Showing posts with label Faithfulness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Faithfulness. Show all posts

Monday, March 25, 2019

Faithfulness In A Quiet Season.

Psalms 31:21‭-‬24 ESV
"Blessed be the Lord , for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. I had said in my alarm, "I am cut off from your sight." But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. Love the Lord , all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!"

Do you feel a separation from God like the text says the psalmist felt while saying "I am cut off from your sight"? I encourage you to look where you put your trust and control. If it is in yourself and your own abilities this could be the reason for the disconnect. It says " He abundantly repays the one who acts in pride." It can be a form of pride for us to think we can control our way back to hearing Him.

Take hope though! If you are truly seeking the Lord in everything and there is still a disconnect, it could be God putting you in a place to learn something to be revealed later. That could be deeper reliance on Him, Contentment in Him, and many other things.

Whatever He has you in this season for remember He is faithful! His timing is amazing, God will show you His power in ways that you couldn't imagine. Do you know why? Because He is God and we cannot plan His ways.

His Truth, Grace, Power, and Character stay consistent. All we can do is "Be strong, and let your heart take courage" as we wait in hope and excitement of His great plan. The biggest thing to understand is that God can be silent for a season, but He is still there!

It is crazy to me how He works! He can stay silent so we His children can turn back to Him stronger and more at peace than ever, knowing He is in control! So "Love the Lord , all you his saints!" Because "The Lord preserves the faithful". What a peace we can find in Him.

I pray you all have a blessed day and week, may we hold our thoughts captive to God's word and be faithful so He can show His loving character and plan. Lord, thank you for your wondrously steadfast love.

Stay Steady,

Noah Koch


We're blessed to introduce Noah Koch as a new guest contributor to A Shepherd's Heart. He hails from the Pacific Northwest in the USA where he actively and passionately lives life on purpose for The Lord. He's very creative and talented as a communicator, photographer, musician, and writer. He has a true servant's heart. We prayerfully look forward to further guest posts from Noah in the future!

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Fruit of The Spirit - Self-Control

Read: Ephesians 4:22-24, Proverbs 25:28, 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, Romans 14:13-23, Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 5:8, 1 Corinthians 6:18, and Luke 9:23.

We desperately need more self-control in our world as it seems to be such a tumultuous time where so many are lacking this character quality and Fruit of the Spirit.

If we’re honest we see that we live in what is a largely self-centered, entitled society that wants what they want no matter what anyone else wants. It’s a ”me” or “I” viewpoint. 

They put themselves first.

However, those who know the Lord, should be abiding in Him, and walking in the power, help and direction from the Holy Spirit…we are to put off our old life, put on the new life and shift our focus off ourselves and onto the Lord and others!

The Definition of Tenacity:

When I think of the Fruit of the Spirit and especially the Fruit of Self-Control, the word Tenacity comes to mind and here's how dictionaries define it: 

the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip.
the quality or fact of being very determined; determination
the quality or fact of continuing to exist; persistence.
Tenacity – synonyms are persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of purpose, tirelessness, patience, purposefulness, steadfastness, staying power, endurance.

Like before A Football Game, Wrestling Match, or music competition or one of the many musicals I was a part of…There was this ownership and feeling that accompanied those ongoing things. This tenacity translated onto the sports field or music stage and was a driving force to continue to grow and excel. 

I believe that while it is The Holy Spirit that brings about gifts that are The Fruit of The Spirit, we are to be tenacious in growing in Christ and allowing His Spirit to work in and through us!

The Definition of Self-Control:

The ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior, especially in difficult situations such as: 

  • The ability for you and I to say no the things which aren’t good for us or others.
  • The ability and desire to put off the old life and put on the new.
  • The denial of our selfish desires and the striving after God’s purpose, plan and will.
God always has something better in store for us if we do things His way! (See Ephesians 4:22-24)

Self-Control is important because we really cannot grow to be more Christ-like without self-control. 

