect. To be labeled “kind” usually means the other person has little else positive to say about you so they resort to give you the generic characteristic of being nice. To be kind is to be considered passive, wimpy, and weak. Let us be clear: kind is not naive. Kind is not unhurt. Kind does not mean smiling blandly while others walk all over you. Kind does not mean being a doormat. In fact, I would argue that kind is the toughest four-letter word you’ll ever hear.

It is easy to be mean. It’s simple to react and respond in like manner to how we have been treated. It requires no intellect, no spirituality, and no maturity. Being kind takes more effort, humility, thought, and at times great sacrifice. Kindness does not occur in a vacuum where there is no evil. It dispels the darkness by warring against it with the only power greater; light.

When listing what the Holy Spirit would produce in the life of the vessel that contains Him, Paul declares that kindness will be the fruit of His abiding. Again, in his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul describes and elaborates on the power of charity by stating that love cannot be defined without kindness.

Therefore, my prayer for us this week is that we have the courage to be kind. That we make a decision that no matter what happens to us it cannot affect what flows from us. We are children of light, sons of God. We are full of kindness because we have been saved by the kindness of our Christ.

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Many Begin, Few Finish

The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.
Ecclesiastes 7:8

A New Year. “A new me!” The gyms across the country fill up with well-intended people who take the start of a new year as a signal to change themselves and improve. New Year’s resolutions abound. It’s a good idea, motivated by a noble desire, which meets a hard reality: patience of one’s life is the key to success, not the bold declarations. Those who hit the gym the first week of January have quit by Valentine’s Day. Chocolate and love is the reward for the not-quite renewed you!

Patient steps toward a noble goal create the desired result. The end of the matter is better than the beginning because the only true test of a resolution, is whether it was completed. Today, we say, “talk is cheap”. Or “you got to walk the walk if you’re going to talk the talk.”

It is common to encourage people to see their need to change and encourage a commitment to make it. We celebrate the commitment they make. Then the meeting ends and things return to normal. The conviction and excitement is gone and the pledge and resolution stand in front of the person, who is suddenly on their own to begin. It is easy for church attendance and involvement to create that exact experience. Discipleship, becoming a follower of Jesus, is a life-long process that is quite involved and, at times, tedious. Jesus said that it is denying oneself, taking up one’s cross and following Him (Mark 8:34). That is some heavy lifting. Unfortunately, discipleship is often pictured as an ecstatic response to a strong and dynamic message of appeal. It is easy to affirm the desire for a change and it feels good to say it. However, when the actual work gets hard, when faith has to put on its boots, the enthusiasm wanes and eventually, the one who has begun, quits.

“Patience of spirit” is linked to “The end of a matter”. The parallelism Solomon draws out is intended to instruct us that to actually achieve what you set out to do is not a result of your enthusiastic proclamations at the beginning of the matter. Winning the pre-game pep rally is a hollow victory. Succeeding and achieving what you set out to do is only accomplished by Read the rest of this entry »