Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Co10:1; Ph 4:5 ; Various
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT - Faithfulness
Good evening and welcome to our nightly Bible devotional.
As we continue to talk about the spiritual fruit found in Galatians 5:22-23 we must remember that it is more like the slices of an orange than a bowl full of different kinds of fruit. They are all one fruit that is produced in our lives as we walk in step with the Holy Spirit. An orange does not produce just one or two slices. It produces enough slices to make the fruit well-rounded out and beautiful. That is what God wants us to be, well-rounded and beautiful in spirit.
By now you should know these 9 slices by heart? Are you ready to says them with me. The slices are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the aspects or slices that we are supposed to produce. Each of these slices builds on the one previously so we must produce all the aspects of the fruit of the spirit.
We talked about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. Tonight we are tackling the slice of the spiritual fruit of gentleness. It may be one of the final items on the list, but gentleness isn’t an afterthought. In fact, it’s probably the most important of the spiritual fruit. We’ll get to the reason I say that in a moment.
Gentleness is defined in the dictionary as “the quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered.” The Greek word used in Galatians 5:23 for gentleness is πρᾳΰτης -prautés (prah-oo’-tace). It is very similar to the word used for meekness. The prefix of pra- emphasizes it’s divine origin. It is a "gentle strength” which expresses power with reserve and gentleness.
This is another of God’s traits. God is all powerful. He could unleash that power at any time taking out all of creation if he chooses to do so. But God chooses this gentle strength to deal with us. It’s one of those “aha moments” when you read a verse like John 3:36 which states, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” God will one day unleash his whole wrath on an unrepentant world. But for now he expresses his power with reserved gentleness towards sinners.
We are supposed to display this gentleness towards others as God has showed it to us. It means we are to act humbly and submissively in thankfulness to God for his gentle way with us. It also means we are to deal with others in a polite, restrained, and compassionate manner.
Gentleness is contrary to our human nature. We often act out of selfishness, desire, and greed. When someone does us wrong we have a desire for revenge. When someone asserts their dominance we assert our self-importance and fight for the possession of alpha dog. When someone does something we don’t like we express our anger and outrage. When someone shouts we shout louder. The flesh wants to be loud and self-centered but the spirit desires us to be humble and still even in stressful and frustrating circumstances.
I must admit that I sometimes have difficulty producing the fruit of gentleness. Especially when it comes to dealing with family. I have a tendency to gruff around like an old grumpy bear and raise my voice when someone challenges me. But I’m working on it and you can too.
Gentleness is a product of the Spirit working in our lives and is produced when a softened heart abides in Jesus. It comes out of the faithfulness that we talked about last night. When we are faithful to Jesus and the Word of God gentleness begins to happen.
As I am working on the spiritual fruit of gentleness I have to be intentional. This means I have to humble myself and go out of my way to use kind words. I have to purposely look for ways to be compassionate. I have to put myself in their shoes and try to feel what they are feeling. This is especially true when they are feeling vulnerable or are facing struggle or difficulty.
We express gentleness when we exhibit less judgment and more compassion. Gentleness is the slice of Spiritual fruit that demands most from us. It means adopting a position where we effectively place ourselves third on the list – putting God and other people before ourselves. Gentleness is probably the most important aspect as it takes real humility and submission. We must submit to God and take on the his traits. And that is hard… it means when we blow our cool we have to go back and make apologies.
Jesus himself connects gentleness to humility in Matthew 11:29, when He says: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Gentleness can also be translated as meekness, which should definitely not be confused for weakness.
Paul tells the Church in Corinth, “I myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ – I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent.” (2 Corinthians 10:1) He instructs us in the kind of attitude we must adopt when we interact with others – an attitude that is in tune with the Spirit and present in the teachings of Jesus and His disciples. We must be gentle.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your gentleness as you have dealt with me in my life. I don’t know why I struggle so much with gentleness but I ask you help in making me into the person you desire me to be. Help me to produce the spiritual fruit of Gentleness. It is in Jesus’ name that I pray. AMEN!
Let’s go produce some fruit. Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” So go and produce the spiritual slice of gentleness today. I hope you will join us tomorrow night at 6pm. God bless you and have a great night.
NOTE: LOL folks, I picked the boarder because I thought it went with the theme of gentleness. I did not see the skulls in the flowers until several of you pointed it out to me online! My apologies. That will teach me to be more careful. I guess you could say the topic of gentleness is "gravely" serious. Sorry about the "Dad" humor.