Joy, our first daughter, was born after the adventure and activity of three lively boys. The people at our church were thrilled with the delight of buying pink dresses, lacy socks and "Nellie Olson" hair bows for the newest member of our family.
We had so many dresses given to us that she did not wear the same dress to church for nearly 16 months. It was ridiculous and I loved every single minute of it!
When Joy was old enough to understand how the people at church were absolutely doting over her, I knew that I must train her in some basic relationship skills before a spoiled, self-centered, obnoxious piece of femininity was created in the heart of my little girl. When she reached 2 years old, every Sunday on the way home from church, our conversation was one of redirecting her impressionable heart.
"Joy-Belle," I would say from the front seat of our van, "Is it more important to be pretty or to be kind?"
She would take her pacifier out of her rosebud mouth, look at my reflection in the rearview mirror, and say, "To be kind, Mama, to be kind."
Kindness is an incomparable attribute that will enable you to leave a defining mark on the world in which you live. Kindness is more valuable than gold, more significant than worldwide fame, and more vital than a respected education. There is a woman in the Bible who was known for leaving this type of legacy. Her story is told in Proverbs 31.
"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the teaching of kindness" (Prov. 31:26).
The word teaching in this challenging verse is sometimes translated as law, but the most accurate description of this Hebrew word is found in a cluster of words defined as custom, habit or manner. Kindness was the ruling authority of this singular and wise woman's mouth. Her legacy reverberates through every decade of Christendom. This woman, whom the Bible holds up as the one woman of distinctive emulation, was always careful to speak, encourage, correct, instruct and advise with the words and with the attitude of simple kindness.
Is kindness the ruling authority of your tongue? Kindness should be in charge of every word, every voice inflection, every attitude and every tone that comes out of your mouth. As believers who desire to leave a long-lasting legacy and to live a life of genuine abundance, we must choose kindness over anger, opinion and pride.
It is not enough just to be kind to those who are kind to you, but the kindness of your life should thrive in all types of emotional and relational climates. Developing the habit of kind thoughts that are followed by kind words and kind deeds is one of the most significant choices you can make if you desire to leave a legacy that lives beyond the prominent dash on your tombstone.
All fruit begins with a simple seed; there will be no fruit if there is no seed. Kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and for this fruit to flourish in your life, you must sweetly and humbly plant the seed of kindness in your life with the healthy and productive presence of the Holy Spirit.
You choose to either plant seeds of self or seeds of the Holy Spirit. In order to plant the luscious, vibrant and delicious crop of the Holy Spirit, you must hang out with the Holy Spirit. If you refuse to spend time in the presence of the Holy Spirit, listening to His voice and learning from Him, you will allow the world's ideas, convictions and opinions to become part of the fiber and produce of your life.
When you die to self, and plant the powerful seed of the Holy Spirit in your life and in your heart, then it is a guarantee that the fruit of your life will be delicious! The juice of heaven's abundance will be running down your chin and you will have more than enough to share with the world around you.
"The desire of a man is his kindness ..." (Prov. 19:22).
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books: No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released on Aug. 1. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.
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