Grow in Kindness – Dyed4you Art

Grow in Kindness reminds us that each day we have new opportunities to sow kindness into the world, so may we choose to sow wisely that we might show ourselves by our flourishing fruit.

  • Galatians 5:22-23 (AMP)But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
  • 1 Peter 3:8 (AMP) Finally, all of you be like-minded [united in spirit], sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit; 
  • John 15:4 (TLB) Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.

A Prophetic Nugget from Daily Downloads from Heaven by Meghan Williams is connected to this. It’s called “May the Overflow of Your Heart Mirror Mine.”

Ephesians 4:2 (TLB) Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

Beloved, see with My eyes the motivations of man. Refuse to be affronted, but rather allow the fruit of the Spirit to pour forth from you as you move in patience, grace, and forgiveness. Act in a manner that you would have someone act towards a loved one in their moment of weakness.

Refuse to allow disunity, resentment, or anger to take root. Release any feelings of frustration and instead allow compassion to well up from within you. May the overflow of your heart mirror Mine that others may see and know Me by your actions alone.

A Meditation of the Word called “Mercy is His Name” from Elisa Eaton of Waiting in the Wings is connected to this.

Mercy is a central part of God’s nature—in fact, His name is mercy. In Exodus 34, God responded to Moses’ desire to see His glory. And as He passed before Moses, verse 5 says that He “proclaimed the name of the LORD.” And the proclamation that rolled forth was: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but many times when I would read this Scripture, I would find myself quite focused on the latter half of the verse! I trembled at the God who punished the guilty and allowed iniquity to be a generational inheritance! Due to my own woundings in life, I found it hard to see the other side of God’s character—His overwhelming heart of mercy. And I think my struggles with perceiving (and receiving) mercy have been due, in part, to how I learned to interpret much of Scripture.

There are many ways to view the story that is told from Genesis to Revelation, from the creation account until the return of our Conquering King. We can choose to focus on the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden, or we can rejoice over the prophesied redemption that God promised would come through one of their offspring. We can obsess over the moral failings of the forefathers of the faith and the children of Israel, or we can marvel at those who walked with God and how He walked with them.

In the Word of God, humanity’s cycle with sin, repentance, and redemption are on display for us. And if we look in this mirror closely, we can most definitely see ourselves. However, how do we view the story that is there? While we certainly don’t want to minimize to cost of sin, I would argue that it would also be unproductive for us to navel-gaze at our individual and corporate failings. Do we choose to obsess over our fallen nature? Or can we look at our rather challenging corporate journey with God through His eyes of mercy?

The more we allow the Holy One to shape our character to look like His, the more that we will be able to see the beauty in our human experience. This story isn’t about what we have done, it is about what the Creator is doing and who we are becoming through Christ. For there is a crimson road that is woven throughout Scripture, throughout human existence, and throughout our individual lives. In the face of all of our failings, we can rejoice that God has paved a way back into His presence through His great mercy.

Exodus 34:6 (VOICE) Then the Eternal One passed before him. Eternal One: The Eternal God, full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, and abundant in loyal love and truth….

A couple of quotes from author and pastor Andy Stanley are connected to this. 

  • “Kindness is loaning someone your strength instead of reminding them of their weakness.”
  • “Kindness is love’s response to weakness.”

Another Prophetic Nugget from Daily Downloads from Heaven by Meghan Williams is connected to this. It’s called “Be Known for Your Grace.

1 Peter 3:9 (TLB) Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t snap back at those who say unkind things about you. Instead, pray for God’s help for them, for we are to be kind to others, and God will bless us for it.

Beloved, be known for your grace. Be known for being unoffendable. Refuse to allow your pride to be pricked, but instead seek to understand the heart motives behind careless and hurtful actions and pray for those who deliver them. You need not endure abuse, but simply remove yourself quietly rather than taking issue with your assailant. I AM the Lord and I will repay.

Be quick to forgive, leaving all to My hand of justice, for I AM the righteous judge. Beloved, bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you. Keep your heart tender and trust Me to protect and heal you.

Luke 6:28 (NKJV) bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.

A crystalline affirmation from Meghan Williams is connected to this. It reads in first person so it can become your declaration. It’s called “Interconnectedness.” 

We are all interconnected. Spirit is omnipresent and therefore in each of us – connecting us. To hurt someone is to inflict self-harm on the collective. When one hurts, we all hurt. So I choose love. I choose humility and forgiveness. I choose grace and kindness. I choose to assume positive intent. I love well and do so liberally. I let my life be an example and focus my intent on the highest good.