Furthermore, as we work hard to control our thoughts, words and actions, we provided proof that God is at work in and through our lives and we have to put on the armor of God regularly because there are many things that can hinder self-control.

It seems that with every other Fruit of the Spirit that it takes some measure of self-control to fulfill each of them. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness.

Examples of Self-Control and Your Calling to Self Control:

I recall reading about Edmund Hilary who was the first man who conquered Mount Everest,  (29,029 feet tall & is earth’s highest mountain)

He was asked by an interviewer about his passions for climbing mountains. He gave this reply: "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."

Self-Control is largely the conquering of ourselves but the most amazing thing is that we don’t conquer on our own…we have God’s help every step of the way.

Proverbs 25:28 says, "Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control."

This is especially relevant to the times where they had fortified cities.

I wonder if you and I see people like this verse describes? People whose life’s are like broken old dilapidated houses?  If we do, it’s because they haven’t maintained their physical and spiritual house. The analogy is even more relevant when you’re a home owner, however, if you're in Christ, He’s rebuilt the temple and taken residence up inside of us.

We are no longer that broke down house in Christ and we have to fortify ourselves through abiding in Christ and His Word so we can face the day-to-day battles so we won’t succumb to the pressures the influences that wage war against us.

As we read 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, we see that this passage is a picture of Self-Control and we’re reminded that our prize is eternal life with Christ. We don’t run this race without purpose / aimlessly because He gives us a greater purpose to live and run this race He’s placed ahead of us!

Note: He says here that He disciplines his body and keep it under control. We need to do the same including controlling our minds / thoughts.

We also have to remember once again that our actions can positively or negatively impact others. In this case…our actions, words, attitudes can cause others to stumble in the area of Self-Control. As Romans 14:13-23 reminds us, we should not be a stumbling block for one another.

We are also constantly under attack so self-control is needful in our lives and others.

We’re not to fear battles we face but we need to recognize that there is a real spiritual warfare going on and we need The Spirit of God to strengthen us and again, help fortify our spiritual walls so we can stand strong. I mention this and the next passage because it directly impacts our success and failure with grow Self-Control and the other Fruit of The Spirit! (See Ephesians 6:12)

We also have to be on alert as we recognize through the discernment of Christ who is our enemy and have the wisdom from Him to know those things and people that do not have our best in mind but maybe seek to harm us in one way or another. (See 1 Peter 5:8)

Another rampant thing in our world is immorality and as follower's of Christ, we're called to flee immorality which also (See 1 Corinthians 6:18) takes self-control...and sometimes in life…you will not only have to figuratively flee…but you may have to physically flee what it is that is detrimental to you. 

Following Christ takes sacrifice and denial of self – and if the Fruit of the Self-Control is at work in you, you should have no issue denying yourself to follow Christ and gain all that He is at work in and through you to accomplish! (Luke 9:23)

I want you to remember something: your conduct matters now and in the future. Whatever you do today can set precedence for your future whether positively or negatively.

We can cause our own obstacles for progress when we choose to do the things which we know will adversely impact ourselves and others. We aren’t called to live a perfect life but we are called to strive for holiness, including striving to be more Christ-like.

Self-Control takes a lot of work. It takes a tenaciousness to be committed to your pursuit of Christ and in pursuing Him, allowing His Holy Spirit to work in and through you to help you bear fruit!

Exhortation to grow in Self-Control:

If you want to grow in this or any of the Fruit of The Spirit, you need help! So, ask the Holy Spirit for help!

In order to successfully grow you need to also abide in Christ each day! You need to own your growth and pursuit of Christ.

I also suggest that you assess the things and people that are influencing your life. Consider if there are friends, settings or things you need to avoid going forward as they negatively impact you and cause you to struggle with self-control? Are there things or people that may be tempting you or causing you to stumble? If so, it's time to purge those people or things.
This may sound hard nosed but, sometimes this is exactly what you need to do successfully grow! 

Let me also encourage you to be tenacious and own your words, actions and thoughts.

The Fruit of The spirit results in a change in our mind, behavior, and character that comes about because of the Holy Spirit's Work in us! 

