Ok, wow. I didn’t think when I started getting back to the ‘simple’ it would take so many posts. Uncovering the need for kindness and then walking through how to get back to it is a long road. This is the third post on the topic of being kind. The first two were lengthy, this one not so much.
To be fair, much of the content in the last two posts was Scripture. I included entire passages to help us see the concepts clearly. Without God’s view on these issues that affect our sinful, now redeemed hearts, we really can’t understand the need for kindness and how to get back to it.
The last passage we quoted and promised to explain was in Galatians. Here’s that passage and what we said about it in the last post. If you haven’t, it will help you to read the first post here and the second here, before you go on.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:16-25
The way we keep Colossians 3 is to practice Galatians 5. Walk, be led by, live by, and keep in step with the Spirit. Then you will bear the fruit of the Spirit. You will have killed (crucified the flesh) the old-self and gotten dressed in the new-self.
You may ask, ‘How do I walk, be led by, live by, and keep in step with the Spirit?’ Great question. Let’s tackle it in the next post.
Now we are here at the next post to answer that question. And here’s the simple answer: Be a child.
What do I mean? Let’s first assume I’m talking about a child who is dearly loved by his parent and, in turn, loves them back, and trusts them without question, as only a child can do.
If we were to observe that kind of child with his or her parent we would see Galatians 5 illustrated. He follows without question, always desiring to be in contact with his parent. He walks with his parent because he admires and enjoys being with them. She ‘keeps in step’ with her parent because it makes her joyful and secure.
Ever see a child jump from snow-print to snow-print or sand-print to sand-print in his parent’s footsteps? It’s that kind of unquestioning, happy pursuit I believe the Lord is referring to. To have the simple trust of a child who allows her parent to lead, who takes joy in leaping from step to step, who follows in the dark, or the mud, or after the corner is turned.
Getting back to this level of trust is essential. We need to strive for innocence. We need to pray for more faith. We need to watch for the Spirit to move, and then keep pace. We need to practice walking like our Father. We need to imitate our Brother, Jesus.
We do this the same way a child does – by watching his parent, by waiting for them, by imitating them, by enjoying them. A child has a bit of an advantage here – he can see, hear, and touch his parent. We cannot – at least not in the same sense.
How to get back to Kindness
Learning to see, hear, touch, and sense our Father and His Spirit’s presence is how we become all the things God wants us to be. It’s how we get back to kindness. The way we do it is exactly how a child does it – we see how God acts by watching Him in the Bible, we hear what He says by listening to His words in the Bible, we sense His presence by deliberately putting ourselves in it through prayer, Bible reading, worship through song, fellowship with other believers, and ministry to all.
The way we get back to kindness for that person we’ve become unkind to is by getting back in step with our Father. By doing all the things He does. By pursuing His will, not ours. Ask Him to help you return. Repent of making your own way. Allow Him to forgive. Then follow, follow, follow, and find your joy.
Try this simple exercise. Use the passage above from Galatians and do this: Read the passage until you get to a phrase or a word that makes you stop. You might stop for any number of reasons like not understanding a word or phrase, or a feeling that this describes you or an issue you have, or a question about the meaning or application, or any number of other reasons.
When you stop, stay there until you understand why you stopped. Ask the Spirit to make it clear to you what you are supposed to know. Then ask what you are supposed to do with that knowledge. Then, go do it.
Doing all this in relation to our topic of being kind will help you uncover areas where you have been unkind and correct them. Following the Spirit in this might be very difficult. Children find it hard to take big adult steps, but if they want to stay beside their mom or dad, they have to keep up. The beautiful thing about loving parents is that they usually will wait or track back or pick up their child and carry him if he can’t keep up on his own. Our heavenly Father is so much like that!
If kindness needs to be rekindled in your relationship, do it now. Become the person in your relationship that you want your partner to be. Offer grace, do that which proves you kind. You will find your heart will change with the effort.