I don’t bake very often, but when I do I make chickpea & black bean bars. Sounds gross, right? They aren’t. There’s a lot more to them than beans.
I don’t really measure ingredients. I make it an adventure. I toss in the chickpeas, black beans, bananas, peanut butter, maple syrup, flax seed and others things. They always come out tasting wonderful, but never the same.
Whereas measuring isn’t my focus, including all the ingredients is vital. The bananas give them a soft texture. The chickpeas, black beans, and flax gives them substance and nutrition. The maple syrup, well, covers that up. And peanut butter makes everything better.
I’ve learned that if you leave out a key ingredient you won’t like the results.
It’s the same with our spiritual lives. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us those key ingredients we need to have in our lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this.”
If we leave one out I don’t think we will be as happy with the results.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness. I believe it holds the fruits of the spirit together. We know we need to be patient, but without kindness we sneak in a jab to those who made us wait. Sure we need to be gentle, but our hands can be restrained while our eyes throw daggers.
Don’t forget to be kind. It covers up for a lot of our mistakes. Eventually we will be the ones who are late or have a bad moment. The kindness we’ve shown will often be the kindness returned.
Kindness is the first step in sharing God’s love. Even when someone deserves an “I told you so,” we can show kindness and reveal God’s grace. It just might insert the key ingredient into their lives that turns their hearts toward Christ.
The greatest kindness we’ve known was Jesus on the cross, and it is a gift God has given for us to share. We don’t create kindness. We share the kindness God has granted us, and the supply is unlimited.
Trust me, you don’t want a chickpea & black bean bar without peanut butter. It’s a key ingredient. We can say the same about a Christian without kindness.