Hey friends! Now that everyone is getting into the holiday spirit, it’s such an easy time of year for us to think more selflessly and reflect on who and what means most to us. For some, however, this time of year can be stressful and create an atmosphere of chaos and “forced charitableness,” if you will. I’d like to look back on a devo I wrote this past year for the Spiritual Fruit of the Month Club on the Spiritual fruit Kindness. Enjoy a little taste of the amazing Bible study we had this year, and take a look at what the Bible says should be our constant focus,
no matter the season!
To Love Kindness
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? –Micah 6:8
I’m an extremely detail oriented person. I notice the little things as clearly as some might only notice the larger things; little things are obvious to me when they might not be to others. However, sometimes, it’s overwhelming to see all those little things. I call this having my “brain filter” clogged. There’s just too much going in and it’s difficult to process. Over the years, I’ve become more skilled at “unclogging” my brain filter. I stop what I’m doing, consider everything, and refocus on the important things at hand. And while those little details are being stored away in my mind for when I need them, I’m better able to handle situations and not be so weighed down by all that information by taking a step back and seeing what’s really needed and important.
Do you ever feel your “brain filter” is clogged?
What are some positive ways you are able to free it up?
When I read the Bible, my brain does a summersault for joy when I read verses like Micah 6:8. It’s a “filter cleaner” verse, if you will. There are several verses like it, and when I read them I praise God for the opportunity He’s given us (really more like a spiritual slap to the face) to stop and refocus on the goal. When I am too caught up in the details, instead of staying focused on what’s really important, I always have the Word of God to remind me of the bottom line – the heart of the matter, so to speak.
Matthew 7:12 says, So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. That last phrase gets me every time – “this is the Law and the Prophets.” Basically, the entirety of the Old Testament – spanning centuries and kingdoms and generations since creation – wrapped up into one verse. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Again with the refocus at the end of the verse, “this is the whole duty of man.” When I read these phrases, I know it’s important stuff. When we’re given a summary statement like this, we need to realize that we’ve just been handed a gift straight from God. He really can’t make it plainer.
What verses “wake you up?” How do you refocus and stay aligned with the bigger picture?
However, when I read Micah 6:8, something about that word “require” really pricks my ears. In this particular verse, we see we’ve been called to do three very specific things: 1) do justice, 2) love kindness (or mercy), and 3) walk humbly with God. Have you ever heard of a better calling?! Be fair, do good, and stay humble. I think it’s only natural to love kindness. I mean, who doesn’t love it when you hear the legendary “My pleasure” at Chick-fil-A, or when someone lets you go in front of them in a long grocery line, or when your kids suddenly like each other for a minute and are sharing and playing together as if they do that all the time. Kindness, or mercy, as a fruit of the spirit is such a simple yet profound way to show Christ to others. Its unifying properties allow people from all walks of life with any beliefs or abilities to see that you care about and notice them as a fellow human being. Showing kindness is like giving them a spirit high-five – just saying, “Hello fellow person. I value your soul and want you to know you matter to me.”
I love when kindness is anonymous. To me, that’s the purest form of kindness because you know that person wasn’t seeking recognition or thanks, just the knowledge that their actions were beneficial to someone else. On the third Wednesday of every month, our congregation provides a weekly meal for the ICU at our local hospital. I usually sign up for some kind of cake or cookie, bake and individually wrap them, and leave them at our building to be picked up. My son once asked me whom I was baking for and I told him I didn’t know. He gave me a puzzled look and I explained that while I don’t know exactly who will get to eat what I make, I could pray that God will watch over them and help their loved one while they are in the hospital. I told him that I also knew what a relief it was not to worry about food or snacks while you’re waiting in a hospital for a while. He thought that was a great idea and said I was “very kind” for helping provide for people I don’t know. Any kindness I can show to people is an encouragement and lets them know I care.
Are you active in showing kindness?
Whether anonymous or not, how can you show others you care?
By sharing your talents? Going out of your way a little?
I think the emphasis of love shows the utmost importance of our focus and earnestness to show kindness. We need to love kindness – to make a special place in our heart and keep it at the forefront of our mind. When you love something, you think about it all the time, share it with your friends, and yearn for it to be even more of a part of your life. If we truly love kindness, we will make every effort to show it and share it with everyone.
So remember, if your brain filter is getting clogged from all the worries, duties, choices, and decisions in your life, refocus on your calling and always love kindness.
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