Welcome to Day 16 of our 3M Fast. Today, our Devotional will focus on the Fruit of “GENTLENESS” as recorded in Galatians 5:22-23.
“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Unfortunately when we hear the term gentleness or see gentleness in action, we equate it with weakness without understanding the core of its function. It is clearly a misunderstanding to assume weakness has anything to do with gentleness. “Gentleness” as seen in our text, comes from the Greek word “Praotes” – which incorporates gentleness and humility as an inward grace of the soul. Gentleness is a sign of inner peace and communion with God through the Holy Spirit. Gentleness is a characteristic of Jesus and should be a characteristic of every follower of Christ, and is part of how wisdom from above goes to work in our lives. In James 3 verse 13, it says,
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”
The Bible goes out its way to demonstrate Jesus’ gentleness. In fact, The Old Testament depicts the Messiah as unusually gentle, telling us in Isaiah 42:3 (NIV) that Jesus would not break a “bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering wick.” In The New Testament we see Jesus affirming His gentleness in Matthew 11:29 (NIV) where He tells us “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.”
The Apostle Paul helps us to see Jesus’ gentleness based on 2 Corinthians 10 verse 1 with,
“By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you..”
2 Corinthians 10:1
Clearly we can see the portrait of the Messiah as gentle. Gentleness then is a strong hand with a soft touch. It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others’ weaknesses and limitations. A gentle person will speak truth, even painful truth, but in doing so guards their tone so that the truth can be well received. True followers of Christ are distinguished by their gentleness. When you treat persons with gentleness, you gain their trust and respect. Being gentle makes others more willing to listen to you. Fighting destroys relationships and takes so much time to repair. You can prevent inciting anger by choosing to respond with gentleness. In doing so, creates a closer connection and as an added bonus, it will save you time and hardship. It’s easy to be gentle when we are around those who we care for and those who care about us in return. But to do the same for strangers, or people who hurt us? This is where gentleness is often confused with weakness. This is where we fear appearing weak, fragile, soft or uncertain to others, and in doing so we forget that maintaining a gentle attitude is a sure sign of STRENGTH!
In other cases, we fear judgment if we become overcome with emotions, when we should recognize that our ability to be moved, to identify with the suffering of others and want to help them makes us better. Like many of the spiritual gifts we’ve discovered in this passage from Galatians, gentleness is inseparable from the ingredients of the Fruit of the Spirit. How can we be gentle? Let’s start today by thinking about others! Let’s live from this day forward with less judgment and more compassion. Lastly let’s commit to being a true follower of Christ. Our world may be a harsh place to live, but we can soften it when we truly follow Jesus’ teaching and sincerely work for His Kingdom.