Galatians 5:22-23: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Remember that the New Testament was mainly written in Greek. We 'll thus take a look at the Greek words as well as the Hebrew words for the applicable fruit of the week.
Kindness Greek Word: χρηστότης (Transliterated: chrēstótēs; Pronounced: khray-stot'-ace) Kindness Hebrew Word: חסד (Transliterated: chesed)
Goodness Greek Word: ἀγαθωσύνη (Transliterated: agathosin; Pronounced: ag-ath-o-soo '-nay)
Goodness Hebrew Word: חסד / לב טוב (Transliterated: tov lev / chesed)
The Greek Word χρηστότης (chrēstótēs) means kindness, usefulness, morally excellence (in character or demeanour); gentleness, goodness; moral goodness, integrity, benignity (tolerance towards others), friendliness, generosity, considerate.
The Greek Word ἀγαθωσύνη (agathōsýnē) means goodness, virtue, beneficence (act of charity, mercy & kindness); uprightness of heart an life, kindness.
The Hebrew word chesed (חסד) is poorly translated to kindness. But it means so much more than the English definition of “kindness ” we know. It’s often translated from Hebrew to English as “loving-kindness.” It means giving oneself fully, with love and compassion.
The Hebrew word tov lev (לב טוב) is roughly translated to goodness / good heart. Chesed and tov lev are often used interchangeable as the one cannot exist without the other.
The first time the word "chesed" is used in the Bible was in Gen 24:12. It’s the part where Abraham was getting old and asked his head servant to go and find a wife for his son, Isaac. When the servant arrived in Mesopotamia, he prayed and asked God to bless his journey and to show him kindness.
This is our fifth week discussing the fruit of the Spirit and by now you might think that you have read the verses (Gal 5:22-23) too many times. But the good news is that we can never get too much of the Word of God! Faith comes by hearing. You can read the same Scripture over and over and still get something out! With God there is ALWAYS more!
The problem is that we become unteachable and start to get the attitude of “yeah I’ve heard that..” But as long as we choose to remain teachable, there will always be something new to learn and something new that Abba will reveal to us.
When it comes to God's ways, it doesn't matter what we think. It only matters what He says! And His Word is very clear that we have to crucify our flesh and keep it under control. This is something that we have to do consistently & constantly. We need to pull out the weeds of the flesh. The more we walk in the Spirit, the more we will become aware of the weeds. If we don ’t walk in the Spirit – we’ll just think that the way we act is normal because it blends into the rest of the world’s ways. We have to stay on top of it, otherwise the weeds will take over!
The life of the flesh about excessiveness – over the top, over compromising! The life of the Spirit is about simplicity, but abundance! Abba said that we are free to do what we want. He did however NOT say that we will always be blessed when we do that. Religious people are quick to quote Deut 28:6 that says “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.” But they fail to read it in context. And the context includes Deut 28:2 which says “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God.” In other words it’s freely available to us, but it’s not free – we have to walk in obedience and follow Abba’s instructions. He does however gives us time to repent and turn back to Him – because He is a good good Father!
Safe to say, we can all agree that life is hard enough as it is. But we make it so much harder by walking in the flesh. We need to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit to please God – to serve Him the way He wants to be served. The previous half of the fruit of the Spirit were all internal related (love, joy, peace and patience). Things we must cultivate and how we should act despite tough circumstances. But now things take a turn more outwardly when it comes to kindness & goodness. The characteristics of kindness and goodness are so closely related that they often get seen as the same thing. They go hand in hand, together it creates the picture that we should not only be morally good and act with integrity, but that we should also express it in the way we act towards others.
Remember that the fruit of the Spirit is about changing our character. Since we have met Yeshua, we should put on our new nature (Ephesians 4). If we want to walk in the fruit of Kindness and Goodness, we have to find our identity in Yeshua. When people are not kind to us, we don’t want what they have. I think you will agree with me on that? Our lives should be bait, to pull others closer to Yeshua. We have the biggest blessing and that’s Yeshua Himself. Everyone we come across needs Yeshua – and we have to be His hands and feet on earth. But we are too preoccupied with our own lives to serve others and to give them the opportunity to taste and see that God is good. Ps 34:8 says “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.”
We won ’t be able to display kindness & goodness unless we, ourselves, understand that God is good. And we can only understand that once we have tasted and seen for ourselves. The only way to taste and see is to do what He asks. To follow His instructions so that we can experience His goodness – living in His blessing.
The Word of God should always reserve first place in your life – over your opinion as well as the opinion of others, over any other priority. God is asking us – “just try… just taste and see if I Am good.” The problem comes in, that we want to taste the world. Our flesh wants to taste a bit here and there. And then we opt out and say that "it’s too hard"... When we give ourselves options, we’re out. There’s no middle ground. You are either in OR out. We can’t stand with one foot in the world and the other foot in the Kingdom of God. And we all have to make the decision for ourselves on where we will stand. We’re only deceiving ourselves when we think that we can do both!
