Reflections of Grace 31: Walking in the Spirit – Gentleness

  • In the Greek a detailed description of the word gentleness means meekness, mildness, forbearance.    This is not an 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.  This kind of meekness does not blame God for the persecutions and evil doings of men.  It is not the result of weakness, but the activity of the blessedness that exists in ones heart from being actively angry at evil.
  • The word “meek” is no longer a commonly used word; modern Bible translations frequently substitute the almost-synonymous word “gentle.”
  • However, be aware that gentleness refers mostly to actions, whereas meekness refers to attitude— one’s whole state of mind as well as actions. Meekness produces gentleness. This explains why meekness is one of the beatitudes—beautiful attitudes when God promises blessings (Matthew 5:5).
  • Meekness is not weakness!
  • Many people confuse “meek” with “weak.” Godly meekness requires strength!
  • But true strength is shown by a secure individual who stays cool, thinks first and then responds in the way that will best help the other person and they will move in power, and strength. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
  • Consider God! He is all-powerful, but He never misuses His power. He is the perfect Lover who never overreacts, is gentle with His often-unruly children and always does what is best for us.
  • Consider also the example Jesus while on earth. Although He could call on divine power, He was approachable, sympathetic, kind and loving. He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly [humble] in heart” (Matthew 11:29). He used His power for healing rather than hurting. Remember His words: “Learn from Me.”
  • The greatest power on earth is the power of the Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit—God’s Spirit—that enables people to be far more meek and gentle than they could ever be without it.  Paul knew that the Christians in Galatia were showing hostile attitudes and personal conflicts.
  • He wrote that some were “biting and devouring each other” (Galatians 5:15). He urged them to “through love serve one another” (verse 13), reminding them, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (verse 14).
  • What the Galatians needed was to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). And what did he say is the result of following the lead of God’s Holy Spirit? Gentleness!
  • Paul went on to write of how that Spirit would transform our lives: “But the fruit [product, effect] of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (verses 22-23).
  • What a great solution! God doesn’t leave us on our own to work up these virtues. You can’t work them up so don’t even try… love in His Spirit and it will be a natural occurrence.  By putting our faith in God, we can “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). And that gift includes wonderful fruit!
  • Then, to continue bearing spiritual fruit, think of yourself as a branch. The key is to stay attached to the trunk of the true vine, Jesus Christ (John 15:1).
  • It’s easy to see how the attributes among the fruit of the Spirit overlap and relate to each other. Meekness and gentleness relate very closely to love, longsuffering (being patient and not short-tempered), kindness and self-control.
  • It’s also easy to see how desperately we human beings need God’s Spirit to overcome the “works of the flesh”—the ugly and evil tendencies of human nature (Galatians 5:19-21). We surely need meekness and gentleness in place of “hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions”!
  • Later we see how important gentleness is when it comes to helping someone caught up in destruction. Paul said, “You who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Paul not only meant we should show gentle words and actions, but also a humble attitude rather than a superior and self-righteous approach.
  • To fight or not to fight?
  • Should a Christian be a fighter? A spiritual fighter, yes. Right after Paul wrote to Timothy to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness,” he went on to say, “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:11-12). This kind of fight is not against people but against evil influences, especially those of Satan and the demons (Ephesians 6:11-12). We are to use Spiritual weapons, not physical weapons (2 Corinthians 10:4).  We confuse the natural with the supernatural.
  • Successful spiritual warfare requires great courage and endurance.  Paul wrote, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
  • But in our relationships with people, we are not to be combative or argumentative—we are to be peacemakers.
  • Paul also wrote: “Love one another with brotherly affection . . . Live in harmony with one another . . . Repay no one evil for evil . . . If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all'” (Romans 12:10, 16-18),
    Paul also wrote that we should “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Colossians 3:12-13)
  • To everyone, Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
  • Two scriptures use another Greek word that specifically means “gentle.” One says that “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient” (2 Timothy 2:24).
  • The world sorely needs this kind of tenderness…it is what makes believers stand out and make the world hungry for what we have!
  • Trusting him and allowing His spirit to grow us up in the fruit of His gentleness allows us to enter His rest.  And rest is a place of peace where we are able to enjoy life while we are waiting for Him to solve our problems.  He cares for us… He will solve our problems and meet our needs, but we have to stop thinking and worrying about them.  I realize this is easier said than done, but there is no time like the present to begin learning a new way to live.  A way of living that is without worry anxiety and fear.  We need to begin thinking and saying, I trust god completely… in everything we do!!

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