The Fruits of the Spirit: Gentleness

Devotion No. 7

November 2011

Galatians 5:22 "The Fruit of the Spirit is…..Gentleness"

For us to better understand the word gentleness, I had to get my dictionary out. The dictionary brought up the definition in this way; "The act of being gentle." So I looked up the word gentle and it gave me a list of definitions, and I think many of them can be used for the definition of gentleness. Gentle, is kindly, not to be rough or violent, easily handled or managed, soft, polite, calm, to soothe. Gentleness therefore is simply the act of all of these traits put together. Being gentle, is putting all these definitions into action.

We are instructed as Christians to allow the fruits of the Spirit to grow within us. And so far, the fruits that we have talked about have not been natural fruits that we so easily want to have. Gentleness is right there in the line with the rest of these fruits that aren’t easy. Just as it isn’t easy for us to love those that have done wrong to us, and isn’t easy for us to find that everlasting joy in the rough times, or to find peace in the time of a storm, or to have patience with people and things in our lives. It absolutely is not easy to be gentle with those around us who do us wrong or who makes us mad or angry.

It’s so easy for us to get mad right back at someone when they get angry with us, or when someone does something wrong against us. It’s easy to be harsh with someone when they’ve done us wrong, such as when a child spills milk all over the place and instead of us being soft and calm, we normally get ill and are harsh with them. God wants us to learn how to be gentle with people, to show kindness to those around us, even when they may not deserving of it. He doesn’t want us to be hatful and violent towards others. The LORD certainly showed us His gentleness towards us, after our sin is what nailed him to the cross. He truly is our example.

When it comes to gentleness, I think of verses such as Proverbs 15:1, "A soft answer turns away wrath, grieveous words stir up anger." Or Proverbs 18:24, "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly…" or Proverbs 19:22, "The desire of a man is his kindness…." Meaning that if we are to have friends, we must be friendly to those around us, and show kindness. If you have kindness, and show it in your actions people will have a desire to want to be around you. They will want your friendship, your companionship, because you treat them right.

When you’re gentle and kind, you will not lash out and fight back when someone wrongs you. Instead you will be kind and have a soft answer for them, turning the other cheek.
All the times Christ Jesus was spat upon, look down at, spoken ugly to, and was hated, it would have been easy for human nature to lash out and give it right back to them. But God can not sin, and Jesus did not sin, he turned the other cheek toward them. He was gentle and calm and soft in the way he responded toward them. Instead of saying anything, he said nothing at all many times, or gave them a scripture from God’s word.

Jesus had all these fruits of the Spirit, and he is the one we are to pattern ourselves after. We are to desire to be more like Christ every day. He is the greatest example of a man there ever has been. He had the greatest love of all time, as a matter of fact, God is Love. He had all the Joy there ever was, He is Joy. He had Peace, He is peace. He was longsuffering, God has extended more patience to mankind than we ever deserved. And Jesus definitely was and has been gentle and kind to us. For us to be more like Christ, we must continue to practice these fruits of the Spirit: showing love to those who don’t love us, having joy when there seems to be none, finding peace from your God and Savior in the midst of a storm, being patient with those who aren’t, and being kind and gentle to those who are hateful toward us. No it is not going to be easy, it’s actually going to be very hard. Our flesh will want to rise up and get the best of us. We will want to get angry right back at those who get mad at us and get revenge on them, but instead of allowing our flesh and the devil to win, we are to crucify that flesh (Galatians 5:24) and hold our tongue and watch our actions. That’s exactly what having the fruits of the Spirit is. Letting that old man, those old actions die, and having that new man inside of you… Not doing what the flesh wants, but doing the exact opposite. Follow Christ!

So when somebody makes you ill, and you want to yell right back at them, remember you are to be gentle and kind, and instead of giving into that flesh, think of it as just another opportunity to practice the fruit of gentleness.

That’s what gentleness is, the exact opposite of being harsh and mean.
We must pray and ask God to help us to have a gentle and kind spirit. Ask him to tear down that wall of dreadful hatefulness.

Remember how in my last lesson on longsuffering, I said that one author said "it was a time to do nothing, a time to not lash out back to someone and take revenge?" Well that same author said about gentleness, that it is a time to do something. It’s a time to be kind. So instead of becoming inpatient with those that hurt us and lash out at us, we are not do the same back to them, but be kind toward them. In Ephesians 5:25-32, the apostle Paul, makes a list of all the things we are to refrain from, such as lying, and corrupt communications, sinning when angry, and other things but in verse 32 he says, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you." We are to be KIND ONE TO ANOTHER. It is a command. Not only are we to just practice kindness we are to be kind every day. In Colossians 3:12 we are commanded to put on kindness just as we put on clothes every morning. It’s a characteristic that should walk out the door with us every morning. And in 2nd Timothy 2:24, if we are all called to be servants of the Lord, those that are saved, than we are commanded once again to be kind.

To be kind, to be gentle is to be more like Christ… I encourage you as brother and sisters in Christ, to be more like Him, more like our Father. Be loving, find everlasting joy, have peace when there isn’t any to be found, have patience and be kind and gentle to those who are mean and harsh toward you.
Instead of lashing out, be patient and show kindness, in your thoughts, your words and your deeds. Trust me, it will make every relationship you have that much the better…. I pray you will work on being gentle toward those around you. I pray you were encouraged through this devotion and the Lord helped you. Remember, He wants the best for you in life and loves you with all his heart.

Next time we’ll be studying the fruit of the Spirit, Goodness. This fruit goes hand in hand with gentleness and patience so get your concordance out and that bible and dive in with me next time to see what the Lord has for us. God Bless!!!

Isaiah 26:3-4

Emily Ann Sampson