“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
“The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin.” Puritan John Owen
Mortification, if you have not already surmised, is not only the elimination of sin in the believer’s life but also the fostering of Christ-like qualities. Today, we examine the fruit of gentleness.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6
Here are but three Scripture references which address the subject of gentleness. They specifically, and respectively, speak of the believer’s attitude, speech and behavior. Gentleness is not only appropriate toward fellow believers in Christ, but also toward unbelievers.
Gentleness (πραΰτης; prautes) is defined as meekness and mildness. It is not being harsh with other people, not only in our attitude but also in our actions.
Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Gentleness (prautēs) marks a person who is submissive to God’s Word (cf. James 1:21) and who is considerate of others when discipline is needed (cf. “gently” in Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:25; “gentle” in 1 Cor. 4:21; Eph. 4:2; “gentleness” in Col. 3:12; 1 Peter 3:16).”
I certainly learned to be gentle in spirit and behavior in raising a daughter who possesses a sensitive personality which can be easily hurt. I learned that a soft voice and a pleasant face goes a long way to foster gentleness, even when discipline was required by a father towards a daughter. It is also no coincidence that my daughter’s husband constantly displays a gentle spirit.
The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthian Church, asked, “What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness” (I Corinthians 4:21)? He knew the church was in need of spiritual correction in a number of areas. However, he also understood that such discipline and correction was to be done in a spirit of gentleness.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “When we speak of a gentle person we are not speaking of someone who is reticent or fearful. Rather, the biblical view of gentleness presupposes strength. No one who has ever walked the earth has had absolute power except our Lord Jesus who is the very God of the universe. However, Jesus did not exercise His strength in an abrasive manner or use it to bully others. Rather, He tempered His strength with gentleness. He stood for truth when it was appropriate, but He also gave grace to sinners like the woman at the well when they were repentant (John 4:1–45). Such should not surprise us, for it is in God’s nature to be merciful with those whom He calls to Himself.”
Resolve today, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to display a spirit of gentleness to those with whom you come into contact and conversation. May your gentle spirit be evidenced by all.
May the LORD’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!