As we close this series of posts out, I realized it's been far too long so I thought it was finally time to finish The Fruit of The Spirit Series after refocusing my time on other projects back to this one briefly. :-) 

Your Brother and Servant In Christ,

Randolph Koch

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Fruit of The Spirit - Gentleness


Gentleness is a fruit of The Spirit that this world desperately needs. 

With the actions we continually see, it’s clear that we as human beings need to grow in gentleness. Gentleness isn’t just about physical actions but it’s equally in what and how communicate. 

We see the lack of gentleness each time someone takes to their phone or computer keyboard to have a "discussion" which turns into a destructive mess because they say and such a way that it's clear the aim is to shred their "opponents" if possible. They obviously don't care about the receiver of that "shredding" as they just want to force their viewpoint...which isn't gentle. I also observe that many times these same people who hide behind their keyboards never act that way in person and rarely say and act that way when confronted with a real person face-to-face. 

We see a lack of gentleness in how we respond to one another in many other ways as well so we know gentleness is a fruit that many more of us need The Holy Spirit's help to bear!

As follower's of Christ, we need to remember that there's a direct correlation to the fruit we bear and our conduct as our conduct is the evidence of the fruit we bear.

Our Father in Heaven wants us to be like more like Him through being more Christ like! We are called to be more Christ like and the Holy Spirit is at work in us to be more like Him and part of this is through the fruit of the Spirit.

We're challenges in Ephesians 4:14-16 that we're to do our part in the body of Christ and operating in gentleness is a part of it. 

Each of us walking in the Spirit helps things operate properly and contributes to our growth and the growth of others. (Verses 15-16) There's also a principle in this passage that as we grow in our walks with The Lord, we will no longer fall pray to false doctrine, people or their schemes. (Verse 14)

There’s a spiritual and practical maturity that this passage describes here that He wants you and I to possess. 

The Fruit of the Spirit is a mechanism by which He accomplishes these things in our lives.

Definition of Gentleness:

The Greek Word 'prautés' is translated in Galatians 5 as mildness, gentleness, gentle strength.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology – Gentleness: Sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior founded on strength and prompted by love.

What is the opposite of Gentleness? 

From my perspective, things such as anger, wrath, revenge, pride, arrogance, roughness, rudeness, violence, harshness and much more are the opposites of gentleness. 

Reflections on Gentleness:

As I reflection on Gentleness, here are some of the things that come to my mind:
  • Gentleness is an attitude of the mind and heart.
  • Gentleness puts God & Others First.
  • Gentleness allows us to be more caring toward others.
  • Gentleness is shown through our response toward others.
  • Gentleness is also shown through being humble – humility.
  • Gentleness and humility are closely connected in God’s Word.
Gentleness in some translations of the Bible is translated as meekness but with either translation it doesn’t translate to and does not equate to weakness; rather, it’s showing great strength through showing restraint and as you read the Gospels – you see Jesus show great restraint at times and great power at times.

Examples of Gentleness:

Read: Matthew 11:29, Isaiah 40:11, John 13:4:17

The Gentleness of the Father and Son:
In Matthew 11:29 Jesus makes a connection for us between Gentleness and Humility and He’s an example of this throughout His earthly ministry.

He possessed power beyond measure yet He said learn from Him as He’s Gentle. So, look to Him as your example in all things. Immeasurable strength and power and yet displays gentleness toward us.

In Isaiah 40:11 we see that the all powerful one loves and leads us as a shepherd leads His flock. This was especially relevant to the people of that time period. In other passages Jesus refers to Himself as The Good Shepherd. (John 10:11-18)

In John 13:4-17 Jesus washes the disciples’ feet in an act of gentleness and humility. 
In this act we see the gentleness and others focused nature that Christ modeled for us. He humbly washed the feet of the disciples. He was is the King and yet He served others.
He knew at that time that Judas had betrayed Him and yet, He washed His feet.

We also see it in John 4 when He spoke to the Woman at the well. Or John 8:1-11 when He spoke to the woman caught in adultery.

