Category: God’s Gentleness

Six – Understanding the Holy Spirit, p. 207

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July 31

The Aspects of the Fruit of The Spirit

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (from Galatians 5:22-23)

  gentleness1refers to a meekness, tenderness, or quietness of spirit. It is a manner reflecting total trust in the care and goodness of God. It is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This one quality directly contradicts the “normal” human approach to life – the belief that if you want anything (or want to get anywhere in this life) you have to promote yourself, and exert considerable effort and energy toward your goals.

Gentleness, in our current societal view, is seen most often as a weakness, lack of confidence, or (even) cowardice. But Scriptural gentleness is actually the opposite of our societal view. Those who are gentle, according to the Scriptural pattern, are actually those who could exercise great assertiveness and strength, but choose not to assert or promote themselves, and, instead, make the decision to promote, and rest in, the faithfulness and strength of God’s abilities.

lion-and-the-lamb

This is exactly what we see within our Lord Jesus. We are even reminded, by Our Lord Himself, that this common mantra of self-promotion has no place within the Kingdom of God: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

The meek and the gentle have laid all their cares before a holy and powerful God and have entrusted themselves to Him and His strength. Their meekness is an expression of their utter confidence in Him! Their reward is that, in the end, they will inherit the whole earth (i.e. what everyone seeks to gain by all their self-assertiveness and self-promotion)!

Gentleness and meekness is a strength and confidence that this world does not understand – and so often ridicules. But it is this kind of humble spirit that receives God’s greatest measure of grace. In fact, the Scriptural principle is that: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; quoting Proverbs 3:34)

humbled before God

This meek and humble quality was descriptive of our Lord Jesus. This is confirmed through Jesus’ own words commenting on this world’s daily struggle of trying to get ahead by human will and effort:

gentle and humble in heart

The meek and the gentle find rest and strength from the One Who is meek and gentle in His Own heart. It is God’s nature, and His intention, to deal tenderly and gently with us – to treat us not as our sins, and betrayals, deserve – but to treat us with all the tenderness and gentleness that His goodness and love provide. It is this gentleness of spirit that displays both our trust in God, and also the gentle nature of the One we trust.

Gentleness is a work of the Holy Spirit.