There are songs, poems, Facebook quotes, Pinterest pins all dedicated to the famous lyric sung by Helen Reddy, “I am woman, hear me roar.” Ms. Reddy’s song was used to promote her thoughts and feelings on female empowerment. Although this quote that can be used in a multitude of ways, I am not focusing on empowerment but on how sometimes we females literally just ROAR. We can roar positively or negatively. Our roars can be loud, obnoxious, self-righteous and in a self-edifying manner or gentle yet authoritative, kind yet direct, and loving yet convicting.
For MONTHS I have been reading and re-reading portions of Galatians; the ever-popular “Fruits of the Spirit” passages.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The one fruit that seems to be my favorite (or God’s favorite for me in this season) is KINDNESS. After reading and re-reading this passage I began to ask what does kindness actually mean in Galatians 5?
Kindness: Goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, benevolence, kindness, affability. Kindness in scripture describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience. The Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities from the character of one under His control. (#5544, Strong’s Concordance)
The fruits listed in Galatians 5 can be divided into three groups. The first three concerns our attitude toward God, the second group deals with our social relationships, and the last three consists of fruits that can be used as a guide for Christian conduct.
Before going any further, let me stop and say…I am a woman who can probably form an opinion about any topic at any time. Remember, an opinion is not always based on wisdom and is not always good counsel. In addition, I am passionate about my thoughts, feelings, and things I have learned and feel like you should learn them too (even if you don’t really want too). And I do not believe I am alone. There is a host of absolutely amazing, genuine and faith-filled women out in our world who would bravely admit to fighting the desires to spew out from our mouths rotten fruit!
So as followers of Christ, how do we cultivate this fruit of kindness in our lives? You know, this fruit that is described as having “the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience.” We are in a world that seems to thrive on celebrating and lifting up a standard of saying whatever we please because that’s“who we are” or we are “keeping it real.” To use another catchphrase rampant in society,“the struggle is real”! At times it can be a struggle to live in the attitudes and ways shown to us in God’s word in a say-whatever you please society.
Are there times to stand and declare with authority our rights, to speak up for our safety and our concerns? Why of course! What I love is that even in those times we can pray and ask for the abrasive qualities that do not please Him or would harm others to be removed from us. As a disclaimer let me say that pruning can be painful.
Jesus is our ultimate example of living in the world but not by the standards of the world. The enemy could not defeat him in the desert and had to wait for a more opportune time to tempt Christ again (Luke 4:13). Does this cease of tempting Jesus mean that the devil didn’t find ways to frustrate the plans of Christ? Of course not. During three years of ministry,Christ was always gentle yet authoritative, kind yet direct, loving yet convicting.We too can live in this world yet speak, act, and think using kindness as our guide.
Girlfriend, we have the ability to live our life with kindness on the forefront of all we think, do and say…even when the struggle is oh so very real.
Thank you Holy Spirit for providing such clear guidelines as to how we are to live this life where living opposite to God’s word is praised. We repent of not always allowing you to prune our actions, thoughts, and words. Thank you for forgiving us and strengthening our spirits, minds, emotions and wills so we can better navigate the sometimes-bumpy road of social relationships. Let the fruits of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control be evident in our speech, thoughts and actions. In Jesus name, so be it.
Written By: Carlie Venkler
Friends call me Carlie, my husband calls me Sweetie and our children call me Mom. I enjoy sharing God's precious words with others through blogs and journaling. If you enjoyed this devotion feel free to read more at carlievenkler.wordpress.com