“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Gentleness
I don’t know about you, but gentleness is not one of the first things I think of when I consider God’s character.
But it was gentleness that caused children to love coming to Jesus
It was gentleness that made “sinners” feel comfortable in His presence
And it is gentleness that allows the Church to be a refuge for the hurting and those far from God.
Gentleness is such a cornerstone of Jesus’ character that Paul wrote…
“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” – Philippians 4:5
And, our gentleness is seen most clearly in the most difficult of interpersonal circumstances.
Gentleness towards opposition
In life, we face opposition towards our beliefs and life choices every day, and Christians are no exception. Most people oppose what God says about our lives and how to live and so a Christian will meet opposition to the truth of God on a daily basis.
But we are told to be gentle towards opposition.
A classic verse you may have heard before reads:
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1
Being gentle in opposition has a calming effect that can even help resolve the matter more effectively and quickly.
But we are not told to be gentle purely to help win arguments, God desires us to win souls, which is is why Paul wrote to Timothy and said:
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” – 2 Timothy 2:24–25
Have you considered that your gentleness may be the reason someone turns to Jesus years down the road?
I have personally experienced this and it is mind-blowing.
I went through a period of intellectual evangelism where I learned all the right answers and had all the right verses, but I didn’t see people consider them as much as I expected.
During that same time, I had a few experiences in particular where I feel like I had poor answers and incomplete thoughts, but I know they deeply understood my care towards them. And, years later, they approached me and told me what a profound impact our conversations had and how they felt my compassion and care… my gentleness… and that is what “won” them over.
Not logic or verses,
But someone, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, embodying Jesus’ truth and gentleness, has a powerful gospel impact.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t study and learn and know the right things to say.
But it is far more important to bring God’s gentleness, God’s love, God’s kindness and the other fruits of the Spirit to those around us, so that they may see a glimpse of God’s fullness and seek Him to experience even more.
Rest for the soul
As I mentioned earlier, Jesus embodied gentleness so that children and sinners alike felt completely at home with Him.
He called them out of their sin and to a life surrendered to God,
But He did so in a way that left people knowing how much He cared.
Jesus even said of Himself:
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29
“Rest for your souls.” I think that’s a great way to describe a gentle spirit.
Someone who refreshes and brings rest to those around them.
And, just as Jesus has done that for us, He has called us to bring His gentleness to others. And, this isn’t an afterthought. Just as we have been called to make disciples and share the Gospel, we have been called to gentleness, as Paul reminds us in Ephesians to…
“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness…”
May we walk in the high calling.
May we be refreshing and life-giving to those around us
May we be like Jesus
May we be gentle.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” – Ephesians 4:1–2
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” – 1 Timothy 6:11
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” – Galatians 6:1