The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

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)

Gentleness is an attribute that we see in God. When we speak of the gentleness of God, it refers to the compassionate way in which He deals with wayward souls (Isaiah 54:8) and those who are frail and weak (Isaiah 40:11). God is the supreme example of gentleness. Just as the Father is gentle, so is His Son, Jesus (Matthew 11:29). The apostle Paul recognized the meekness and gentleness of Jesus, and in defending his ministry to the church in Corinth, Paul appealed to them by Christ’s meekness and gentleness (2 Corinthians 10:1).

Gentleness is the eighth fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. As believers, if we are to be like Christ, we must clothe ourselves with gentleness (Colossians 3:12). So, how does gentleness show itself in the life of a believer? How do we clothe ourselves with gentleness? It starts by the way in which we deal with each other. In Ephesians 4:2, Paul tells us that we should be “completely humble and gentle” as we bear with each other in love. But it doesn’t stop there. The gentleness that we show to friends, to family, to fellow believers, is the same gentleness that we must show to enemies, or to those who oppose our faith (2 Timothy 2:25).

As we defend our faith to those who don’t believe, gentleness becomes even more important. The apostle Peter stressed the importance of honoring Christ by defending our faith, by always being prepared to have an answer for those who challenge it. But our defense, the answer that we give to explain the hope that we have in Christ, must always be seasoned with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). Gentleness is a sign of the way in which the wisdom that we receive from God is at work in our lives (James 3:13).

Finally, gentleness is the quality that we must use when dealing with a fellow believer who has been caught in some transgression. None of us is above temptation, and we must always guard our own hearts. But when a brother or sister in Christ has given in to temptation, we should be ready to bring him or her to restoration. And how should we do this? With gentleness (Galatians 6:1). With the love and compassion that Christ shows us.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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