Devotional: Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness
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Galatians 5:22-23 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)
“22And the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law; and those who are Christ’s, the flesh did crucify with the affections, and the desires; 25 if we may live in the Spirit, in the Spirit also we may walk; 26 let us not become vain-glorious — one another provoking, one another envying!”
The Greek term for kindness used in this scripture is chréstotés. It can be translated into goodness, uprightness, and gentleness. It comes from the Greek word, chréstos which means useful, gentle, pleasant, gracious, or kind. As other fruits of the Spirit, this type of kindness is not produced by ourselves, but comes from the Holy Spirit to combat the harsh nature of humanity. To show this kind of kindness is to actively demonstrate the love we have for God or our fellow man.
It’s God’s kindness that moved Him to shelter us from harm, to forgive us for our sins, and to provide us with salvation. When we make an effort to be gracious and to show God’s love to someone suffering or in need despite the inconvenience or the cost to us, we are showing chréstotés. When we demonstrate chréstotés, we are gentle, gracious, and loving. After all, how can we show kindness without love? I believe the agape love fuels chréstotés kindness in our lives.
This type of kindness is pure and can be hard to achieve. Not many people in today’s world show pure chréstotés kindness to those around them who are in need of it. How much harder it is to show chréstotés to someone who slanders us and persecutes us, but God commands it.
Matthew 5:43-48 New King James Version (NKJV)
Love Your Enemies
““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
One of the hardest things you may face may be not just forgiving those who hurt you, but then going a step further and showing chréstotés to them. This does not mean be nice, smile, and keep walking. It means being gracious, kind-hearted, and useful towards them. Yes, I said useful. Don’t forget that “useful” was part of what defines the Greek word chréstotés and its root word chréstos. Doing something to help and be gracious towards them.
Say there is a person who abuses you and spreads hateful rumors to ruin your life on a regular basis. You take the difficult step to sincerely forgive them in your heart. Then one day that person is attacked and surrounded by all sides. They crumple to the ground in defeat. You stepping in to lend a hand and pick them up from the ground and dust them off is an example of the type of kindness I’m talking about. Not just deciding you won’t join in and attack them to repay the hurt they caused you, but fending for them and picking them up from the ground.
Think about this. You turning the other cheek and not engaging in fighting with them may make somewhat of a point, but going a step further and helping them after they’ve hurt you and caused you pain, even while you are still enemies, is going to send a loud and clear message to them. They will be convicted whether you see this or not (it is not our job or right to see someone be convicted) and they may even want whatever it is you have in your life to have the grace and kindness to do this. This is like an unspoken testimony, an act of testimony, of God’s love to that person.
***Don’t forget to download your PDF Printable Bible Study to help you dig even deeper & apply this to YOUR life. Click HERE to open the PDF Bible Study on chréstotés now!!!***