This is a series of Prophetic Nuggets from “Daily Downloads from Heaven” by Meghan Williams that are connected by scripture / theme. It is a series of six Prophetic Nuggets based on James 3:2-10 (VOICE):

We all stumble along the way. If a person never speaks hurtful words or shouts in anger or profanity, then he has achieved perfection. The one who can control his tongue can also control the rest of his body. It’s like when we place a metal bit into a horse’s mouth to ride it; we can control its entire body with the slightest movement of our hands. Have you ever seen a massive ship sailing effortlessly across the water? Despite its immense size and the fact that it is propelled by mighty winds, a small rudder directs the ship in any direction the pilot chooses. It’s just the same with our tongues! It’s a small muscle, capable of marvelous undertakings. And do you know how many forest fires begin with a single ember from a small campfire? The tongue is a blazing fire seeking to ignite an entire world of vices. The tongue is unique among all parts of the body because it is capable of corrupting the whole body. If that were not enough, it ignites and consumes the course of creation with a fuel that originates in hell itself. Humanity is capable of taming every bird and beast in existence, even reptiles and sea creatures great and small. But no man has ever demonstrated the ability to tame his own tongue! It is a spring of restless evil, brimming with toxic poisons. Ironically this same tongue can be both an instrument of blessing to our Lord and Father and a weapon that hurls curses upon others who are created in God’s own image. One mouth streams forth both blessings and curses. My brothers and sisters, this is not how it should be.

The first Prophetic Nugget is called “Intentionally Sow Words of Life.

James 3:2 (CSB) For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is mature, able also to control the whole body.

Beloved, it’s not that you won’t ever say the wrong thing or hurt someone with your words, but rather how you strive to avoid doing so and the humility with which you respond when you do. Choose to be circumspect in your speech. Season it with a liberal dose of love and kindness delivered humbly and with a heart to build up rather than tear down.

Resist the urge to spout off at the mouth when you are angry or frustrated. Instead hold your peace, and find a moment to pour out your heart to Me. Refuse to allow careless words to flow from you, but rather be one who intentionally sows words of life in all around them. You are able. Simply ask for My help. 

The second Prophetic Nugget is called “Tame Your Tongue.”

James 3:3-4 (CSB) Now if we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we direct their whole bodies. And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

Beloved, though your tongue may seem like a small muscle, it can wield more damage than the fiercest blow another could deliver. Tame it, for you are responsible for every word that departs from it. Just as those who have intentionally or thoughtlessly injured you, so you have done to others. So extend forgiveness even as you yourself need it. 

Resist the urge to minimize the potential hurt your words may inflict. Remember that echoes of painful words may repeat and continue their damage for decades to come. So be slow to speak, weighing each word – seeking insight from My Spirit. Let Holy Spirit lead you rightly, and help guard your tongue that you might be known as a fountain of life.

The third Prophetic Nugget is called “Hold Your Tongue.”

James 3:5 (CSB) So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how a small fire sets ablaze a large forest.

Beloved, remember that even a small spark can start a forest fire that devastates thousands of acres. Resist the urge to judge by man’s standards, thinking a simple joke or teasing word is “no big deal.” Consult My Spirit, for woe be to the one whose “joke” damages the spirit of another. 

Remember that I hear every word. These are My beloved creations you are speaking to, so be sure to do so with care. For anything that undermines the work of My Spirit or the identity I have given is a work of darkness. Whose kingdom would you build? So be intentional, and seek My wisdom, for it is better to hold your tongue than hurt one of My children. 

The fourth Prophetic Nugget is called “Powerful Vessel of Life.”

James 3:6 (CSB) And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among our members. It stains the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Beloved, refuse to underestimate the power your tongue wields. With your mouth, you can wreak immense damage that affects your whole body as well as those around you. Resist the urge to try to marginalize its impact. But at the same time, refuse to be cowed into silence either.

Remember that power can be used for good or evil. So rather than causing trouble, instead use your mouth to bring life and share hope – to build up rather than tearing down. In this way, you can become a fount of life. As a yielded vessel, your mouth can pour forth the sparkling, clear flow that comes straight from My Spirit. So surrender yourself to Me, beloved, and be a powerful vessel of life.