To clarify, I don’t want to you think that I’m painting Jesus like some do as a pacific or wimpy, rather, He was far from that. There were times when Jesus was very assertive because He needed to speak directly to people and did so in a very blunt way and He has power and authority to do so but this doesn’t negate His amazing example of Gentleness for us. 
Your calling to Gentleness

You need to understand that there’s a connection between your words and actions with Gentleness.

IF we’re honest, we’re not always the most patient or gentle people. We sometimes are short or impatient with our responses. We’re sometimes angry and spiteful. We’re sometimes impolite. Its something that we all need to get better in!

Read: Proverbs 15:1, Philippians 4:5, Ephesians 4:1-2, 2 Timothy 2:24-25, Isaiah 55:9, Matthew 18:15-20, and John 3:30.
Proverbs 15:1 
You need to understand that your words and our actions are influential. You can impact others negatively or positively. Your words can speak life or death to the hearer. You can help or hurt by what you do and say.
Philippians 4:5 
You need to be as even keeled as possible and seek to be at peace with others.
In your career and life overall, this is important!

Ephesians 4:1-2 
A worthy walk is the goal or should be because we point people directly back to the One Who saved us. How we conduct ourselves, such as Paul described matters, why because the people around you matter! Gentleness is a part of that walk.

2 Timothy 2:24-25 
Have you ever had a quarrel or disagreement with your family, friend or co-worker?
Or, Do you find that you tend to instigate quarrels because you have to be right or assume the worst? Or do you find yourself impatient with your parents when they give you instruction, correction or an assignment for a given topic? Or do you find your tenancy is to assume the worst with your parents or siblings?

You need to ask yourself regularly…
  • Do I seek to teach others and am I teachable?
  • Is my life a reflection of a worthy calling?
  • Do I conduct myself with humility and gentleness? 
Isaiah 55:9
Gentleness recognizes that His ways are higher than your ways. Instead of the arrogance like we often see that “I got it all together” attitude, there’s a recognition that God is in control. You don’t have to have all of the answers. But He Does!..And no...none of us have it all together! 

Matthew 18:15-20
When we correct others: Do it in Gentleness like we see in Matthew 18 as it’s God’s prescription for addressing and correcting sin with hopes that person will repent and be restored. It’s meant to be a gentle and loving process not a harsh and unloving one.

It has peoples best in mind. 
John 3:30
Gentleness must also recognize that Jesus must increase and we must decrease.

Life is not about arrogance or ego…it’s all about Him. 

How to Grow in Gentleness:

Ask the Holy Spirit for help in growing in Gentleness. Prayer is vital! 

Abide in God's Word. As you fill up your heart, mind, and soul with God's Word, you will grow to know Him more and in turn, you'll be able to live out the wisdom and knowledge of His Word in very practical ways day-by-day!

You also have to choose and and strive to be gentle as much as possible. 

If you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you, you will over time become filled with Gentleness and the other fruit of the Spirit.

Exhortation to grow in Gentleness:

When you think of Gentleness, you can think of Jesus, the Creator of the Heavens and the earth, who showed great strength, humility and restraint when He washed the feet of the disciples and took the cross for you and. 

He epitomized gentleness.

As you live the life God has blessed you with, always remember how you can and do impact others whether in a good or negative way.

For example, the next time someone says something harsh to you or that you don’t like, consider answering gently…or consider if you need to answer at all.

Consider the attitudes, words and actions of the past, and then…Consider what you might need to adjust in your life so you can represent Christ and relate to others better as you seek to operation in the Fruit of The Spirit.

  
Lastly, let's pray for one another that God will help us continue to grow in The Fruit of The Spirit of Gentleness and that we'll strive to be gentle in what we do for His Kingdom and Glory. 


Your Brother and Servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch

P.S. I could really use your ongoing help through prayer and other support. Please visit https://www.ashepherdsheart.org/p/help-a.html to find out how you can help me in moving A Shepherd's Heart forward. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Fruit of The Spirit - Faithfulness

Faithfulness isn’t an ear mark of this world. Our society is often a display of a lack of commitment, follow-through and corruption.

