Summary: With the help and the grace of God this morning, I want to talk to you about a gentleness that helps us to conquer ourselves. If you’ll look at that verse that we’ve been looking at, Galatians 5:22, it talks about how God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy,
FRUIT THAT IS NEVER OUT OF SEASON
With the help and the grace of God this morning, I want to talk to you about a gentleness that helps us to conquer ourselves. If you’ll look at that verse that we’ve been looking at, Galatians 5:22, it talks about how God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, -- and the last three -- faithful, gentle, and self controlled. I think these three are listed last because they really show maturity when we’re able to conquer the flesh and be filled with the Spirit of God within our lives.
About 5 years ago, Robert Ringer wrote the book Looking Out For Number One. That whole book was completely opposite of what we’re going to talk about this morning, which is having a gentleness about our life. That whole book was basically, "Look out for yourself. Put yourself first." And about 16 months later, he wrote another book called, Winning Through Intimidation.
But when we talk about gentleness and meekness, we read that Jesus said, "The meek shall inherit the earth." When we talk about this subject, there’s a tendency for many of us to kind of recoil. It’s kind of like the businessman who was leaving church after hearing the pastor say that the meek shall inherit the earth; he said to his wife, "All I’ve got to say, if the meek are going to inherit the earth, they’d better become a lot more aggressive." And I heard another quote the other day that said, "If the meek will inherit the earth, what will happen to us tigers?"
Let’s talk about this gentleness. Now, when he talked about meekness, he talked about gentleness. The Greeks understood immediately what he was saying because they knew well the teachings of Aristotle, who said that virtue was the mean between two extremes. For example, Aristotle would teach that in the middle of rage or indifference would be the virtue: meekness or gentleness of spirit.
He would illustrate with Socrates, even though he drank poison, how that he wasn’t raging against authorities, nor was he indifferent. Instead, as he was dying, he was speaking the truth with clarity and conviction, and with a gentleness or meekness in his life. The Bible says that Moses was a meek man; in fact, God’s word in Numbers 12:3 says, "He was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth." Now, let’s look at Moses for a moment. When the Bible says that he was meek or gentle, you’ve got to realize it didn’t mean that Moses was perfect.
Remember he killed an Egyptian. Remember he grumbled and complained about the grumbling children of Israel and all the things that he had to lead them through. He had difficulties with the Lord concerning even going to Egypt and delivering the children of Israel. He argued with God. When you look at Moses’ life, there are a lot of things that show he wasn’t a perfect person. But the Bible says he was a meek person. And let me illustrate it by one example in the Bible, the story of his brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam, who were not showing him the respect due him as a called person of God. And they were grumbling. They had a spirit of discontentment under his leadership. In Numbers 12:6-8, the Lord addresses Aaron and Miriam and gives them what I would call a few well chosen words: "When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all of my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord." And then God addresses Miriam and Aaron and says, "Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" In other words, he was saying to Miriam and Aaron, "You’ve got to understand, this is the one I’ve chosen. Why are you doing this to him?"
Now, what’s interesting is, this was a family controversy. Miriam didn’t like her sister in law, the lady Moses married. Moses married a black lady. And so God gave Miriam leprosy. There’s all kind of interpretation there. The moment she was stricken with leprosy, Moses, instead of trying to defend himself,cried out and asked the Lord to heal her. I think what pleased God was the fact that Moses, who had unbelievable power, had great restraint in using it and had a humbleness of spirit. Even when he was accused or slandered, even though some under him were not loyal, he had a spirit of gentleness that pleased the heart of God.