But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Thank you for continuing with me in this study at looking at the fruit of the Spirit. If you just joined in this study and have not seen the previous posts you can find theme here: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.
Today I will be looking at the fruit of gentleness, what it is and what it looks like in the life of a believer.
The word ‘gentleness’ was originally translated as meekness in the KJV bible. It is a word that is talking about being mild, not harsh.
Many in the world see gentleness as a type of weakness. It is often accepted that a woman may be gentle, but it is often discouraged in men. Some women, with the feminist movement, will also look down upon being gentle. With that in mind, very few people are actually gentle.
Throughout the bible there are various verses that give good guidelines as to what gentleness looks like in a person. I will be looking at some of these verses.
The best spot to begin is with God and seeing how He is gentle.
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11
The world loves to drive and push people. They want to show that they have absolute control. Some believers lead in a harsh demanding sort of way, just as the world tends to lead. They are demanding and forceful, rather than gentle and kind as God is.
God does not have to prove He has control, He just has it. He uses His immense power under control and with gentleness.
People are just like sheep. They need to be treated gently. Leading is to be done with control, but in gentleness, carefully guiding people or others. This type of leading can only be done when done out of love and care for others, being filled and led by His Holy Spirit.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Harsh words are heard all the time. Watch any political campaign and all you will often hear is slamming other people with harsh words. Crushing the opponent is the goal of many candidates.
Sadly this can also be seen in the church. One believer crushes another with harsh words or they crush non-believers with hateful harsh words. They will often not speak the whole truth that God has given them, but only a portion of what God says.
There will be times when someone is harsh with you. One will say things or doing things that are harsh. Do not respond in the same way. Instead of using harsh words, you must be gentle towards others. Being gentle will cause another person to calm down faster. Harsh words only stirs up anger and a fighting spirit.
When you are filled with the Holy Spirit and are being led by Him, you will be gentle in what you have to say towards others. Your words will not be harsh and condemning, but full of love and grace, building others up. These words will be gentle.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
People will want to know why you believe what you do. Why do you believe in a person who lived centuries ago? Why do you not do certain things and do other things? Why do you act the way you act?
Answering these can be easy, but they can be done in a harsh way. Some will answer it in a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude, looking down upon the person asking the question. Others will answer in a way that is looking at the person as though it was a stupid question to ask.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit will cause you to answer with gentleness. You will not be rude and condescending about it.
Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,2 Timothy 2:25
As a believer you will have some who oppose you. Watch the news, movies, tv shows, listen the radio, it is everywhere, believers have opponents. There are people who do not believe in God or believe in Jesus. They may not believe in any god or they may believe in a false god.
Some of these may oppose violently, while others may be calm and mild about their opposition, they just don’t agree.
Many believers have harshly went up against unbelievers. They will quickly condemn them and show no compassion or love towards those who oppose. They want judgement.
However, as a believer, you are to be like God, gently speaking to them with the goal that they will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and repentance. You need to remember that at some point you were just like them without a saving knowledge of Jesus. You did not know the truth.
Fill your heart with God’s love and gentleness towards them. Seek to show them who God is and His great love for them. Hope for a change of heart and that they will follow Jesus.
Being filled with God’s Holy Spirit will change you. He will make you more like Jesus every day. The signs of those changes can be seen in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is a character change. Allow God to change you into the image of Jesus everyday.
Change in the Holy Spirit begins with love, leading to joy, leading to peace, leading to forbearance, leading to kindness, leading to goodness, leading to faithfulness, which in turn leads to gentleness. Allow these changes to occur and be evident in your life. Allow the world to see all these fruits of the Spirit.
Again, thank you for continuing with me on this journey of looking in depth the fruit of the Spirit. Next week I will look at the last fruit, the fruit of self-control. Please be sure to return for this last fruit. Feel free to share this post with any of your friends who may need to see it.