We see the opposite of faithfulness in the public through people through their financial dealings such as tax evasion, embezzlement and the like. We also see it through the sometimes unfaithful and corrupt behavior of some politicians and other officials as well. 

This is especially true when we see these supposed leaders seeking to tear down others and attempt to malign the character of others. 

We see it in the lives of famous people or everyday people too, as they sometimes aren’t faithful to their wife or husband. We see it in some people with a lack of work ethic. We see it with the lack of follow-through as often people don't do what they say they will do. 

We see it in friendships where someone betrays the trust of others. Like someone shared something confidential with them or they say they promise to keep it a secret and then when it comes down to it, they don’t keep it a secret. Or how about when someone propagates gossip about someone?

None of the above are what faithfulness is. 

The Definition of Faithfulness:

Greek Word: “Pistis” with means: faith, belief, trust, confidence; fidelity

Or some dictionaries and commentaries refer to it as reliable, steadfast and unwavering.

This type of faith is spoken of in at least the 4 following ways in the Bible:

1- As an attribute of God
2- As a gift of the Holy Spirit.
3- As a positive attribute or characteristic that some have.
4- As an attribute or characteristic that many lack.

In Practical terms, faithfulness is marked by things such as loyalty, trustworthiness, reliability, commitment, following through, being a man or woman of your word, perseverance, being a good steward with what God has entrusted you with or others have.

Biblical faith is grounded in a belief that God is who He tells us He. It's also a trust in what His Word says over anything this world tells us and knowing He promises to work everything together for good.

We put our Faith in God and He then grows faithfulness in us.

I’ve heard it well said that faithfulness is the "gluing" fruit that will preserve our faith and the other fruit of the Spirit and identify God's will so we can be dependable and trusting to God and others. Because if you’re not faithful – the rest of the fruit of the spirit cannot grow as well in you.

Examples of Faithfulness:

God’s Faithfulness:
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
Here are some of the ways God is faithful:

He protects us from evil: 
2 Thessalonians 3:3 - But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

He forgives our sin: 
1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

He Sanctifies us: 
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

He limits our temptations and provides a way of escape: 
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

He sent His Helper: 
John 14:16 - And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.

John 14:26 - But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Act 1:8 He promises that the Holy Spirit will come to empower us so we can be His Witnesses…then on The Day of Pentecost – Acts 2 the Holy Spirit was given.

He’s faithful to provide the help we need so we can live out our faith and live a faithful life!

Your calling to be Faithful:

Because God is trustworthy with us we can be faith-worthy in Him! For you and I, faithfulness begins when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.

Walking with Christ is a daily exercise in faith and faithfulness because you are to be committed to who God says He is from cover to cover in His Word.

We walk by faith not sight: 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Through every experience in life, no matter what your eyes see or tell you…you walk by faith and not by sight.

Furthermore, your life should be driven and motivated by what God says and not by what your eyes see as if you only follow the world…your vision will grow very blurry very quickly.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Be faithful to honor God by rightly studying, representing, interpreting and communicating His Word! 

Portraits of Faithfulness:

Read the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11:1-12  as each of these examples are people God highlights as examples of faith.

As you read it, you'll not He doesn’t mention any of the failures of faith in their lives, rather, He focuses only on the victories.

Noah for example displayed the gift of faithfulness as he lived in a place that didn’t see rain and for 120 years built the ark and warned people of the pending judgment. He remained faithful.

Sarah was in her 90s when God allowed her to be able to conceive. As you read the entire chapter you’ll see examples of people who for one reason or another didn’t get to see God fulfill the promises He’d given them but they remained faithful and God recognized their faithfulness.

