Gentleness is a word that conjures up many different images in our minds. It’s a word used to describe anything from a light breeze… to baby soap. When we speak of gentleness people tend to like the idea, but have a hard time actually putting gentleness into practice.
We seem to be bombarded with ideas that contradict God’s good fruit of gentleness. Unfortunately it seems that being strong and passionate today actually goes against this God-given fruit. Our culture does not regard gentleness as something for which we should strive. It is certainly not described as a characteristic of strength. The culture masquerades anger and aggression as powerful and strong, not gentleness.
When we take a moment to look at God’s Word, we quickly see how gentleness in fact accompanies strength and passion, and works with those attributes beautifully as the Spirit guides us. Think about a time when you have used gentle words to speak. What was the outcome?
In the Bible, James describes two kinds of wisdom; godly wisdom and earthy wisdom. He clearly describes godly wisdom as humble and gentle. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
If you have discovered gentleness is a godly strength of yours, be encouraged. This is truly is a gift from God. He has imparted to you a pure and peaceful characteristic of Himself. Jesus is described as being gentle and humble along with powerful and having authority. He spoke about the blessing of a gentle spirit. “Blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
The Bible says that the Holy Spirit works in us to be more like Christ (see Romans 8:29). Gentleness is a product of the Spirit’s work. His work chips off those rough edges and makes us more in His image. God says that it is not our work, but that we are gifted with the spirit of gentleness to bring us closer to Him and show others His loving character.
“If anyone is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1). How can we possibly begin to do this without God’s Spirit? God never meant for us to be able to exhibit gentleness apart from Him. He wants to bestow upon you His character and blessing.
Let us examine for a moment what gentleness IS NOT. Gentleness does not mean weak or powerless. Rather, it involves humility and thankfulness toward God, and courteous, calm and controlled behavior towards others. If you have ever held back from saying unkind and hurtful words to someone who has hurt you, you know how much power and self-control that takes! This is biblical gentleness, and it has power. Power to change hearts, power to turn hurts into healing, and power to turn away wrath.
Seek God today and ask Him to explore your heart. Ask Him if gentleness is a weakness or strength of yours. If it is a weakness, ask God to guide your thoughts and actions to align with His, giving you gentleness in speech and action. Ask Him to reveal the power of gentleness and trust He will bring about righteous fruit.
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