Have you ever walked through the woods a little bit chilly and felt the unexpected warmth from a different breeze? That is how our kindness touches the world around us. The fruit of kindness, when produced in us by the Holy Spirit, has such a tremendous impact—in a world of harsh, jagged edges, kindness is smooth. Join me as we dig into week two of the MSI Bible study on the Fruit of the Spirit!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Romans 12:14-21
Resources Mentioned In Podcast
Scripture Mentioned in Podcast
- Proverbs 19:22
- Romans 2:4
- Psalm 17
- Psalm 23
- Romans 12:10
- Romans 12:16-21
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey everybody. This is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the Heidi St. John podcast. Today is Wednesday, August 14th, this is episode number 805 and we’re going to be digging into the MomStrong International study this week. The topic is kindness and how it can change a generation.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged
So I want to say happy birthday to my friend Jane Lambert. Jane is the author of Five In A Row and one of my most favorite people on the entire planet. So Jane, my friend. Happy Birthday. Wish I was there to hug you in person, but I will be there pretty soon because Jane and her hubby Steve live in Kansas City. I’m going to be traveling to Lee’s Summit, Missouri— just outside of Kansas City— for my women’s conference Faith that Speaks and that will be happening at Abundant Life Church on August the 24th. I hope you guys are going to come out and see me. I cannot wait to see what God is doing in your life and to spend the day with you. After that. I’ll be in Fredericksburg, Virginia on September 14th and then in my neck of the woods on October 11th and 12th in Vancouver, Washington— early bird tickets for that event end on September 2nd.
Before I get any farther today into it, I want to just tell you that I’m doing something very special in just a few days. On Monday the 19th of August, I’m going to be holding a live webinar called Homeschooling for Rookies. I get so many questions about homeschooling this time of the year, particularly for people who are just starting out—and so I’m going to be coming online and teaching homeschooling for rookies for you. You can find out more about that in the show notes. Feel free to reach out to me if you guys got questions for the podcast firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you. Also, I would love to hear from you via snail mail. You can reach out to me at Heidi St. John c/o Firmly Planted Family 11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682.
This is the MomStrong International Bible study week. A couple of things I want to tell you about the study. We’ve been studying the fruits of the Spirit all summer long here at MomStrong International. I really have a passion to encourage you to get into the Word of God and study it, so that you will be able to know it and be able to defend it. We’re hearing from you, many, many of you who are studying with us and we are so thrilled. Also, it’s a wonderful way for you to support this ministry and to support the St. John Family. The Bible study is just $8 a month and for that $8 you are going to get a fantastic study. Obviously the Scripture Writing Challenge is free, but once you come into the subscription Bible Study, you’re going to get access to cursive Scripture Writing. You’re going to get access to a lot of other benefits that come along with being a part of the ministry here as a financial supporter.
So just $8 a month. Check it out MomStrongInternational.com. I just want to thank you guys for studying God’s word with us. Speaking of the Word, we are now in the second week of our study. Those studies always start on the first Monday of every month. So this one started a little bit late because we didn’t have a Monday in August until we are a little bit into August, but we’re on the fruit of the Spirit— and week two we are really focusing on kindness. So before we jump into it, would you guys take a minute with me? Let’s come before the Lord in prayer.
Lord Jesus, it is hard to be kind in the culture right now. Christians seem to be under attack in every area and it’s easy to become defensive, it’s easy to become angry, it’s easy to become bitter… and Lord, it’s actually hard to be kind sometimes. And so Lord, you tell us that kindness is a fruit of the Spirit. And Father, I pray that as I teach on this a little bit today, that You would just speak through me, that You would encourage my spirit. Lord, that you’d helped me to forget about the pipes and my house. It’s being torn up right now. Lord, that you would just encourage me, encourage our family, Lord, to be kind to each other. For every person that’s listening to this that recognizes that they are struggling to be kind. Lord, would you help us? Help us to know that it’s a fruit of the Spirit and to walk in right relationship with You and to experience the joy and the kindness that comes from the power of Your Spirit. We love you, Jesus. Thank you so much for what you’re doing here. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
So we’ve been talking about integrity, right? And integrity, all of us, not just little parts of us. If we’re going to be men and women of integrity, then that means every aspect of our lives need to be honoring to the Lord. So to be people of integrity is to be 100% in love with Jesus and 100% embracing of His ways. So becoming a person of integrity doesn’t have a halfway point. And there isn’t a distinction between who we are in private and in public when we’re people of integrity, but rather who we are to the world is a match with the core of us— the who we are in Jesus. So it is ourselves, our very beings, embraced by and embracing the work of the Holy Spirit. This is where this topic of kindness comes in, because if you’ve ever walked through the woods in a little bit of a chill and felt an unexpected warmth from a different breeze, this is how our kindness touches the world around us.
