The following article was an excerpt from
“We Want to Show Our Kindness” By Stephen Abbott
Every Saturday night at the Salvation Army building in Hounslow, a warm meal and an even warmer welcome are given to dozens of people who are homeless, suffering from problems in their personal life or just in need of someone to talk to. The evenings are run by the Mission in Hounslow Trust, a Christian organisation run by Colin and Madeleine Windsor, a married couple from Whitton. As well as eating good home-made food, those attending also have the chance to have a hot shower, receive advice and get some spiritual guidance if they wish. As Colin sees it, this is all part of creating “a homely atmosphere because it helps them to feel relaxed and to be able to talk to each other”
He goes on to explain the purpose of the mission. “Our passion is to see people happier,” he says. “People being happier in a society where people care for each other and where there is love and concern for each other. Most people out there, I’d imagine, would like to live in a community that they feel is happy with people smiling. I’m not being unrealistic, but we want to see a borough where people are more open to each other. Meetings are also held, without a hot meal being provided, every Tuesday evening at the same venue.”
After a lifelong interest in charitable work, Colin and Madeleine set up the trust in 1994 in a bid “to go outside the walls of the church, to walk the highways and the byways, and see whether we can relate to people and share the love of Jesus”. The couple had already been involved with the running of Holy Trinity church in Hounslow for 25 years but decided that they could do even more. Now, they run the organisation full time but do not draw salaries for their work, instead relying on savings for their upkeep.
Located near the Treaty centre in Hounslow, it had around 30 beds and welcomed around 2,000 different people through its doors during its short lifespan. Despite basing their teachings on Christian beliefs, the trust welcomes people of all faiths to their meetings. Colin says that their gatherings challenge the stereotypical view that some people have of Christians. “A lot of people think Christianity is very dry,” he chuckles. “But Christianity to us is being happy, it’s knowing that we’re loved. If you belong to another thinking, don’t worry about it. We’re not trying to force our way into people’s lives, it is just food for thought. Whatever you want to believe in, you believe in it. We respect you for sitting there listening. We have made friends with all sorts of people. We love people from all different backgrounds. You get people who beg on the street who make it obvious that they need help but there are others where you wouldn’t even know if they walked past you. They have often got mental health problems or terrible medical problems. A lot of people are dying prematurely in their 30s or 40s.” He goes on to tell the story of a 31-year-old who had visited the Hounslow Mission just three weeks ago. A week later, she died of a medical complaint. “She was only there on the Saturday before. She had lived a very problematic life and was moving in areas which caused her problems. Wrong relationships and things like that. But we felt that, since we have known her in the last few months, her life was changing and that through talking about love and kindness…we could see that she was changing. She was probably thinking that there was a better way and I don’t think people quite know that. Finally Colin adds: “The nuts and bolts of what we do is show these people about love and kindness. We want to say to them, You are precious, you are valued, you are very important people.”
Your Initial Response
Do you agree with what the couple is doing? If you were them, would you do it differently? Why or why not? In what ways would it be different, if yes?
16So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
1Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. (Galatians 5:16–6:1 NIV)
1) “Eye” (“i=Eye”)
iEXP Bible Study Method
1 Draw a question mark at the place where you have difficulty of understanding.
2 Box Circle all the “desires” and number them in ascending order (Galatians 5:19-21).
3 Circle the fruit of the Holy Spirit and number them in ascending order.
4 Compare NIV and NCV (Galatians 5:22).
5 Use arrow signs to connect “live by the Spirit,” “led by the Spirit,” “the fruit of the Spirit,” “live by the Spirit” and “keep in step with the Spirit.”
2) “Expound” (E)
iEXP Bible Study Method
What is the meaning of a “spiritual person”? God uses the past experience of the Apostle Paul to closely describe the essence of a spiritual person. Galatians 5:22-23 is the guiding principle to test a spiritual person, and we can recognise our spiritual condition by employing the above means.
1 What is meant by “sinful nature” (Galatians 5”16)?
2 Why believers led by the Spirit are not under law (Galatians 5:18)?
3 How can people crucify their sinful nature with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24)?
4 How can Christians “live by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25)?
The Epistle to the Galatians can be called “the charter of Christian liberty,” as means to say believers are having freedom. This kind of true freedom is originated from the gospel of justification, that is to say, believers are saved by the gospel of grace. However, Christians should never use it as an excuse to deny moral restraints. The starting point of Christian living is originated from the works of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit continues to play a very important role in the development of their spiritual growth. In other words, the Holy Spirit and the spiritual formation of believers are closely connected. Conclusively speaking, those who are led by the Holy Spirit will reveal the fruit of the Spirit, that is, spiritual character.
“The desires of the sinful nature” is the sensual desire of the physical nature. The Apostle Paul warned the believers not to live according to the desires of their sinful nature; on the contrary, believers should submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “Live by the Spirit” is a sentence of present imperative. In other words, live by the Spirit should be the habitual conduct of Christians or “way of life” that they should lead.
Christians have possessed two different natures. One is inborn and the other one is from believing Christ as Saviour (cf. 2 Peter 2:14). The believers’ old nature are inclined to serve sin and self, but their new nature have the capacity to choose to serve God and live righteously. In other words, the believers’ inborn nature makes them to indulge in a self-centred lifestyle, but the nature of regeneration makes people to love God as priority in their way of life. Both are at enmity with one another. The evil nature still has power to drive believers to do what they are not willing to do. The two natures remain in the lives of believers until they die.
