Fruit of the Spirit.... Gentleness

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench.” (Isa 42:3)
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” (Isa 40:11)

As with all of the fruit of the Spirit, gentleness is a concept that has been twisted and polluted by the world. The world tries to twist the concept, because it is a fruit of the Spirit. Despite this, however, gentleness is a constant concept because is comes from the one who is himself unchanging. He is the one talked about in our first two verses, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are exhorted in Galations 5:23 to walk in gentleness; but what does that mean? Gentleness is seen as a very feminine attitude in general so does that mean that men cannot really be gentle? The best example of any of the fruit of the Spirit, including gentleness, is found in Jesus who was the only man in whom “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell bodily”. We going to make two brief observations about gentleness from the life of Christ.

1. Christ’s gentleness did not exclude an utter hatred against sin and rather increased it.
We know that Christ knew the utter abomination of sin. Jesus was the man who threw out the traders from God’s house of prayer after having made a whip! Jesus was also the man who called the top religious leaders of his day a “brood of vipers” and “hypocrites” because of their sin. Jesus was angry with the religious leaders of his day because they loaded on his people burdens that none of them were able to carry and because they were blind guides leading the Israelites astray. He was angry with the leaders because he was gentle to his people who he knew were being led astray. His first words in Mark are “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” showing that he knew they had sin they had to repent of.

How much is this hatred against sin manifest in our own lives. Do you detest sin to this degree in your own life? Are you angry to the point of action when you see that there are those who are being led astray or being abused by those who are wicked? Are you gentle with Christ’s gentleness?

2. Christ’s gentleness was an others-focused-gentleness. Christ’s ultimate act of love was also his ultimate act of gentleness and pity. He died on the cross and bore the whole of the curse ,that we deserved for our sin, upon himself! And yet he only did this because he had mercy upon us who were lost in our sins. When he saw the crowds who were lost and without a shepherd he wept for them. Christ is the ultimate example of humility and loving gentleness. This can also be seen both in the way he dialogues with the woman at the well and in the way in which he weeps over Jerusalem because of their hardness of heart.

How often do we demonstrate this kind of gentleness that is others-focused? After a church worship service do you look round and try to find that person who you don’t know very well and try to do them good rather than looking for your own friends so that you feel comfortable. When it comes down to it who do you live for? If you live for Christ and thus others it will be pretty evident from the loving and gentle way you deal with people.

Let it be your determination this week to seek, by the grace of God, to follow in Christ’s footsteps. Look for those who you overlook regularly but actually need time and care from you and show them a reflection of Christ’s gentleness. Have a gentleness about you, this week, so that those who receive from you and who see you have no other option but to give thanks to God!

By Thomas van den Broek

1 comment:

  1. Gentleness is something we neglect so much! We constantly go on about being "fired up" about our convictions, but not practising the virtues of gentleness. Certainly gives me food for thought...


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