Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Witness in the Spirit: Kindness

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… (Galatians 5:22 NIV)

And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. (2 Timothy 2:24 NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)

…in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left… (2 Corinthians 6:6, 7 NIV)

Recently I have encountered people who have an obsession with power. They say that they want the power of God. It seems, though, that they want power to possess it for themselves. If this were not the case, rather they would desire to be vessels for God’s power to further His kingdom by spreading the Gospel of Christ Jesus; that is the way with the power of God (Romans 1:4,16; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-24 and 2:4, 5; 2 Corinthians 4:6, 7). This power, then, would be attended by genuine love, truthful speech, and kindness.

Power is a slippery word. We know whose it is (Luke 12:5), but we do not fully grasp what it is nor how big it is (Ephesians 3:14-20). Kindness can be defined much more sharply. The dictionary helps with words like sympathetic, friendly, gentle, tenderhearted, and generous. Kindness will help us identify whether it is God’s power or the enemy’s deception. The three references tell us that kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, that it is a requirement in witnessing, and that it is one of the characteristics of love.

If we are going to witness “in power and in the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:5), our witnessing will be with kindness.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

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