Welcome to Day 17 of our 3M Fast. Today, we want to continue our Devotional 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.”
Gentleness is the Fruit of the Spirit that demands the most from us. Because it requires us to adopt a position where we effectively place ourselves third on the list. First, there is God, second, there are other people, and third is ourselves. If we are honest, we will have to admit and acknowledge that this might make us very uncomfortable and it’s not something that is naturally or organically done. This kind of behavior requires humility and sacrifice, patience and compassion, not to mention dependency and a willingness to follow the command of God. These qualities are hard to come by even on our best days. But the good news is, God shows us the way. His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path and He never gives us gifts that we can’t use. Every person is powerful. We can speak words that influence others. We can act in ways that help or hurt others. We can choose what influences will inform our words and actions. Gentleness constrains and channels that power. To be gentle is to recognize that God’s ways are higher above and better than our thoughts and ways.
Paul writes in Philippians 4 verse 5 (NIV),
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
Philippians 4:5 (NIV)
So Pastor, how can I begin to walk this Fruit of the Spirit out in my life so that others are impacted by my gentleness. Here is a list of ways we can begin to show gentleness:
- Gentleness puts others before yourself and doesn’t act like it minds doing so.
- Gentleness doesn’t hate or throw shade at those who are doing things that in our view, may be perceived as wrong. Others may look, dress, worship, vote, or act differently than you, but you don’t have to hate on them because of that difference
- Gentleness remembers that we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 (ESV) – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all are trying to find our way through this ungentle world.
- Gentleness extends grace. Grace is undeserved favor. Not only does gentleness extend favor, but it also extends love and kindness to even the most difficult to-like people.
- Gentleness is a soft answer, even when the words might hurt the receiver. Galatians 6:1 (ESV) says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” When we receive a difficult message in a gentle way, we are much better able to receive it for the truth it is. Proverbs 15:1 tells us, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Gentleness points others who are searching for answers towards the loving arms of Jesus. God accepts us the way that we are but remember, He prunes the branches in our lives that aren’t growing well so that the ones that will advance His Kingdom really flourish!
Let me ask you. Do people describe you as gentle? Or do they describe you as critical or brash? Do you gently encourage people to “sin no more?” Or do you self-righteously cast the first stone?