The Fruit of the Spirit #7 – Gentleness

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16-25)

This word has the basic sense of “excellent,” or “useful.” Nuances include “orderly,” “healthy” (of food), “propitious” (offerings), “serious” (a wound or bite), “good” (experiences). It means moral goodness or integrity. It signifies not merely goodness as a quality, rather it is goodness in action, goodness expressing itself in deeds. It’s a kindly activity on their behalf. The word also has the idea of being teachable, not having a superior attitude, not demanding one’s rights.

We have a gentle God, who says “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29), who “like a shepherd will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes” (Isaiah 40:11), and who “also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great” (Psalm 18:35).

We should “as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12), for “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13). “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men” (Philippians 4:5a)