Fruit of the Spirit #8 = GENTLENESS
When we become a Christian, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and these "fruits" (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) are the characteristics that overflow from us. This does not mean that we automatically produce Spiritual fruit without effort - we are still sinners and fall short of the Glory of God. However, this fruitful Spirit will become easier and be like a good habit after years of practice.
Today we will concentrate on GENTLENESS.
When I first started studying the "Fruits of the Spirit" I thought that "kindness" and "gentleness" were the same thing. There is a difference - gentleness means meek, humble, mild and calm whereas kindness (as we learned a few weeks ago) means compassion, sympathy, thoughtfulness, consideration, helpfulness and charity. The opposite of gentle is harsh whereas the opposite of kind is cruel. So you see there is a difference.
In this fast paced and stressful world that we live in - I often think that we don't even know what "rest" is anymore. We need to learn from Jesus' example and if we do, we will "find rest for our souls."
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1
I struggle with gentleness - There have been times in my life when unbeknownst to me my words offended someone (I DON'T swear - that's not what I mean). Without even realizing it I can be very harsh - I'm the firstborn child in my family & with that comes bossiness but I also try to rush through things and in so doing I lose the gentleness that is necessary to live a Christian life. I have been floored when others have confronted me with things that I have said because I never meant them that way (and then I of course apologize) - in my haste the message of what I say is often the opposite of what I mean. The verse below explains that patience is part of being gentle.
"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." Galatians 6:1
I am amazed how many of my Christian friends/family are able to confront someone of their wrongdoing without putting that person on the defensive - it's gentleness. Confrontation with gentleness can be the difference between repentance and continued sin.
We need to be prepared to respond to everyone with gentleness - strangers, family members, friends and enemies. I love the last part of the verse above - "with our good behavior and clear conscience" - others will be ashamed when they mock us or gossip about us. We need to strive to respond to anyone in a reserved and polite manner. To be able to stay calm (without yelling) and respectfully put offenders in their place.
Our gentleness comes from within - from the Holy Spirit - let's make sure that we draw from that on a daily basis so that Jesus' love will shine through our actions and our words.
Let's strive to work on being gentle in every area of our lives. What will you do with your box of Gentleness this week?
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