He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. Isaiah 5:2
When someone plants a garden they expect to get something good out of it. They work the ground to ensure it has the right nutrients. Seeds are planted during the best part of the season to ensure good growth. They strive to provide the right amount of water for the plants to grow.
Later when the harvest season comes, the farmer expects to get the fruit or vegetables in great amounts that were planted. However, there are times when the plants yield nothing or only bad fruit.
Isaiah paints of picture of God planting a vineyard with the best of vines. When it came time for harvest, all that was produced was bad grapes of no value.
The vineyard that Isaiah talks about is very specifically the nation of Israel. Yet, this can be looked at with all believers. God is still in the process of building a vineyard of believers upon this earth. He is growing a large body of believers to follow Him.
Just as the farmer expects to get some good fruit and God expected Israel to produce fruit, He expects the believer to produce fruit.
All too often believers are like Israel was, producing no fruit. They claim to believe in Jesus, read the bible, go to church, but never produce any fruit. Their lives never really change. They live purposefully in sin refusing to change. They are never a witness of who Jesus is. They do not show God’s love in their lives.
Looking at some of the people, one will only see the world, not Jesus.
You, as a believer, are expected by God to produce some fruit. He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you and give you strength to do what needs to be done. However, it is up to you to do it.
Be willing to be His witness. Show His love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace to others. Build others up in Jesus.
Your life should be one that looks like the life of Jesus. Work to live like Jesus as though your salvation depended upon it, but trust what Jesus did for your salvation. Produce the fruit in believing and following Jesus.
I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus provides; that God will see His fruit in your life; that the world will see Jesus in you; that you will allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide you; and that many will know Jesus because of your life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Kindness is the act of meeting the needs of someone else. It is not being harsh with other people.
The world is always looking for people to be kind. Everyone wants others to be kind to them, to not hurt them or do anything wrong to them. However, many people are not really that kind to others. Harsh words are said. Lying to others occurs. Cheating on others occurs. Violence and abuse is rampant. Hatred abounds.
The believer, the follower of Jesus is to be different.
Throughout the bible many people requested of others to be shown kindness. They did not want to be harmed in any way. There were some that did show kindness.
Naomi exclaimed that Boaz had shown great kindness when he provided food for Ruth.
In 2 Chronicles 2, David gave honor to the men from Jabesh Gilead for their kindness in burying Saul after he was killed. This honor was given when the kindness was shown to his enemy, who was out to kill him.
David later wants to show kindness to anyone who was left from the house of Saul, his enemy. He understood God’s kindness to him and wanted to pass that on to others. The interesting thing with David is that he is showing kindness to the family of his mortal enemy. As king, he had the right to destroy all of Saul’s family line, but he chose instead to show God’s kindness.
“In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:8
Isaiah quotes God in talking about His kindness. God was angry with Israel for rebelling against Him and following false gods, but He chose instead to be kind to them with compassion, giving them what they really needed.
Years later Jesus gives a parable about the good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37. This man showed kindness to the enemy. He had the man given right to ignore the man on the side of the road, but chose to help him instead. He not only helped him in the short term of getting him to the hospital, but took care of all of his expenses.
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4
Paul points out the value of God’s kindness. It is because of His great kindness that one is led to Him to repent. God is not a God who just judges harshly and condemns everyone. God wants to save people. He wants a relationship with people. If He were not kind, then we would never have a chance to be saved. We would be afraid to repent, because we would fear harsh judgment.
Let a righteous man strike me–that is kindness; let him rebuke me–that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. Psalm 141:5
Most people take offense at a rebuke, but David had a different thought on what a rebuke may look like. A rebuke is a harsh condemning of an action or word and is thus usually hated. He saw a rebuke from a righteous (believer) person as good. He saw a rebuke as an act of kindness. This rebuke would cause him to refocus back onto God and check himself in his actions and words. Not giving a rebuke would be to allow a person to continue to live in sin or in a wrong way. Kindness will point Him towards God and His word.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
The final verse I want to look at is written by Paul in Colossians. He tells the Colossian church to clothe themselves with kindness. This should be a mark of the believer.
There are many more examples of the kindness of Jesus shown in the gospels. He was kind to the blind, the lame, the lepers, the drunkards, the adulterers, and sinners. The only people Jesus was not very kind to were those who claimed to know God, but went against God in what they did and taught.
Every day you will have plenty of opportunities to show kindness to others. It could be in the checkout lane at the store, at a gas station, driving down the road, passing by a person on the sidewalk or many other places and situations.
You will have many people who are enemies to you. They will harm you either physically or emotionally with words. When this occurs you will have a choice to either retaliate in anger and vengeance or to return their harm with the kindness and love of God.
Being a believer you will have God’s Holy Spirit in you. With His Holy Spirit in you, you should be displaying His kindness towards everyone. This is another fruit of the Spirit.
If you examine your life and find you are lacking in the area of kindness, seek God for help. Examine how God has shown you kindness and then become more like Jesus in showing kindness towards others. Let your life be marked by one as having kindness towards everyone.
The fruit of the Spirit continues to grow from each one to the next. As you have God’s love showing in your life, you will have His joy, which will bring about His peace, which will bring about His forbearance/patience, which will bring about His kindness in your life. These are the first four fruits that should be evident in your life when you are following Jesus and are filled with His Holy Spirit.
Thank you for continuing on this journey of looking at the fruit of the Spirit. Next week I will continue on with looking at goodness.
Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Ecclesiastes 2:3
Most people have someone that they love to be around. They enjoy the presence of the person and what that person can bring into their life.
Each person is able to bring different things into the life of someone else. Some bring peace, others strength, or a listening ear, or care, or joy, or some other feeling or need that a person has.
Although many people do bring good things into the lives of those they are closest to, there are often many times when they do not bring those good things and will sometimes bring in negative. Each person has his own set of challenges and these are often brought into a relationship.
In this passage today, the lady loves to be with her loved one. She loves the fruit that he brings to her.
This is like the relationship of the believer (the church) with Jesus. The true believer in Jesus will enjoy being in His presence. The shade in the verse indicates that he is nearby.
When one is living for God, he will enjoy God’s presence. When he is living in a sinful way, he will despise God’s presence or run from it.
One of the things that God brings into the relationship is the fruit of His Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control are the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of His presence in the life of a believer.
A good sign for the believer that he is truly living for God is if he loves God’s presence and His fruit. Many do not taste the fruit because they want to live as the world lives and then they despise His close presence.
What do you love? Do you look forward to spending time in God’s presence, or are you in a rush to move on to “bigger and better things” that are only temporary and do not really satisfy?
Allow yourself to slow down and sit in His presence and enjoy what God can bring to you. Taste of His Holy Spirit and the fruit he has for you. These things are eternal and will benefit you more than the food and relationships of this world.
I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus has for you; that you will love to spend time with God; that you will know the great taste of God’s fruit in your life; that you will find satisfaction in God alone; and that you will love God with all of your heart.