“Under law” is in direct and obvious opposition to being “led by the Spirit.” The Law here is the Mosaic Law. Most probably, the law and the sinful nature mentioned here are in the same category. The Jewish legalists in those days advocated salvation by keeping the Law (that is the embodiment of salvation by good works); it opposed the consistent teaching of the Bible. The Apostle Paul pointed out their problem for a special purpose; Christians are not saved by keeping the Law. This is not to say, Paul wanted to abrogate the Law or all moral law, but he pointed out Christians with the Holy Spirit could rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and not to subject to the desire of the flesh again (“the desires of the sinful nature,” NIV).
Paul stated that the behavior of those who subjected to the desires of the sinful nature can be easily seen. There are fifteen kinds of evil, and it can be categorised into four groups: first, immorality (sensual passions); second, idolatry (unlawful dealings in spiritual things); third, grudge (violations of brotherly love); fourth, intemperate excesses.
1 Immorality (Galatians 5:19)
“sexual immorality,” from this Greek word comes the term “pornography; it refers to any and all forms of illicit sexual relationships. “Impurity” is physical impurity. “Debauchery” refers to lawless insolence and wanton caprice.
2 Idolatry (Galatians 5:20)
“Idolatry” is idol worship. The English word pharmacy evolves from this word “witchcraft.” It is connected with sorcery for witches used drugs.
3 Grudge (Galatians 5:20-21)
“Hatred” are acts of enmity and hostility. “Discord” refers to contention, strife, fighting, discord, quarreling, wrangling. “Jealousy” refers to the unfriendly feeling excited by another’s possession of good. “Fits of rage” refers here to passionate outbursts of anger or hostile feeling. “Selfish ambition” means self-seeking, selfishness, factiousness. “Dissensions”speaks of dissensions and divisions. “Factions” is used to describe when people quarrel over issues or personalities, the result is hurtful divisions. “Envy” is plural in form in the Greek Bible, suggesting the innumerable expressions of envious desire.
4 Intemperate Excesses (Galatians 5:21)
“Drunkenness” was common in the Roman Empire, but as for Christians, it was an act of indulgence. “Orgies” can be translated as “revelings” (KJV), “carousing” (RSV), “wild parties” (TLB). The above fifteen acts are illustrations of people who followed the desires of their sinful nature. These behaviors indicated that they did not know the Saviour; therefore, they had no part in God’s kingdom.
Paul moved on to point out that those Christians who followed the Holy Spirit had the following nine characters. The fruit here is singular in form, that is, the Holy Spirit has only one kind of fruit, but it has nine different characteristics. “Love” is selfless and self-sacrificial. “Joy” has a spiritual basis and its origin can be of the Holy Spirit (I Thess. 1:6). As to the Jews, “peace” is a condition of wholeness and well-being, that is, a right relationship with God and fellow human beings. By trusting Jesus Christ as Saviour, sinners are reconciled with God. For believers who yield to the Holy Spirit, they maintain a right relationship with God and fellow human beings, and this is an inevitable state. “Patience” speaks of a person who is even being ill-treated, but this individual does not produce anger or thought of revenge. “Kindness” refers to benignity and kindheartedness. “Goodness” refers to that quality in a person who is ruled by and aims at what is good. “Faithfulness” refers to faithfulness and fidelity. “Gentleness” refers to the qualities of mildness, gentleness, and meekness. “Self-control” indicates this person has possessed the power of self-control.
“Against such things there is no law.” The following are three different kinds of interpretations: First, “Law exists for the purpose of restraint, but in the works of the Spirit there is nothing to restrain.” Second, the Law cannot declare those who yield to the Holy Spirit guilty. Third, no one would make laws against people who are led by the Spirit.
The Apostle Paul did not advocate self-mortification. His intention is to state that by the works of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers, Christians were identified with Christ in His death and resurrection. By the work of the Lord on the cross, He overcame the believers’ sinful nature with its passions and desires. This is not to say, the sinful nature of believers are eradicated. Christians must continue lay hold of this truth by faith or believers will secure victory by self-effort.
Regarding to the believers who are led by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle has the conclusion as follows: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another.” (NET)
3) “Exercise” (X)
iEXP Bible Study Method
1 Christians who live in the world are affected by our “sinful nature” (NIV) and this is the challenge that believers face on a daily basis (Galatians 5:17).
2 Memorise Galatians 5:22-23.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
3 Resolve to learn to speak words of kindness to those in need of encouragement.
4 Resolve to learn to give to others, expecting nothing in return.
5 I am willing to help those who are in trouble or who cannot help themselves.
4) “Proclaim” (P)
By applying the biblical truths to their lives, believers would experience God. When the Bible students experience God and His truths, they should follow the example of the early Christians of testifying to non-believers and believers boldly. By means of speech, we witness to non-believing friends and to edify believers alike. The fourth step of the iEXP Bible study is “Proclaim”.
iEXP Bible Study Method
After finished studying the text, try to apply the truths to your daily living, family life and church life, and pray that you will experience the truthfulness and power of God’s Word. Grab the opportunity to share your experience with non-believers and believers, in family altar, small groups and social gatherings, as a way of witnessing the power of the gospel to non-believers and edification of believers.