Hudson Taylor: Missionary statesman Hudson Taylor had complete trust in God’s faithfulness. In his journal he wrote: 
"Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning … He sustained 3 million Israelite's in the wilderness for 40 years. We do not expect He will send 3 million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would have ample means to sustain them all … Depend on it, God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply."
Practical Ideas For How to Grow in Faithfulness:
"Faith moves, faith takes action, faith does things, faith makes a difference in the way your life is lived." –Pastor Rich Jones
I recommend that you start by asking the Holy Spirit for help in growing in faithfulness.

Practice being faithful and one of the practical ways you can do so is by keeping your commitments.

You also have to be the one who purposes to walk in faith and not by sight. You have to put the faith in the faithfulness. Put your faith into action and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and not on this world.

Ultimately, it's vital be faithful in the little things and as Luke 16:10 says: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.  

Be faithful in everything!

As followers of Christ, Faithfulness should be one of the ear marks of our lives as God through His Holy Spirit continues to help us grow in this Fruit of The Spirit. 

Let's pray for one another that God will help us continue to grow in The Fruit of The Spirit of Faithfulness and that we'll strive to be faithful in all we do for His Kingdom and Glory. 

Your Brother and Servant in Christ,


Randolph Koch

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Fruit of The Spirit - Goodness

From the very beginning of the Bible, God introduces us to what Goodness is.

In Genesis we see when God had finished creation – And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. -Genesis 1:31

With all of the Fruits of the Spirit, they are glimpses of the Character of God. And they are characteristics that we through the Help of The Holy Spirit will also prayerfully reflect. 

Goodness is no exception to this as Goodness is also one of the many direct reflections of the character of God. 

When we consider all of The Fruit, you can also think of Fruit as the beneficial results of the work of The Spirit in your life for God’s Glory as well as for the benefit of yourself and others.

Kindness and Goodness go hand-in-hand and are very similar in the Fruit that they produce in and through us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Fruit of The Spirit - Kindness

I’ve heard it well said that The fruit of the Spirit is the resulting character of someone who is allowing the Holy Spirit to develop maturity in their life. 

To express kindness is no exception to this because we need The Holy Spirit to work in and through us to develop and express kindness! 

If we're honest, kindness isn't very easy sometimes to practice and live out and this is especially true in an often unkind culture. However, we're supposed to be in and not of this world so we are without excuse for times when we're constantly unkind because we're called to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Him. As we do, He will prayerfully help us grow in The Fruit of The Spirit as He's The One Who gives us the spiritual gifts in the first place!

What is Kindness?

Kindness is something that we, through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, purposefully do!

The Greek word that is translated for “kindness” is chrēstotēs which essentially means tender concern/care or uprightness. 

It is kindness of heart and kindness of action. Kindness is something you see in others and hopefully see in yourself as well as others see in you.

Kindness is something we see described in Philippians 2:3-4. "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."

It’s the considering one another as more important than ourselves...  
It’s looking out for one another... 
Kindness seeks no reward for oneself... 
It’s in the little things as well as the big things...

It’s not a selfish attempt to get something for ourselves!

Kindness is really a mindset and something where we have to shift our minds or change our stinking thinking. 

Kindness is something we desperately need prayer and the active Help of the Holy Spirit to experience and bear.

You know people who are the kindest of people. Be like them.

So, what is the opposite of kindness?

Anger, bitterness, envy, strife, coveting, maliciousness, hatred, cruelty, being mean, holding grudges. Being petty. Having selfish motives and more. All of these things are the opposite of kindness and we need to reject these things in our own lives! 

What are examples of kindness? 
How can we be kind to one another? 

God’s Kindness:
Kindness is part of the characteristic that led God to provide salvation for us:

Titus 3:4-7 (ESV) "But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."  

It’s the kindness of God we see in Psalms 23:2-3 (ESV) where the Psalmist says:
"He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake."  


It is God's tender care that makes Him gather us under His wings, to protect us and keep us close to Him and to be our refuge.

Psalms 36:7 (ESV) - "How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings."

Psalms 17:8-9 (ESV) - "Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me."

Psalms 46:1-3 (ESV) - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. 

The truth is, if God was unkind and unloving, no one could or would take refuge in Him would they? 

