But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)
The Greek word for “gentleness” is also translated in other New Testament verses as “meekness” and “humility.” Often, we consider gentle, meek, and humble as being weak.
Nobody wants to be looked upon as inadequate!
However, Jesus says, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5, NASB1995).
If “gentleness” can inherit or find victory over the world – it can’t be a virtue of inadequacy or weakness. If we become gentle as we follow Jesus, we will conquer the world.
“Gentleness” in the Greek was used to describe a well-trained horse. Controlled power is being gentle. When Peter used his sword, trying to stop those seeking to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to him . . .
Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to Peter, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:52-53, ESV)
That’s gentleness — having the power of twelve legions but walking in submission to God.
Without gentleness, we lose our temper, become bullies, and act rashly. We might look tough on the outside, but we don’t have self-control.
A gentle person stands as a youth against Goliath, smiles in a lion’s den, commands the sick to be healed, and has the face of God while being stoned by adversaries (think of David, Daniel, Jesus, and Stephen).
I want to be gentle. We all do.
Years back, I recognized I was becoming frustrated, talking too much, and getting angry at the inadequacies of others. I began praying that God’s Spirit would allow me to become gentle.
My first “gentle” step was memorizing four verses, including Matthew 5:5 and Galatians 5:22-23 already mentioned and . . .
Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness (Ephesians 4:1-2, NASB1995).
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near (Philippians 4:5, ESV).
Scripture memorization of specific verses regarding areas of needed spiritual growth is essential for becoming more like Jesus! Most mornings, I review the verses listed above.
In my gentleness growth, the Lord “favors” me with lots of opportunities to practice this fruit of the Spirit, and often, I’m not grateful for the lesson! But I find myself resting, relaxing, and releasing frustration when I do manage times of being gentle.
I’m learning that I don’t have to fix everything or have a great retort for all questions, and I find peace knowing God’s in charge. The key to learning gentleness is following the example of Jesus — though He had power, He also knew God’s will.
I’m not saying we acquiesce to all attacks, but when we seek first His Kingdom and become gentle, then the righteousness of Jesus will prevail.
Through the Spirit, we will be gentle while having the controlled power of God within.
And let’s remember – the time is coming soon when Jesus will return with those twelve legions of angels.