Devotion #60

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

When we are supernaturally filled with the fruit of patience, it’s evidenced in the next two fruits —kindness and goodness

Kindness is a tender heart and a nurturing spirit. When the Spirit fills us, our hearts become soft toward our spouses, and our desire is to bring them goodness. Kindness is that quality of doing right by one another; it’s that warm-hearted softness we show to them in those tender moments. The Greek word for kindness in this verse is actually a word used for fine aging wine. As the wine ages, it gets sweeter over time—in the same way, the Holy Spirit makes us sweeter and more kind over time.

Kindness expressed in action is goodness. Kindness is the burning desire to share all that He has done for us, and goodness is following through on that desire. Goodness is righteousness in action. Goodness is not passive; it boldly does what’s right. Goodness resists the desire to self-focus and intentional, persistently chooses to do good for the sake of our spouse. 

This reminder begs the question: are we becoming kinder in our marriages over time? Are we aging like a fine wine? Would our spouse describe us as sweet and thoughtful? Sadly, there are times when my husband wouldn’t describe me with either of those characteristics. For the most part, I try not to be unkind; but there are many days when I don’t go out of my way to be especially kind. I can be rather neutral. Spending time in these verses serves as a reminder that it’s my responsibility to allow the Spirit to move me toward kindness. I hear it sometimes, but I choose to ignore it because it’s easier to put my needs first. I say what I want to say without considering what he’s working through in his mind, I press my agenda without thinking about his needs, I respond harshly rather than softly when irritated. As a child of God, I should demonstrate a kindness that goes out of its way to be thoughtful and sweet to my spouse at all times. He should see this fruit in our every interaction. The Spirit insists I go beyond simply neutral interactions, and demonstrate a softness of heart that is unmistakably supernatural. My husband should be taken aback by my thoughtful and sweet nature in our every conversation. It’s my job to ensure that happens.

So I must take the time to reflect on what causes me to behave in a way that is less than kind, even what causes me to be neutral. When I dig down, I find it’s usually because I have my own agenda of wants and desires, my own list of things I want to get done or see happen, my own expectations for how he should behave or treat me. When these things are ruling my thoughts, my behavior is self-focused. My thoughts are on myself, so my words and my actions are intended to benefit me.

These are the thoughts I must surrender daily and replace with His plan. What is His agenda for my day? What does He want to see done in my life? What are His expectations for me? How does He want me to support my husband? When I meditate on His desires for my life, I naturally put my spouse first, and I actively seek ways to demonstrate His loving kindness and goodness.

I try to live my life in such a way that the people in my life know that I am a believer in Christ. That means, I represent Jesus in everything I do and say. I want my words and my actions to help people see the kindness and the goodness of our God, so I how I treat my spouse matters. People are watching. I continually pray that He removes my own agenda that would stop me from demonstrating His love to my husband and others in my life.

We must daily seek His filling of our hearts with the desires of the Spirit, so that we put down what we want and pick up what only He wants. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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