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Simple Acts of Kindness - Daily Steps

Posted by Kim Stiver on

Welcome to Daily Steps
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings, prayer prompts, and action steps to help you spend time with Jesus and strengthen your relationship with Him.

Romans 12:3-5 "For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." (ESV)

The Magic Elixir of Humility

Most people who attain celebrity status — even on a small scale — are not usually associated with the virtue of humility. In fact, when we meet someone famous or important, we’re often surprised if they seem down-to-earth, kind, and approachable. Part of this amazement is because we — the very people who admire them — often elevate them to a pedestal in our own minds. Many times, that’s the very reason people who achieve great notoriety are not humble in the first place. People in their immediate circle — their staff, their closest friends, and even their families — can unintentionally feed their pride, continuously raising the pedestal higher and higher.

Pride is one of the biggest killers of kindness toward others and it comes after us all, regardless of how ordinary we think we are. It’s sneaky, relentless, and no one is immune. It can take on various forms and masquerade as admirable character traits, especially within a church body. Self-ambition may appear to be zeal for the Kingdom. An accumulation of knowledge could be hiding a superiority complex or a deep-seated fear of not measuring up. Being judgmental or feeling jealous of others' talents or positions within the body can be hidden by claims of spiritual discernment. Pride can even consume a group of believers who become more bound together by their talents, opinions, preferences, or lifestyles, than their love for Jesus and others. There are no limits to how far pride will go to create rifts, cliques, or disunity in any body of believers, from the micro-level all the way up to a national scale.

Once it takes root, pride will move through a community of believers like an insidious, unstoppable poison, corroding and destroying everything in its path. However, if pride is a poison to the body of Christ, then humility is the magic elixir. Humility is capable of filling gaps, smoothing out the rough edges, preventing pride-driven agendas, and healing wounds in marvelous ways. Humility even transforms weaknesses and shortcomings into growth opportunities. A heart of humility — a heart that is truly pursuing what Jesus wants — is one that puts the advancement of His Kingdom and the sharing of His love first above oneself and all other priorities. Period. In just four verses, Romans 12:3-5 teaches us about this kind of humility.

The path to kindness in the name of Jesus begins with humility. In God's beautiful design for the church, which the Bible calls the body of Christ, there is not one person or one position more important or more worthy of adoration than another. Like yeast added to the dough, humility is the ingredient that triggers spiritual greatness for God’s glory in each member and collectively within a Christ-filled community. All the so-called right ingredients for a successful church can be pooled together, but without humility guiding the hearts and minds of those participating, even the best combination of traits, skills, programs, and services will fall short of God’s plan. 

As you read the following passages about God's design for the church and your part in His body, spend time each day meditating on the primary characteristic described and its role in paving the path to kindness towards others. Think about its meaning, not only in the context of community, but also for you as a contributing member of it. Ask God to show you each day how He wants you to implement the characteristic and how it impacts your role in your church body as well as your neighborhood and family. Lay aside any fears you have of not measuring up, not being recognized, or being asked to do something you don't like. Instead, focus on the gentle conviction and tug of the Holy Spirit toward God's best for His church, versus your own preferences.

Daily Bible Readings

This week, as you go through the daily readings below, ask the Holy Spirit to make each of the passages deeply personal and applicable to you. (NOTE: We suggest you read each of these passages in several different versions of the Bible, including at least one paraphrase version.) As you contemplate these passages, make time to pray before and after you read them. Write down anything the Holy Spirit whispers to your soul. 

Monday — Read 1 Corinthians 12. Practice Interdependence. Webster's dictionary defines interdependence as a state of being dependent on one another; mutual dependence. This concept is completely foreign to Western society for the most part, where most people are taught to be entirely self-reliant and independent thinkers. Although being responsible, dedicated, and able to think critically are all good traits, we get into trouble when we use them as only a means of taking care of ourselves. Knowing that God designed His church body so that what one person does affects everyone, what are some areas of your life that the Holy Spirit is pushing you to sacrifice in your independence and your own personal benefit for the good of the body? What are some ways He is nudging you to ask for, and graciously receive, help?

Tuesday — Read Romans 12:16 and 1 Peter 3:8. Live in Harmony. As you ponder what it takes to work alongside of your fellow believers to share the love of Jesus, notice the role that humility plays in building and growing life-giving relationships. Make a prayer list of the ways in which God is challenging you to grow so that you can better love both your fellow believers and those who haven't yet experienced a Gospel transformation. 

Wednesday — Read Matthew 25:34-40 and Hebrews 13:1-2. Offer Hospitality to All. Though often viewed as one of the "lighter" traits of a Christ-follower, hospitality is a vital part of demonstrating the love of Jesus, especially to strangers, people we disagree with, or those who live outside of our normal social or economic circles. Spend time thinking about the last time you were able to open your home or provide nurturing support to someone outside of your comfort zone. Ask God to give you more of those opportunities. 

Thursday — Read 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Hebrews 3:13. Encourage One Another. This one sounds so easy, doesn't it? Of course, we should encourage and support one another, but when you take a deeper look at what it means to truly encourage us as brothers and sisters in Christ, that also means tackling the hard stuff. It means lovingly holding each other accountable. Being willing to receive honest and constructive criticism with grace and humility. Often, we shirk our responsibility to talk with another believer about something challenging or potentially confrontational, but it could be the very conversation they need to stay close to Jesus, remain in the body, and heal wounds. Spend time asking God to direct you and give you courage in this area. 

Friday — Read Acts 4:32-37. Be Lavishly Generous. Regardless of how old the Bible is, the truths it contains remain shockingly timeless. Take for example the man Joseph, nicknamed Barnabas the encourager. He owned a piece of land, sold it, and gave the proceeds to his local church body so that they could more effectively minister to those in need and share the love of Jesus. Even by today's standards, this is both a ridiculously lavish and very rare act — and we know that it was just as surprising back then. Why? Because of all the things that people were doing to help the cause of the early church, this one was forever immortalized in the Scriptures. You may not have a piece of land, a car, or some other valuable object to sell for God, but that doesn't mean the power of the Holy Spirit can't produce that kind of generosity within you. As you pray today, dare to ask God to make you radically generous with your time, energy, creativity, and resources.

TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to God each day and explore what it means to be a part of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth.

Want to Go Even Further? 
Check out our companion study guide to use with your community group, neighbors, or family members! Each week includes thought-provoking questions for discussion or individual study based on this week's sermon topic. 
STUDY GUIDE

Get Your Worship On!
Do you love the worship music at Cornerstone? Then our worship YouTube channel is for you! Enjoy all your favorites now, featuring the worship teams from all of our campuses! PLUS...there is a new original song this week. You won't want to miss it!

CF Worship ChannEl on YouTube

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