Longsuffering, Kindness, And Goodness As Fruit Of The Spirit

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." (Galatians 5:16-25)


       There are two levels - and only two levels - on which Christians may live, the spiritual or the carnal. Sadly, many live after the flesh (Matthew 7:13-14). Bearing fruit is evidence of being a Christian (John 15:2, 8; Matthew 7:16-21). Thus, we have the description above of both the worldly (verses 19-21) and the godly (verses 22-23). This is a trustworthy and objective way of measuring ourselves and others against the mirror of God's Word (James 1:21-25).


Consider Longsuffering As Fruit Of The Spirit

       Both the Old and the New Testament teach that God is longsuffering. Longsuffering expresses God’s forbearance as He endures the sinner's persistent stubbornness and wickedness, and tirelessly calls him to repent (Exodus 34:6). This DOES NOT mean God approves of sin (Exodus 34:7). It DOES mean that God puts off punishment with a view or our repenting (2 Peter 3:9).

       One duty of Christians is to become like God in longsuffering. God is longsuffering, and to live godly and please Him, we also must be longsuffering (Colossians 3:12). Without the fruit of longsuffering we will never be able to be worthy or preserve unity in the church (Ephesians 4:1-3). The word translated “longsuffering” or “patience” is a combination Greek word (makrothumia) meaning “long-tempered”. We know what we mean if a person is “short-tempered”. Longsuffering is just the opposite! Longsuffering expresses a certain attitude toward people and events. It never loses patience. It never admits defeat. It never loses its hope. It never loses its faith regardless of how dark the situation.

       Let’s consider some applications of longsuffering. We need to be longsuffering with those we are seeking to learn the gospel. We must keep trying. Preachers are especially taught to be longsuffering (2 Timothy 4:2). The quality of patience is required of all Christians. We live in an age of speed so we find it hard to be patient. Longsuffering means “hanging in there.” Longsuffering will result in bearing with those who are weak; it will cause us to be forgiving; it will keep bitterness out of our hearts, and keep us humble.


Kindness And Goodness Are Fruit Of The Spirit.

       The word translated “kindness” is translated “gentleness” in the King James Version. The Greek word - chrestotes - is defined as “moral goodness, integrity” (Thayer), and “the sympathetic kindness of sweetness of temper which puts others at ease, and shrinks from giving pain” (Plummer). It is a general attitude of kindness to all including those who are inferiors in some capacity and those who are dependents.

       We can better understand this fruit by noting it is the great characteristic of God (Luke 6:35). Certainly we must be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32). There must be in each of us an impulse and desire to be forgiving. Kindness makes for peace. Contrariwise, harshness and bitterness are banished by kindness. We must live with each other in mellow graciousness. Kindness means treating others the way God treats us.

       “Goodness” (Greek - hagathosune) is a quality of the moral life. The morally good desires the good and does the good. This involves both our disposition and our actions. No one can be saved without goodness for goodness comes from being led by the Spirit. The reward is given to the good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21). We will be gracious and courteous to strangers. We will be compassionate, forgiving, and thankful.

       Take a look with us at three areas where we need to apply the characteristics of kindness and goodness. The spiritual fruit of kindness and goodness ought to be present in home life. Husbands and wives are to love one another, and this will result in mutual acts of kindness. What about kindness to our children? Likewise, young people need to show kindness to each other and to their parents. Moral uprightness should be displayed in the home!

       What about kindness and goodness toward our fellow man in general? Too many today are so concerned with self and too busy to take time to show true concern for others. The spiritual fruit of kindness and goodness ought to be shown to all for all are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Jesus was not too good to associate with the poor and uneducated, those looked down on by the self-righteous. He freely mixed with sinners to tell them of His love and concern for their souls. Have we become “too good” to go out and genuinely express kindness and concern over a filthy sinner who is headed for Hell?

       Finally, the spiritual fruit of kindness and goodness ought to be expressed to our brethren in Christ. Can what Paul said of the Roman Christians be said of us? (Romans 15:14). It should be! (Colossians 3:12). A brother or sister who gossips about brethren, runs them down, speaks ill of them, and is constantly engaged in bickering, faultfinding, and tale-bearing is destitute of kindness. How can many of us fail to see the seriousness of developing these characteristics in our lives?


Bearing The Fruit Of Longsuffering, Kindness, And Goodness

       Let us all look into our lives for the fruit of the Spirit. If these thing are absent, we are not led by the Spirit regardless of our claims to the contrary. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23)