Summary: Communion reflection from the Fruit of the Spirit on the character of Christ … specifically, gentleness.
A FRUIT-FULL MARRIAGE: GENTLE LOVE *
Sermon Objective: Communion reflection from the Fruit of the Spirit on the character of Christ … specifically, gentleness.
As we prepare for communion we want to pause and shift our morning’s emphasis on the Fruit of the Spirit away from marriage and towards Christ. As I mentioned to you last week, the Fruit illustrate the character of Christ that the Holy Spirit is imparting to His followers. These are not simply human virtues. They contrast with the works of the flesh; they are spiritual virtues with spiritual implications. When we look and love, joy, faithfulness, gentleness, etc … we are seeing the character of Jesus and the Father and when those virtues are birthed within us and they affect our relationships … others see Jesus in us.
In Lee Strobel’s book, “God’s Outrageous Claims” (1997) he records the following. It is called “Maggie’s Poem.”
Do you understand that you represent Jesus to me?
Do you know, do you understand that when you treat me with gentleness, it raises the question in my mind that maybe He is gentle, too. Maybe He isn’t someone who laughs when I am hurt.
Do you know, do you understand that when you listen to my questions and you don’t laugh, I think, "What if Jesus is interested in me, too?"
Do you know, do you understand that when I hear you talk about arguments and conflict and scars from your past, I think, "Maybe I am just a regular person instead of a bad, no-good little girl who deserves abuse."
If you care, I think maybe He cares- and then there’s this flame of hope that burns inside of me and for a while I am afraid to breathe because it might go out.
Do you know, do you understand that your words are His words? Your face, His face to someone like me?
Please, be who you say you are. Please, God, don’t let this be another trick. Please let this be real. Please.
Do you know, do you understand that you represent Jesus to me?
Sadly, too many people make gentleness a feminine quality rather than a human quality. They simply cannot think of a male as manly when they think of gentleness. But no one was ever more human or more male than Jesus; and he was … gentle.
In a similar manner – many people cannot think of God as gentle. Their image of God doesn’t allow it. If your God-concept is one of judgment, anger, indifference, vengeance, etc. then gentleness does not fit. If you serve what Philip Yancey calls “The God of Gotcha” (“What’s So Amazing About Grace?” p. 191) then you cannot grasp a God who is gentle. But, if you understand the Fruit of the Spirit is God’s character then you have to rethink gentleness.
Never mistake gentleness with weakness. Gentleness stands up boldly to defend or plea for justice, but it suffers in silence when the attack is against self. That is because gentleness is more concerned with the welfare of others than it is with the welfare of self.