Be Kind. Everywhere I turned this week, I kept seeing that statement. Be Kind. No ifs, ands or buts... simply, whatever you do, be kind.
I don't think of myself as an unkind person. With the wear-and-tear of life, I do feel I have become more blunt. On busy days I often forget the need for niceties and even act a bit abrupt. But kindless... nope, never considered myself in that light.
Yet, there I sat, multiple times this week, bluntness and abruptness painting on a veneer of unkindness. I felt so bad.
To my family, I gave way to fear and left them hanging when unexpected compliments were paid.
To my Call, I forgot the Greatest example of a servant heart... without complaining, without remorse, counting others more significant than self.
To my Jesus, I neglected His life coursing through me, giving me all I needed to leave blunt and abrupt behind and instead reach for grace, peace and KINDNESS.
I didn't do the best job of working out my faith.
As I walked through the Philippians study day-by-day this week, the tests for each lesson were almost instantaneous and they were not without context.
You see, in the ancient Roman world, when Paul was writing his letters, society was a very ME-centric place. Promoting self, serving self, monopolizing on ME time, were corner-stones of the secular culture. When Paul is calling the believers to live "worthy of the gospel" he also knows how POWERFUL this counter-culture lifestyle will be.
He starts by calling them to unity, as the body of Christ (2:1-5). He then gives them an example, by the life of Christ (2:6-11). It is certainly a surreal point to hear the Call and think, "I'm trying!" only to see the Example and realize, "I can try harder."
The fact is, as much as we don't want to talk about this in today's society (or even in Paul's society), what we do, good or bad, directly impacts someone else's path through this life and into the next.
God desires a closeness with his followers and, just as much as this personal relationship with us, he also desires that others should join in as well. Our walk with Him becomes that steadily burning candlelight in the darkness of a lost world, drawing those with eyes to see closer to light and truth.
An attribute I believe to be best exemplified by humility. Kindness isn't always easy. Daily we are faced with situations and people who test our ability to be kind, to show love and to act humbly. When Paul states, "Do ALL things without grumbling or disputing..." in 2:12, it seems reasonable to state; do every.single.little.and.big.thing with kindness and humility. He suggests, by following this command, we will be "blameless and innocent, children of God...." Children because we bare His image in those humble acts: Christ did not grumble nor did he dispute all that was done to him. He fed thousands with love and grace. He healed many with peace and kindness. He even countered the nay-sayers with truth and self-control.
At the end of the day, kindness and humility not only unify us in the body of Christ and grow us as image-bearers, but, as we hold to the word of life (2:16) we shine as lights in the world.... in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. Not separate from them, but right smack-dab in the middle.
This world is full of a lot of crazy right now. Don't loose heart. Find moments of gratitude, even if in the simplest things, and allow that gratitude to feed kindness and produce humility... to serve those around you with love and grace.... and to shine in this world in spite of whatever it tries to throw your way.
Do you struggle with doing "ALL things without grumbling or disputing"? Take heart, let gratitude be your guide❤
**This is part 2 in a month long series on "Choosing Gratitude" from a guided Bible Study I have written of the same name. Click below to get your FREE pdf and join me! I had planned on Mid-Week Messages for this series but have opted for end-of-week sum-ups for reflecting. I am also sharing scripture daily on Instagram from this study and hope you will join me there as well!**
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