The fifth Prophetic Nugget is called “Humble Strength.”

James 3:7-8 (CSB) Every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish is tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Beloved, without My help, taming your tongue would be an arduous and ultimately unsuccessful task. But with Me all things are possible. Surrender your voice to Me. Ask Me to fill your mouth. For I AM fully able to strengthen you to walk in humility. 

When you care more for Me than the thoughts and opinions of man, holding your tongue simply becomes a gift and an offering to Me, and I find it most pleasing. So walk in that humble strength, for it is beautiful.

The sixth Prophetic Nugget is called “Choose to Cultivate Life.”

James 3:9-10 (CSB) With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in God’s likeness. Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way.

Beloved, refuse to be double minded. Refuse to be one who is first swayed one direction, and then another. One who blesses out of one side of their mouth, and then curses out of the other. Choose who you would be – and choose wisely, and then stand fast.

Choose to be a fountain of blessing. Choose to speak life. Choose to see the good, and encourage that good to flourish. Bring the things that trouble you to Me. Pray them out with care. Hope and believe for the best. Choose to cultivate life. 

A prophetic download from Becky Eddy is connected to this. It’s called “Hesed (Love/Loving-Kindness).”

Hesed is a Hebrew word best translated into English as “loving-kindness.” Loving-kindness is loyalty, kindness, goodness, favor, and mercy – all motivated by deep affection.

A mother bear will instinctively go to great lengths to protect and defend her cubs if she senses danger or harm towards them. She will battle wolves, predators, and even a lone male bear to ensure the safety of her young cubs. Familiar with stories of a mother bear’s commitment to protect her cubs, we have adopted phrases such as “fierce as a mama bear” and  “don’t make me go mama bear on you!” These convey our understanding of the resolute protection of an angry mama bear. The Lord created the mama bear to have such overpowering instincts that she would naturally go to heroic lengths to protect her cubs. 

Of course a mother bear’s determined and fierce protection exponentially pales in comparison to God’s hesed love and faithfulness towards us. Yet it is often times easier for us to appreciate the mama bear’s instincts rather than to grasp a deeper understanding of God’s unwavering love and faithfulness toward us. But as we draw the parallel of that fierce and abiding love, we begin to grasp the depth of the Father’s heart for us.

Hesed is also the term for covenantal love. Thus, hesed is most certainly the heart of God towards us. Understanding more about hesed awakens us to deeper insight into the heart of God toward us. Hesed is the steadfast love that God has for us; it is the kind of love needed to fulfill and keep covenant. He is above all, faithful and true. He has pledged himself to us in the unbreakable bond of blood covenant. His love and faithfulness are airtight and unending. He is the one who fulfills it, for he is able. He initiates, fulfills, and maintains the covenant with us, far surpassing man’s ability to keep this airtight covenant.

{artist note} As I sought the Lord about this piece, the first thing I heard was “kindness,” which I immediately connected to the fruit of the Spirit. In this piece, the fruit is represented by the grapes as a visual reminder that grapes come only when connected to the vine. (This takes us to John 15 and reminds us to abide, for, without the Lord’s inflow, we have nothing to pour out that brings life).

As that revelation sunk in, I realized this piece is also connected to our “Grow in Joy” Dyed4you Art piece, as both are about growing into new levels of fruit. They are wonderful reminders that we never reach a point where we can stop growing when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit. There are always new levels to stretch into as we mature and grow. Even the seemingly simple things are not simple because they have a profound impact, which is exactly why Scripture addresses them.

Finally, when I added the swan to this piece, I pondered why Holy Spirit highlighted that element to be included. I realized that a swan or duck glides along the water with seeming ease, and yet, below the surface, their legs are paddling fervently. The same concept can be true as we extend kindness. Kindness appears to come with grace and may seem easy, but in reality, it often takes a lot of effort on our part to offer it! This also helps us remember to appreciate kindness when it’s extended to us; though it may be freely given, it doesn’t mean it has no cost.

The name of the silk hidden in this image is The Sweet Fruit of Humble Kindness. The colors in it are purple representing promise, peach representing sweetness, mulberry representing fruitfulness, yellow representing joy, and chartreuse green representing life.

Father may we be so saturated in Your hesed, Your loving-kindness, that we reflect that out to the world with abandon, that You would strengthen us to give it even when it’s challenging, that our flourishing fruit might be seen and be sweet for all, and that we might be richly blessed in the blessing.