Previously, I have been discussing the nine fruits of the Spirit. Recently I discussed both joy and kindness. Today I would like to take a closer look at the Fruit of Gentleness. Gentleness is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.”. I found a great list of synonyms for the word gentleness in The Collins Dictionary, which are tenderness, compassion, kindness, consideration, sympathy, and softness. The word gentleness can also be translated into the term meekness. Meekness is defined as, a kind, gentle, and humble spirit.
So how do we apply gentleness in our lives so that we may walk in the Spirit? First off we must apply all nine fruits of the Spirit together, we cannot pick certain ones we like. A good example of gentleness is when we are courteous to others. This could apply to both people we know and people we simply pass by during our busy day. You might have a co-worker or family member who did you wrong, whether they apologize or not you should first forgive them, and also you must not seek revenge. Seeking revenge would conflict with gentleness and the other eight fruits of the Spirit. Titus 3:2 says, “To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”.
Another aspect of gentleness comes when we witness to non-believers. At some point in your walk with Christ, you will come across a family member, friend, or co-worker who is a non-believer and you might have the perfect opportunity to share the Gospel with them. The outcome can be unpredictable, they might accept it, totally reject it, or the might be on the fence. Mark 16:15 says, “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”. When sharing the Gospel with anyone we must be gentle about it and respectful, this is written in 1 Peter 3:15 which says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”. We will have witnessed to people who totally reject the message of the Gospel, we must remember 1 Peter 3:15 to be both gentle and respectful. Just remember when you cannot get the message of salvation through to a particular person, pray that they will come to salvation. Romans 10:1 says, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”.
At the beginning of this article, I listed some of the synonyms for the word gentleness, one of them was softness. Proverbs 15:1 tells us, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”. I think this is a verse that every one of us needs to hear, and seek God to help us with daily. With our busy and hectic lives we can become quick to anger, I myself can be guilty of this. Whether you feel under the weather or received an unexpected bill in the mail, or your car won’t start, turn to the Lord first before turning to anger. If you forget and turn to anger, seek God to help you with being gentle. Romans 8:26 tells us, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”.
I challenge you to find parts in each day of your life to find an area where you can apply gentleness. If this is something you are struggling with seek the Lord. We must apply gentleness in our character along with the other eight fruits of the Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are a package deal, you can’t have one of them without the others. Galatians 5:16-17 which says, “ But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”.
- Ray, Rayburn W. “Barbour’s Bible Dictionary & Concordance.” Barbour’s Bible Dictionary & Concordance, by George W. Knight, Barbour Books, 1998, pp. 206–206.