How is your…
September 14th, 2019
The prevailing culture of the day appears to want women to be more dominant, men to be more sensitive, and all to focus on themselves as the central objective for their edification.
Selfies are the norm for social media, you are in the mix unless you’re showing your face and just how much fun you are having all the time. If we dare take a digital vacation our friends list quickly dissipates with the lack of personal promotion.
Examples of the kindness of strangers is almost unheard of in recent times. The closest reflection of this concept has been paying it forward at Starbucks, perhaps we can explain the popularity of this by the exhilaration we get when we can observe the person getting the benefit of our gratuity quickly attempting to identify who it was the bought their coffee and waving appreciatively.
Not all this is bad on its face, in fact, it’s mostly good and positive. What is troubling is the motivation for it.
It has become critical for us to promote ourselves, in virtually everything we do. To the point, that some people spend the bulk of their time trying to get noticed and keep the camera on themselves almost constantly. They have no evil motivations, only selfish ones; one that are committed to self-promotion, and the gratification when someone expresses that what we are doing is a cut above the crowd.
The need and desire to standout in a positive way in itself isn’t bad, the reason we desire it tends to be more of the problem.
For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Matthew 6:32-33 (CSB)
As followers of Jesus, our motivation should be centered on service to the Kingdom, giving back to Jesus all that we can, whenever we can.
Part of this is to focus on loving others over ourselves. Our desire to elevate should be outwardly directed not locked in and focused inwardly. Selfies aren’t the problem; the condition of our hearts are. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”, then those things that which we really need will be provided for us.
Yes, we all enjoy recognition at times, but that recognition should be a result of our service to Jesus which spills over into our service for those around us.
For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?
Mark 8:36 (CSB)
It speaks to the priorities we have, how we conduct our lives. Our character is revealed in the earnestness of our hearts. Jesus told us that if we do for the least of these, we have done for Him. There isn’t much doing unto going on in an image plastered on social media.
Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you — if you remain in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
Romans 11:22 (CSB)
If we are reflecting Jesus, kindness will be one of the key attributes associated with us.
Despite the allure of personal promotion in the world today, at the same time a great number of people are leery to share their inner most thoughts with others. If we are going to be effective in our charge to spread the Gospel of Jesus, we must break through that barrier. Love and kindness are tremendous tools to open up the channels of communication between us and the lost.
We don’t think of kindness as being an implement for the Gospel, but it is. We are to be known for our love, and kindness is the way that love is conveyed outside of ourselves. If we truly desire to reflect Jesus, we will lead with kindness toward all.
Instead, as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything: by great endurance, by afflictions, by hardships, by difficulties, by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times of hunger, by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God; through weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, through glory and dishonor, through slander and good report; regarded as deceivers, yet true; as unknown, yet recognized; as dying, yet see — we live; as being disciplined, yet not killed; as grieving, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet enriching many; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (CSB)
All of us, are “God’s ministers”. As we look on in the sixth chapter of II Corinthians, we see that ‘kindness’ is in the center of the mix of the things we should find attributed to our existence if we are performing the work, God intends us to. We see some pleasant things such as knowledge, patience, love, truth and ‘good report’, but at the same time we also see what would be less desirable experiences, such as hardship, difficulties, beatings and imprisonment.
It isn’t going to be a cake walk that is to be sure, but if we are leading with Love and Kindness, backed by the Word of Truth and the Holy Spirit, there is nothing we can’t endure, and no obstacle we can’t overcome.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.
Galatians 5:22-23 (CSB)
The fruit of the Spirit are the things that we should find at the core of our promotion. These, along with obedience, are the things that if we are committed to Jesus must be our notable attributes and motivations.
Anything short it this, means that we have some inward consideration to deal with, and we deal with those things by laying them at the feet of Jesus in total surrender. I don’t want to be self-centered; I desire to emulate Jesus as much as I humanly can. Help me, Lord Jesus, to exhibit your love and kindness to everyone around me.
Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:12-15 (CSB)
The fulness of His joy in us can be found in our complete commitment to radiate all this for Him, to the world that He came to release from the bondages of sin. They will never hear that message if we are focused on ourselves; we must be focused on Him!
But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us —not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy — through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:4-5 (CSB)
Jesus said that there is no greater love that for one to lay down their life for another. In telling us that I believe that He was telling us that in our love for others we need to sacrifice our self-interest.
Terminate our desire to be recognized for who we are, and instead seek to be recognized for who we serve. If we don’t find ourselves casting kindness to the world around us, we haven’t met our ‘Kindness Quotient’. But the even more important thing, is that if the kindness isn’t there, we are diminishing or negating anything else we put forward in the service of our King. It all comes to nothing if we are not displaying the love and kindness of Jesus.
In His Grace!