The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
What fruit are you focusing on this fruit this week?
Gentleness. Let your gentleness be known to all men. Phil 4:5
How does the Bible define this fruit?
Gentleness or meekness is the disposition to be gentle, kind, indulgent, even-balanced in tempers and passions, and patient in suffering injuries without feeling a spirit of revenge. It means to be meek or humble demonstrated in a submissive attitude.
In A Woman’s Walk with God, Elizabeth George explains, “…the Old Testament Word for gentle is anah, which describes the condition of a grain of wheat that is mature and so full of the fruit of the grain that the tender stalk cannot stand under the weight and is bowed down, full of fruit. This is the posture we should strive for.”
How does God reveal this fruit to us?
God is so full of grace and mercy. He is powerful and yet gentle.
Recently one of my adult daughters said something that hurt me very deeply. I didn’t tell her how much it hurt. Later when I was alone I cried and turned to my Bible for comfort. I prayed and let it go. The next day she came up to me with tears in her eyes and said, “I’m sorry mom, I didn’t mean that. I love you so much.” Immediately, as I reached out to hug her, I felt an flood of love toward her as the forgiveness poured out of me. At that moment I thought this is how wonderful God feels when we ask forgiveness. God shows us His gentleness each time He forgives us, cares for us, leads us.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
What is the evidence of this fruit in one’s life?
Gentleness comes from having a humble opinion of one’s self, coupled with the inner strength to control one’s emotions, tongue, and behavior.
Share an example of the presence of this fruit in someone’s life.
My grandmother was a gentle woman. When she passed everyone said they never heard her say an unkind word about anyone. She wasn’t a wimp–she was strong, yet gentle.
How does fruit or lack of it in our life affect others? (spouse, children, friends)
What a huge difference a kind, gentle word makes. One of the biggest regrets I have is knowing I have spoken unkind and insensitive words to my children. When we walk in the flesh we are not gentle and it can be painful to those we love and leave scars.
What can you do to express more of this fruit in your character?
I have had a paradigm shift in my thinking. It is not our responsibility to produce fruit. The Holy Spirit is the producer. We are only the bearer. The fruit of the Spirit is not proof of our dedication. Fruit is the evidence of our dependency on the Holy Spirit.
Fruit should not be our focus. Our focus should be on seeking the kingdom (that’s another study); seeking God’s will. The more we seek God, the more fruit we will bear. When we purpose to walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh (moment by moment) the result of that decision will be the fruit of the Spirit (even during trials).
John Piper said:
The danger is that instead of seeking transformation from God in our hearts to rid ourselves of our depravity, we may take the list of virtues and find a way to use them to express our depravity. For example, if our problem is that at root we are very proud and self-sufficient people, and a moral authority like Paul tells us that kindness and faithfulness are virtues, we may very well train ourselves to do kind things and to keep our promises so that we can be proud of ourselves and feel morally self-sufficient before God and man. Then the list of virtues would not have helped us overcome our depravity at all. In fact, it would have deepened our sin, because now we prostitute the very Word of God and use it to satisfy our depraved desires.
Through prayer I will ask for God to teach me to be gentle and remind me to speak with a kind, loving voice. I will purpose to let go of bad attitudes or habits as in Ephesians 4:22-24. I will try to temper my speech to my husband and children. I will do these things, not to become gentle, but to be obedient because I want grow closer to God because I love Him and want to please Him. It is when I turn away from self-reliance and look to mercy in Christ that God will allow His fruit to be produced in me.