The fruit of kindness, when produced in us by the Holy Spirit, has such a tremendous impact—in a world of harsh, jagged edges, kindness is smooth. It seems such a simple way to bless people with the love of Jesus…until we are rushed or worrying over the hospital bill denied by insurance ( I know how that feels) or feeling like that poke in the eye from our spouse was just too much. Kindness refers to a gracious disposition toward others and it weaves through our integrity like the beautiful gold threads in a tapestry that subtly grab light. Integrity shows itself in kindness. When you are the same person at home behind the door as you are in public, then you are well on your way to being a person of integrity.
Want to encourage you here at MomStrong International, part of what we’re doing is teaching you to be people of integrity. Because remember we’re saying all the time— you can’t pass on what you don’t possess. So regardless of where you are in your walk with the Lord, when you begin to know Him more, it’s going to show itself in the way that you behave. It’s going to show itself in a consistency of your behavior. It’s going to show itself in a consistency of your actions—because people will see that they’re motivated by your love for God rather than personal gain. And last month at MomStrong International, we studied gentleness. Remember, when we talked about the difference between gentleness, it’s often translated meekness, and I said—hey, this is not weakness. It gets misunderstood and miss translated it, but it’s not weakness. Gentleness, true meekness, is available strength that is under God’s control. It’s the ability to respond with kindness under provocation, even when you just want to blow your top. And this could be just people on Facebook.
Something I have noticed lately, and I’m going to deviate just a little bit from the study for a minute, because I’m noticing other people, brothers and sisters in Christ, who because they have a political difference with another person—have decided to disassociate themselves from others— “we just cannot do it”. You know what I think that is? and I’m not talking about conservatives versus progressives or Democrats versus Republicans. I’m talking about Christians, okay. Christians who disassociate themselves from other Christians because of a political belief and are willing to say— I can’t hang with you anymore because I don’t agree with your political point of view. That is actually arrogance. It’s not kindness. And when were known for arrogance rather than kindness, we are not going to be able to get along with each other. We just aren’t. And that arrogance comes in and it says— I’m right, you’re wrong. And because I’m right and you disagree with me, I’m not going to talk to you anymore. I’m not going to work with you anymore. I’m not going to go to church with you. I’m going to keep my kids away from their grandparents, because their grandparents believe one way and we believe another.
That is not how God would want us to behave. The Bible says we should be able to reason together, particularly as God’s people. There should be points that we can agree on—and where we don’t agree, we should be able to be kind. So how do we train ourselves and our kids to intrinsically practice kindness? Well, it’s not very easy in the culture right now because we war against our sin nature. The root of kindness is preferring another over yourself. It is servanthood.
So oftentimes when we are being unkind, when we’re not being led by the Spirit, and I have been in this position many times in my life — my human inclination, my flesh says: you know what? Forget it. And just walk away. I’m going to say what I need to say. Drop the bomb on the floor, turn around, walk away. And the other person who I just dropped the bomb on is standing there and I’ve left them in a position of not being able to do anything because I just either ended the relationship or I ended the conversation. I didn’t say— Hey, I really care about you. Can we talk about this? And that is me not being kind. It’s a critical spirit. It has nothing to do with kindness. So when we stop preferring one another, when we stop preferring other people over ourselves, we have fallen into this and it is everywhere in the culture right now.
The sins of a critical spirit or selfishness will choke the Spirit’s growth of kindness in our hearts. Did you know that? I know it. It’s true because I see it all the time on Facebook and I’m telling you what— I have to come before the Lord a lot, especially when I get messages from people that are so hurtful and so hard on me. My first response in my spirit is that I want to defend myself. I want to be unkind right back to that person, but that is not the Spirit of God.
Some will say that God is an angry God and not kind. God is wrathful against sin, yet in His tremendous kindness provided a way of salvation. Both wrath for sin and love for repentant sinners characterize Him and bring glory to Him. Sometimes it is hard to reconcile the God who swallowed up a tribe of people as a consequence for prideful rebellion (Numbers 16) with the God who sent Elijah to the widow at Zarephath during a drought to feed her and later raised her son from the dead.
This is, in fact, the majesty and holiness of Almighty God: sin shall not stand, but rather will be punished, and in His inestimable kindness, He sends Himself to offer a perfect sacrifice so there is an escape from that punishment and a path to relationship with Him. Romans 2:4 says, “…do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” It is kindness. The Bible says that leads us to repentance.
Are we being kind? We’re trying to win people over with our kindness because if we’re not, the Bible says we’re going to have a real hard time doing it. Salvation for every human who believes, in all time until the return of Christ, is no small feat. We easily forget that salvation was not earned or deserved, and He was so kind to make a way for us. He did it for His glory and He did it for love. So when we’re caught up in the maelstrom of everyday, and we forget to actually practice kindness, we are doing a disservice to our witness. This is part of the reason why we’re going to move from this particular topic, the fruit of the Spirit, into Ambassador for the month of September. Just to remind us that we are ambassadors for Jesus. We’re ambassadors for God. Let’s check out this passage for just a minute.
