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Patience, Kindness and Goodness

Patience, Kindness and Goodness

Words of Faith 6-26-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 5

    [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

     Patience, kindness, and goodness are expressions of agape love that are directly concerned with relationships with other people.     

    "Patience" is the quality of putting up with others, even when one is severely tried. The importance of patience is seen in the fact that it is most often used to describe the character of God.  The prophet Joel declared: "Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil" (2:13, RSV).  God is patient.  The Spirit of God is patient within us.   

    "Kindness" is the divine kindness out of which God acts toward men. It is what the Old Testament means when it so frequently declares that "God is good.” The Christian is to show kindness by behaving toward others as God has behaved toward him.

    "Goodness" is hard to define, but it is related to "kindness.”  It differs from kindness in that it is a more active term and is often directed toward that which does not merit the action. The primary idea seems to be undeserved generosity that springs from kindness.

      Each of these qualities is brought out only in relationships, and most often in complicated relationships.  The King James version defines patience as "long-suffering.”  It is a quality developed only in situations in which we are required to suffer long.  Development of patience will always happen in the most difficult of circumstances in order for the Spirit to be fully manifest with the quality of long-suffering.

      Kindness and goodness will require us to deal with unkind people and bad people.  Jesus said that it is easy to love those who love us back since even the pagans do that!  The real sign that the Spirit is resident and at work in us will be found in situations where we must be kind, and there is no reciprocation.  It is in such moments that we discover the power of the Spirit when we must act in good ways toward those who are acting as enemies against us.

      This is where we often bog down in the development of our Christian maturity.  We can become distraught and frustrated with people and even with a situation.  We may fail to realize that God has allowed precisely this situation to develop the fruit of His Spirit in us.  God is, in fact, waiting for us to come to the end of ourselves and surrender to Spirit.  That is when the patience of God will be displayed in us.  That point of brokenness is where we will discover genuine kindness and goodness.

      There is an old joke, or perhaps it is really wisdom, about not praying for patience because such a prayer will undoubtedly bring great trial and difficulty.  The truth is that when we pray in any way for the fruit of the Spirit to be manifest in our lives, we are praying exactly such a prayer.  We are praying for God to bring across our path people who are difficult to love.  We are praying for situations where it is hard to be kind.  We are praying for moments when goodness is not our natural reaction.  It is only in those moments and in those places that we are broken, come to the end of ourselves, and discover the remarkable power of the Holy Spirit to suffer long within us and show the love of God.

 

      Father God, develop the fruit of Your Spirit within me.  Use the situations of life to foster within me the ability to bear with difficult people.  Show me the joy that comes only when Your Spirit is kind within me, in the face of unkindness, and when You are good within me while all else is bad.  In Jesus' Name.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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