During part of that time working, I reflected on this series of loving others and what my next post should focus on. Was there more to be said about loving kindly, or was it time to move on to loving without envy?
The answer is another post emphasizing kindness in love.
Very closely related to patience, kindness is much easier to talk about than to practice. I want to be kind, but I am not always.
One recent discovery for me goes back to how our minds, bodies, and spirits are related. While I've known about this relationship in how God created us for a long time, I've been experiencing it in fascinating ways recently. Due to a variety of circumstances (and honestly, just plain being at the end of my rope with how I felt), I made some major life changes in my eating habits. I've eaten "healthy" for a long time, but also ate the "fun" stuff and sometimes too much. On my pursuit of feeling better, I found out that even some considered healthy foods weren't cooperating with my body. So, I got really overwhelmed and then I determined to make some changes.
My weight still isn't consistently going in the direction I want it to (I'm giving that time), but over the last month of making major eating changes, I feel so much better!
What I'm finding as I feel better is that I'm a better person. I'm more able to put into practice the character traits of following and loving Jesus my heart desires to exibit.
So, this thought came to me: Are we able to love better, more kindly, more Christ-like when we take better care of our bodies? Click to Tweet
I believe the answer is yes. I also believe scripture shows us the importance of taking care of our bodies for this and other reasons.
Our bodies are the vessels from which we bring God glory. Isn't that what loving others is ultimately meant to do? Bring glory to God? Shine His goodness and His love? Share His Gospel Truth with others?
Jesus said the world would know we're His disciples if we love one another. (John 13:35) We want people to know we're His disciples so we can point them to Him and the salvation that comes only through repentance and faith in Him.
We want to love other's kindly so that God will be glorified. Click to Tweet
We want to take care of our bodies so that we can love more kindly, so that God will be glorified. Click to Tweet
Do you see the connection?
When we are run down, tired, sluggish, and exhausted, we are less likely to love kindly. This is not always connected to how we physically take care of our bodies, but God has been showing me that quite often it is (especially in our culture where very little of what we eat is actually food provided by Him).
Sometimes we dig into scripture, pray more about being kind, muster up every ounce of energy we can, and then still snap. At our children. At our spouse. At the person on the other end of the line (although maybe not directly to them). At that other driver. At the grocery store cashier that isn't moving fast enough. We fail miserably at loving kindly. Not because we don't want to. Not because we aren't working on it. Not because we haven't determined in our minds and sought the Lord to empower our spirits, but because we've neglected our bodies - the temple of the Spirit of the Living God.
Now, granted, even when we renew our mind with the Word, surrender to the Spirit, and treat our temples with the greatest care, we will still fail at loving kindly all the time. This is simply because we remain in the flesh as long as we're here.
However, we will make great progress in loving more kindly, more godly, when we implant God's Word in our mind. We will also make great progress when we pray for God's Spirit to empower us. Failing to take care of our bodies will not negate our hearts desire to be more like Christ, but we won't ever be as effective at loving well without addressing all three areas.
To care for our minds, spirits, and bodies is the trifecta of surrendering to Christ and becoming more like Him - including loving more like Him: with kindness.
Taking care of our mind, spirit, and body is the trifecta of loving kindly. Click to Tweet
I hope this isn't discouraging to you, but encouraging! No matter where we are, there is always room to grow. And when we rely on God in every area of our lives, He will continally transform us to be more like Him. Loving. Kind. And so much more.