It was kindness that led Jesus to stop what He was doing and help others in need:

Mark 6:34 (ESV)  - "When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things."

Jesus was busy and always in demand but He helped people anyway. 

And kindness leads the Good Shepherd to rescue us when we stray which we see in the Parable Jesus taught in Luke 15:3-7 (ESV): 

"So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."

For us to express kindness toward those who are against us requires the work of God:
2 Corinthians 6:4-7 (ESV) "but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;  by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;"

Our instruction to be kind:
God wants us to be more like Him! 

When we experience the Kindness of Christ, His love, grace and mercy and much more becomes real to us and in turn, we can share His love, grace and mercy with others, even those we feel don't deserve it. 

Furthermore, when you are kind to others, His love, grace and mercy can become real to others (who may have never experienced kindness their entire life) because they see Christ in you! 

2 Peter 1:5-8 (ESV)  "For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  

Or some versions translate as “brotherly kindness” (2 Peter 1:7) Instead of “affection”

We're instructed to make every effort to put on Kindness and many other character qualities!

We’re told to put on these things. Not a suggestion but a command: 
Col 3:12-15 (ESV) "Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful."  

How to Grow in Kindness:
We need to pray and ask for The Holy Spirit's help to be kind an grow in the spiritual gift of kindness. We have to strive to practice kindness moment-by-moment! The Little things count! 

For example, when you’re at a gathering somewhere, if you see someone who tends to be alone – try to show them someone cares. Show them kindness.

If you're out and about on a hot day and you see someone who is homeless, hand them a bottle of water. 

If someone asks you to do something that you don't think is your job or you don't want to do, do it anyway. 

When someone is unkind to you, pray for them and try with everything within you to be kind in return. In other words, don't return unkindness with more unkindness. 

When you're driving your car and someone cuts you off...strive to let it go and realize you don't know what is going on in their lives. 

The truth is that Jesus endured a lot of unkindness and like Jesus, kindness is humbly giving of ourselves in love, compassion and mercy to others who may not be able to give anything back including those we feel don't deserve it or who frequently don’t thank us for it.
It's being kind regardless of what you do or don't receive in return.

Keep in mind that kindness is not dependent on our feelings, rather, we're to be kind even when we don't feel like it. That's where The Holy Spirit often helps us. 

Furthermore, kindness, love, mercy and compassion and grace are what we’ve been given from God yet none of us deserved it!  

Kindness Challenge: 

Challenge #1:  Let me challenge you to turn even your random acts of kindness into purposeful, fruit filled and fruit full acts of kindness.

There’s a saying that I like, “Be the change you want to see”…which I agree but in order to do that, the change has to really begin with you and me! 

It has to begin with God transforming us and empowering us to be His witnesses in the world! Ask Him to do so and allow Him to do so! 

Challenge #2: Let me challenge you to...Go BE That Change!  

Don’t just do “random acts of kindness” but also do intentional acts of kindness. You and I have to live it out!  We need to live life on purpose! 

Questions to get started with: 
-What if every action I made and every word I speak was seasoned with kindness and grace? 
-What if I chose to have an attitude of kindness instead of a cranky attitude?
-What if my response to other’s was kind more often than not?
-What if I allowed the Holy Spirit to fully be at work in and through me so I can produce more fruit? 

Friend, our world would be a far different place if we all would strive to practice kindness! We as followers of Christ should be leading the way! 

Keep growing and lets pray for one another that we'll grow in The Fruit of The Spirit of Kindness! 

Blessings in Christ,

Randolph Koch

P.S. I decided it was time to finish the rest of the series I put on pause. :-) In case you missed the previous messages here are the links to first 5 in the series:

Patience: http://www.ashepherdsheart.org/2017/03/the-fruit-of-spirit-patience.html

Stay tuned for more of The Fruit of The Spirit in the weeks to come!

Please consider helping this ministry through prayer and other ways! Find out more here:  https://www.ashepherdsheart.org/p/help-a.html