Summary: Looking at the Fruit of the Spirit of Gentleness

Believe 29 ~ Gentleness

June 7, 2015

Fragile: Handle with Care – How often have these words been put on a shipment to protect the package. When we moved here, the movers told us if our dishes broke they were not responsible because they didn’t pack them. Have you ever packed something, shipped something and put on that great FRAGILE: HANDLE WITH CARE label?

Even when we carelessly put together a package, we still expect it to arrive unbroken. We not only do that with packages, but we also do that with many aspects of life. We usually don’t handle life with care.

We can say things which are very upsetting. In fact, do you know any people who are very draining? They’re the kind who say things that set you on edge and you’re convinced they enjoy doing it? They say things as if they are looking for a fight. They come into your home and ask, "Where did you find that wallpaper?" And it’s obvious they’re not asking because they like it.

Do you have a bunch of Ralph Kramden’s in your life. People who are loud and obnoxious and usually wrong, but like to be right. People who easily blow up?

They come right out and ask, "Ooh, how much weight have you gained?" Or they tell us we look really tired today. They tell us our outfit doesn’t really go. Or they question everything, even when there’s nothing to question.

They’re all around us! Our temperament, our personality, our reactions in dealing with these people, in dealing with issues when life has become really fragile often times is an indicator of how we are doing on today’s topic.

We are on week 29, one more week to go in our Believe series. And today we are looking at the fruit of the Spirit called GENTLENESS!!

In Galatians 5, Paul told us 22 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

As we are moving towards being more like Jesus, I hope you understand this is not about“trying harder.” It’s not about trying to be more patient, trying to be more gentle, trying to be more loving. Not that this is all bad, but this means you’re doing this on your own power.

I’m hoping you will allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in you, changing and making you into the kind of person God wants you to be. And when that happens, the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in your life.

So, as we look at gentleness, let’s first look at what it means. Because, like most words we’ve looked at – there’s more to gentleness.

There are 2 words for gentleness. In our key verse, Paul instructed the Philippians to be gentle. The word for “gentleness” in this passage is a word used to express a balanced, intelligent, decent outlook on life. It is also being "gentle" in the sense of being fair by relaxing overly strict standards in order to keep the "spirit of the law." We know people who if it suits their purposes will use the law to get what they want, when everyone else knows the “spirit of the law” is what’s best.

In this sense the gentle person would know what the real intent of the law is, and would follow that. It’s the person who builds on the real intent of what’s at stake in the decisions being made. So, that person seeks to fulfill the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law.

That’s a bit different view of gentleness. It’s one we might like to aspire to. It’s great when people can look at us and say we always seek to make fair and equitable decisions in all situations. That’s the first word for gentleness.

In the many other passages, such as in the Fruit of the Spirit — the word gentleness can also mean meekness or gentle strength. We have been trained to think that meekness is the same as weakness, but that is not even close to correct.

Meekness is strength under control. It’s someone who is tremendously strong, but holds that strength in reserve and uses it only when needed. Picture a person who is really angry about something and has the ability and maybe even the justification to demonstrate their anger, but they choose not to let it explode. Instead, they practice gentleness. And handle the situation differently.

Most words in Greek were word pictures. So, when you heard the word, there was also a picture in mind. This word brought up 2 word pictures . . .

One is a tamed animal. Think about a strong horse that weighs about 1000 pounds. It has great strength, and yet, once it’s tamed, great things can happen. It can pull a plow through a field and help bring about a harvest. A saddle can be put on it and a child can ride it. “Gentleness” is strength under control.

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