Every year around Christmas, we witness some of the same things: the debate about Christmas having pagan origins, commercialism, and the drive to do good deeds.
The way I feel about the increased focus on doing good deeds around the holidays are two-fold, really. On one end there’s always a need that can be addressed, so when there is an increase of kindness around the holidays, it’s great to see people reach out. On the other hand, kindness can become a perverse form of self-centered moralism where being charitable focuses more on how fulfilled you are and not about those you’re serving.
Recently God has brought to my attention the many opportunities I have to show kindness, and I can personally admit it’s one area in my walk that is easy for me to overlook. I’m talking about physically giving something to someone that can change the way they’ve been feeling or change the way they share kindness with others.
This is described as ‘paying it forward’, or doing random acts of kindness and it’s the most active demonstration of care that you can show someone. While it is most commonly witnessed during the holiday season, kindness is also known as one of the nine qualities of the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
As a believer, when you bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, you show all nine of these qualities in varying degrees. These aren’t nine different fruits, but the fruit of the Spirit is one complete fruit. So when the Spirit of God transforms you, He begins to produce His fruit in your life that you can personally examine so that you see the work of God before your very eyes.
Christ will make us more aware of where we lack in the fruit of the Spirit, and this is exactly what has happened to me. God shows us where our fruit falls short as an encouragement to be more intentional in the righteous choices we must make. In response, my prayer to God contains requests for more sensitivity to others around me, an increased capacity to His leading in doing good to others, and a higher desire to serve as Jesus served.
I encourage you to pray this prayer as well, and to challenge yourself in the midst of a holiday season where giving has more attention, so that once the holidays are over you keep growing in the grace of God concerning this area. For example, God was so kind to us that He gave to the world His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ. He is kind to us in the gifts He gives to us. When He is kind to us, there’s more life and goodness around us.
As men and women of the Kingdom, we have the opportunity and privilege to change the environment around us as well. Bless a homeless person. Share a gift with your friends randomly just to show you appreciate them. Pay for someone else’s meal. When you’re online, give a kind word and a blessing to people. Even as I give this advice, I know how much I lack in this area personally, but I’m willing to establish the habit of expressing kindness through action in my life! I pray this is all of our desires as believers. As our kindness shows, we are given more opportunities to tell others the ultimate source of our kindness comes from God who has always been kind to us.