Proverbs 19:22 What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor man than a liar.
You see, God is teaching us over and over again that kindness is kind of a big deal, and in our passage on the fruit of the Spirit, the Greek word used for kindness is chrēstotēs. It means “benignity, tender concern, uprightness.” It is kindness of heart and kindness of act. God does not ask of us things He is not doing Himself, and He displays this kindness He desires to grow in us. Let’s look at Paul’s letter to Titus where we see a beautiful summary of the breadth of the kindness of God in His salvation. Let’s look for a second to Romans 12:10 and Romans 12:16-21 because in here we’re learning what we are called to do no matter what our age. And this is going to help us to learn to exhibit kindness.
In verse 10: Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor.
So when you hear these verses, think about the verbs in those verses. The first one in verse 10 is Love. Love one another. And then the next verse is outdo one another. In other words, we should be out trying to outdo each other in our love and our kindness toward each other. What would happen if we laid down our pride and we just decided— I’m going to be kind, I’m going to listen to you with the goal of understanding.
All right, verse 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Verse 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. Verse 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Verse 19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay,” says the Lord. Verse 20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. And finally, verse 21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
You guys see every time we choose kindness, we conquer evil every single time because God sees every action, ours and others, and He will convict, judge, or correct, or move. We don’t need to help Him. He will do it. So if we want our children to learn that they do not need to own the emotions and fixing all the things that have been done against them, we do it by example. So we want to teach our kids to pray about it and we want to work together to leave our struggles and our frustrations with other people in His capable hands. And this is so much better. This is so much better.
As we look at kindness for the rest of this particular study for this week, we’re going to look in the Psalms 23, Psalm 17, and we’re going to be talking about how God shows kindness to us. God LOVES us. He IS kind, gentle, and protective. Because He loves us and is protective of us— He does something very unique:He disciplines us to keep us safe. This is what we do for our children and the way that we love our children is very similar to how God loves us. So I want to encourage you this week, have an arms wide open policy for loving others and practice being a place of refuge for a weary friend. Practice having kindness before you send that email that you’re going to regret. Take a step back. What would the Lord want you to do? How can you demonstrate kindness towards somebody else, right? God wants to help us to do that. He has designed to be listening to the Lord. We’re don’t have anything to lose. I’m always telling this to my kids: you’ve got nothing to lose by being kind. And one of the things that I’ve noticed in my own life, and I think I’ve said this on the podcast… so at the risk of repeating myself, I’ll say it again— of the things I regret in my life, they are almost always things that I have said that I can’t take back, words that came out of my mouth in the heat of the moment or when I was frustrated and angry. And I can’t take the, back. And it was a demonstration not only of my immaturity, but of my lack of kindness.
I want you guys to think really carefully this week about how God wants us to behave. If we are His ambassadors, which we are, God wants us to be kind to others. God wants us to be kind. And so I hope that this week as we study kindness, and as you talk to your kids about it—we are going to be moved as adults, and moved as parents, and moved as teenagers, to be kind to the people around us. That kindness does not mean that we sacrifice our ability to speak the truth, but as followers of Jesus, we should be able to speak the truth in love. I think that the heart of God is breaking over the broken relationships between Christians that are littering the landscape right now.
And they are because of our pride, they are broken because of our unwillingness to work with each other. And because of that we are having a detrimental effect on the message of the Gospel. The enemy knows that if he can mess up the relationships of God’s people inside the church, he’ll have a whole lot easier time to get into the flock. If this is you, if you’re saying—man, I’m really struggling with kindness. I’m struggling to be kind to my kids. I’m struggling to be kind to my friends. I’m struggling to be kind on Facebook. Then take a step back and say— Lord, what do you want from me? How can I be kind?
Sometimes that kindness is telling the truth. Sometimes kindness is saying—I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but here’s what’s going on. It’s a mercy to you to tell you the truth and then trust that God’s at work in it. But we want to be so careful when we speak to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We want to be so careful, so gentle ,so that when we leave that conversation, the words that we have said that echo in their head will be they are loved first by God and then by us, right? That is who God says we are.
I’ve enjoyed having you guys on the podcast today. I want to just encourage you, if you haven’t signed up for my women’s conferences coming out and do that. We are going to be in Vancouver, Washington really soon. We are going to be in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and in Lee’s summit, Missouri in just about two weeks and I cannot wait to spend a little bit of time with you digging deeper into the word of God. In the meantime, stay faithful everybody, and I’ll see you back here on Friday.
Write to Heidi:
Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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