In today’s post, I’ll be talking about the fruit of gentleness as found in Galatians 5:23. Many people associate gentleness with weakness. In actuality, just the opposite is true. According to Scripture, it’s impossible to be gentle if you’re weak. You must be walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I don’t think anyone would accuse Jesus of being weak. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Yet this is what it says about Him as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey…
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'”
The question is; was that the best the Lord could come up with to ride into Jerusalem? If it was…if all He could come up with was a donkey, then He was pretty weak. The fact is that Jesus had the power to break through the heavens, coming down from the clouds on a white stallion.
Even though the Lord has great power, He chose not to use it on that occasion. This is the true spirit of gentleness. Look at how it operated in the Apostle Paul’s life.
There were some people in the Corinthian church who were opposing Paul’s authority. He gave them an interesting choice in his letter to them.
What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
1 Corinthians 4:21
There would be no reason for Paul to threaten them with the “whip” of apostolic authority if he didn’t have any. The truth is that the apostle had the authority needed to put them in their place. Yet, his desire was to not have to use it.
So if we were to define gentleness according to its use in Scripture, I’d say that it’s placing my power, under God’s control.
This is the hardest thing to do sometimes. That’s especially true when I know that I’m in the right. I want to bring the full weight of my scriptural authority down on their heads. Unfortunately, that’s usually not the best idea. I need to be led by the Holy Spirit in my responses to people.
This is why I must spend time in the spirit. I need to be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in all the situations I’m going through. This is true for all church leaders.
Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:25-26
That’s because the goal is not to prove that I’m right or that you’re wrong. The ultimate objective is a life that is turned around for God’s glory. Many times, by our arrogance, we win the battle, yet lose the war for the hearts of people.
We may have proved our case, but they were never set free from the devil’s bondage. True gentleness allows for the working of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives. So we need to listen and obey His voice, even when our tendency is to defend ourselves.
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
This teaching is found throughout the Scriptures. Gentleness brings restoration. When you cultivate the spirit of gentleness, you’re participating in drawing someone back to Christ. Spend time with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to produce this fruit in you.
Question: What was a recent time that you saw God’s gentleness operating through you?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017