Operating in the fruit of Kindness & Goodness might (will) not always be easy to do, but it WILL be beneficial. In many cases, the benefit in the flesh will not be for yourself, but for others. However, it will be spiritually beneficial for you. Let’s take a practical example – I don’t know about you, but liver not only tastes bad but it even smells horrible. But studies have shown that there are several health benefits from eating liver. In the same way – not everything that’s spiritually good for you will “taste” good in the flesh! Acting in obedience on God’s Word is beneficial for you. Even when it is hard at first and even when you cannot see the immediate benefits.
The more we learn about God’s kindness and goodness, the more we will learn about His desire to bless us when we are in line with His Word and His instructions. The better we get to know Him, the more we will understand that God wants us to live in His provision and abundance. We need to get to the mindset that if it’s in our power to do good, that we should do good. If we can mean something to someone, we should – regardless (and especially) if there is no fleshly benefit to us by doing so.
We all know that Yeshua set the example for us to follow. When He was on earth, He continuously helped people and did good works. Walking in the fruit of Goodness thus means that we will be givers. Givers of our time, our money and our resources. Our deeds should reflect that God is good and generous. We are so quick to say that certain people don’t deserve our kindness and goodness. But have you ever stopped in that moment and thought – what if Yeshua said you don’t deserve His goodness? Because we don’t! But thank goodness (pun intended) that He’s still good and that Yeshua died for us on the cross!
We all make mistakes; we all do things that are less desirable in His eyes. We all must go through the fire. And most of the time when we are in the fire, we all just pray for it to be over. But we easily forget, that it is in the fire where our character is built and refined! Walking in the fruit of Goodness is about doing good unto others – regardless if we get anything in return. God wants us to be selfless (debunking self-love again) and be generous, using our resources to help others. But the works of the flesh are selfish and greedy. We are so focused on our own journeys, building our own lives and businesses. But all of that will stay here. When we’re too busy to be kind and then no one wants what we have. We justify our busy-ness. And we miss the point that that’s not the reason why we are on earth. It has no eternity value. What is truly important is what you do for the Kingdom of God.
Our natural/fleshly nature is NOT to be kind and good. It' s a deliberate choice. In God’s eyes, there’s nothing more valuable than people. 1 Tim 2:3-4 says “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
God’s kindness is what leads people to repentance. Not His wrath and judgement. Once we are born again – yes! Then we must definitely not forget His wrath and judgment. Because if we ignore that, we take His grace for granted and we will not pursue holy making. Many times we only display wrath & judgement to non-believers and we wonder why people don’t want to have what we have! If we don’t value people, then we don’t value the things which God does!
When it comes to the fruit of the Spirit, the question is not what you can get out of it. Yeshua came to give His live to a bunch of people who didn’t deserve it, He didn’t get anything out of it! God won’t be impressed by the size of your house nor the badge of your car or the amount of digits of your savings account. He’s going to say, regardless of what and how much you had whilst on earth – what did you do for My Kingdom? What do you have that will hold up and sustain the fire? The works of the flesh will be burnt to ashes, but the works of the Spirit will last forever! What will you have left after the fire swept through?
Maybe it’s time to reassess what we value in life. God doesn’t have a problem with it if we have nice houses / cars / clothes. That’s not the issue. The issue is whether you put the Kingdom first or not. Flesh vs Spirit. The better we get to know God, the more we will learn about His character - which includes His kindness and goodness - and the easier it will be for us to walk in the fruit thereof.
Our character is not what we do occasionally, it’s what we consistently do. We can’t say that we are believers, but we don’t live like believers! God doesn’t negotiate His instructions. He gave His instructions and we have the choice to either obey it or not. When we walk in the fruit of Kindness & Goodness, we won’t be greedy, we won’t be covetous, we won’t want what others have, we won’t care what others have. We would simply be focused on God and doing what He expects of us!
In James 1:17 we read “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Once you have tasted and seen just a glimpse of God’s kindness & goodness – you would want everyone else to taste it as well. Because He is just so so good! Everywhere we go, we reflect Yeshua. What are you displaying? When you are born again, you don’t get to hold onto your old identity. We no longer have the option to hide behind excuses like “it’s just not my personality ” – we are called to obey His instructions.
The worst thing you could do is say that you are a believer and then walking contrary to His Word.
Every single day, we have the opportunity to give away what God gave us – in the flesh but also in the spirit. The choice is ours. Many times we think that no one would be interested to hear what we have to say, so we stay quiet. And many times that’s because of an emotional wound. But the fact of the matter is that we can (and should) all learn from one another! I’m not going to build the Kingdom of God on my own and neither will you. But together we can. We have to be teachable to learn from others and kind enough to share so that others could also learn from us.
"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering." ~ Col 3:12 ~