Summary: This is a sermon on gentleness. 1. Be Understanding – Not DEMANDING 2. Be Accepting – Not REJECTING 3. Be Tender – Without SURRENDER 4. Be Teachable – Not UNREACHABLE 5. Be Proactive – Not REACTIVE
Fruit Of The Spirit – Gentleness
Becoming A Gentle Person
Everyone wants friends. Everyone needs friends. Years ago Dale Carnegie wrote the number two bestselling book of the twentieth century, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Why has it sold so many copies? Because everyone wants to be liked by others. We all want friends.
We want people around us to be understanding, kind, and gentle. But what is gentleness? Based on the original Greek word used in the New Testament, the word gentleness literally means “strength under control.” The word was used to describe a wild stallion that had been tamed or broken. The tamed stallion still had as much power and energy as when it was wild, but it could now be controlled and made useful for its master. To be gentle does not mean to be weak and wimpy. It means to have strength – but to have it under control. Interestingly, only two people in the Bible were called gentle – Jesus and Moses – and neither of them were weak men. Both were very strong – masculine men.
Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit – let’s go ahead and look at that verse now:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Gal 5:22-23 (NASB)
Philippians 4:4-5 tells us:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.” Php 4:4-5 (NASV)
Gentleness is controlling your reactions to people. It is choosing your own response to people rather than simply reacting to them.
Let’s consider how we can practice gentleness in our day to day living.
In order to be gentile we need to:
1. Be Understanding – Not DEMANDING
When you come in contact with people – be understanding – not demanding. Philippians 2:4 says:
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Php 2:3-4 (NASB)
How do you respond to the people around you? Are you rude and demanding? Remember everyone around you is going through their day too. Just like you have good days and bad days – other people do too. Look beyond your own needs and agenda and notice that other people have needs too.
Be understanding – not demanding toward people who are around you and see what happens.
2. Be Accepting – Not REJECTING
Folks – when a person accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior – do you know what happens? They become part of your family. They become part of your fellowship. They become part of the body of Christ. The truth is – none of us are perfect so we need to get along. We need to accept one another. Nothing feels worst then being rejected – and nothing feels better than being accepted.
Romans 15:7 says:
“Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” Rom 15:7 (NASB)
God puts up with a lot from each and every one of us. And if he puts up with our inconsistencies and weaknesses – we should learn to put up with others’ shortcomings too. Whenever you feel temped to judge another Christian – pause to remember how much God has forgiven you. God is consistently gentle with you and he wants you to be gentle with other believers. The more you recognize god’s grace to you – the more gracious you will be. Be accepting – not rejecting.
3. Be Tender – Without SURRENDER
When someone disagrees with you – be tender without surrender. You will never be able to get along with everyone. You will always meet people who like to argue and quarrel. Some people will contradict everything you say. How should you respond to them?
One of the tests of spiritual maturity is how you handle people who disagree with you. Some people have a need to devastate everyone who disagrees with them. If you challenge them or offer a comparison, complaint, or criticism, they respond with a full-blown personal attack. Then what do you do? You have three alternatives: you can retreat, you can attack, or you can respond in gentleness. Most people choose retreating or attacking. Few know how to respond in gentleness.
If you give in and retreat from argumentative people, you say, “Okay, have it your way.” “Peace at any price” brings many hidden costs to any relationship.
On the other hand, if you attack, you take the offensive and fight back when someone opposes you. Attacking is usually a telltale sign that you feel insecure and threatened by someone’s disapproval. And anger is a warning light that tells you that you are about to lose something – often your self-esteem. When people attack their most common reaction is to become sarcastic and attack the other person’s self-worth.