But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Gal 5:22-23 NKJV
A brief description of the above, according to Beth Moore, is the following:
- Love never fails.
- Joy cometh.
- Peace rules.
- Patience waits.
- Kindness tenders.
- Goodness does.
- Faith fights.
- Gentleness bows.
This week was deep. I wonder if anyone else I know, upon examination of this verse on the fruit of the Spirit, has ever taken the time to get to the root of gentleness the way we saw in this study. I sheepishly admit that I've never taken the time to dig deep into the meaning of the word, always just glossing over "gentleness" because I already thought I knew its meaning. Not so. My only hope is that Beth Moore uses a different dictionary than I. :) But then, I did admit that I've glossed in my study. Oh well. Today is a new day.
meekness, mildness, forbearance. Primarily it does not denote outward expression of feeling, but an inward grace of the soul, calmness toward God in particular. It is the acceptance of God's dealings with us considering them as good in that they enhance the closeness of our relationship with Him. However, praotes (the Greek for gentleness) encompasses expressing wrath toward the sin of man as demonstrated by the Lord Jesus....This meekness does not blame God for the persecutions and evil doings of men. It is not the result of weakness...but the actiivity of the blessedness that exists in one's heart from being actively angry at evil...That virtue that stands between two extremes, uncontrollable and unjustified anger, and not becoming angry at all no matter what takes place around you.
What a definition, huh? You might want to reread this one. The bold represents my emphasis of what really spoke to me. I'm still digesting it.
Gentleness is an inward grace of the soul ---- not being mad at God for the situations He has placed us in. So gentleness really is more than not killing bugs! :) Just kidding. Gentleness takes submission, humility and a teachable spirit. Is anyone else feeling a little bruised from this study this week? I'll break down my thoughts on these items:
Submission - the foundation of gentleness. After all, how can we accept God's dealings with us peacefully if we aren't submitting to His sovereign will for our lives. I heard Jill Briscoe speak one time about "unpacking". She said that if we are ever in a difficult situation beyond our control that we needed to accept it, "unpack our bags" and just live there because we were in God's will. "Unpacking" is like giving up control to God.
Humility - the Greek word for humility "encompasses the idea of arriving at a correct estimate of ourselves...Humility is the correct estimation of ourselves which results from a correct estimation of our God." Again, once we remember that God's ways are higher than ours, we will stop throwing our little temper tantrums and just submit with gentleness.
Teachability - How can we be teachable if we are too busy fighting God to get our own way? I guess that is how teachability ties into gentleness. We must have a willingness to learn from where we are, realizing that God has placed us in our specific circumstances for a reason. "To miss God's Word in our circumstances is to miss God. To miss God is to miss the point."
In summary, I'll quote Beth again from day 5:
God commands that our teaching comes from "an inward grace of the soul" that He refers to as "gentleness"...teaching with humility...with an attitude of submission...with an awareness of our own sins and a forgetfulness toward the sins of the flock...leaving condemnation to God and conviction to the Holy Spirit, God's teacher is the vessel while God's Word packs the punch. Does gentleness mean weakness?
Lord, give me a teachable, submissive, humble Spirit....a gentle spirit, with that inward grace of the soul. I do want that, even though the learning is hard sometimes. Help me to never question You or Your plans for me, knowing in my heart that You are truly good, all the time. Amen.