Earlier this month, a co-worker challenged me to complete 25 acts of kindness during the days leading up to Christmas.
I accepted, figuring my list would fill up in no time.
Days went by, and even though I stayed alert to actions I could add to the kindness chart, I had nothing!
Did allowing someone to merge in traffic count?
What about smiling at someone in the grocery store?
How about offering a kind word to a friend? Maybe listening?
Days passed in this Holiday Kind Acts experiment, and my wimpy list suggested that I was not living up to the challenge. This should have come naturally to a Spirit-filled believer.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
I felt guilty.
The image of a Pharisee came to mind – someone who talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk.
In my mind, I was a giving, kind, and gracious … but my unimpressive list suggested that my light wasn’t shining as brightly as I’d thought.
In Luke 3, John the Baptist is preparing the people for the arrival of the Messiah and directs their attention to actions.
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Ouch. That’s harsh.
God is looking for the fruits of the Spirit. The fruits of:
With the clock running down to Christmas, how could I turn things around?
Read God’s word and listen to His leading.
Be still and know that He is God.
Pray and ask for wisdom.
Ah yes. That’s it. I turned from social media’s portrayal of the perfect Christmas, and looked at the Bible. My priorities shifted.
I was reassured that Jesus doesn’t want homemade Christmas cookies, carefully wrapped presents or Christmas cards.
While I was striving to measure up to those Pinterest and Facebook images… there was no space for joy or peace or patience or kindness.
Consider what would happen if instead of diving into frenzy, panic, and chaos, we shifted our priorities to the fruits of the spirit?
How would your family react if you demonstrated goodness and patience?
Would your marriage benefit from an extra dose of gentleness and self-control?
I dare you to try it… just for today.
Choose love, joy peace.
Choose patience, kindness, goodness.
Choose faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
These are gifts they will return… no receipt necessary!