Summary: The Fruit of The Spirit (Part 10) How is gentleness developed in our lives? Sometimes we learn gentleness through God’s tender touch, and at other times we learn gentleness through difficult situations. (See sermons in Word format at www.praiseag.org)
The Fruit of The Spirit (Part 10)
• Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Fragile: Handle with Care – How often have these words been put on a shipment to protect the contents of a package. In an ideal perfect world such boxes would be gently moved from place to place and nothing would ever be damaged. However, in the real world “Fragile: Handle with Care” means nothing. These words are overlooked on packages. Boxes are thrown together and carelessly dropped. Packages are opened to reveal broken and damaged contents everyday.
I wonder if God were to have placed a “Handle with Care” label on people if it would likewise be ignored? How often is the heart of an individual crushed or the spirit of a child broken? Words and actions damage and wound everyday. Healing and restoration to the human heart can be a slow difficult process; sometimes only God can make the wounded new again.
The fruit of the Spirit is GENTLENESS. What is gentleness? How is gentleness developed? What is the purpose of gentleness?
What is gentleness?
Paul said the fruit of the Spirit is “” (prah-ot’-ace). What is that? It’s defiantly Greek to me! This word has been translated as gentleness and meekness; however, sometimes it’s difficult to find just the right word to use when you are translating form one language to another.
For instance, how would you translate the word “pineapple” to an Eskimo who has never seen or tasted one before? An Eskimo would have no understanding of what a pineapple is or what the word means. Perhaps the best you could do for an Eskimo is call a pineapple “prickly sweet eatable blubber!” The same is true for “” (prah-ot’-ace); gentleness and meekness just don’t fully communicate what it really means!
Aristotle described “” (prah-ot’-ace) –gentleness/meekness- as a center between two extremes. For Aristotle gentleness meant finding the proper balance in life. Gentleness or meekness maintains a good equilibrium; it is to have a steadiness and stability that will not waver or be moved to extremes.
The Greek language is a precise and expressive language. When the Greeks developed a word, they not only gave it a careful definition, but they almost always illustrated it. “” (prah-ot’-ace) –gentleness/meekness was best illustrated by an animal that had been tamed; the wild spirit and nature of an animal is brought under the control of its owner. A tamed horse has yielded or submitted it’s strength; the strength of the animal is no longer wasted wildly, but has been focused in order to fulfill a purpose. Gentleness then is power under control, submitted strength.
o Illustration: The power and force of water can be focused and brought under control to turn a waterwheel and grind wheat, or the water can flow through a dam turning large turbines to produce electricity to give power to an entire city. However, the force and power of water can also be out of control bringing death and destruction through a flooded river or the massive tsunami wave that occurred last December killing hundreds of thousands of people.
Gentleness is power or strength under control; it’s the submission of our strength and will to God’s control and purpose. Gentleness or meekness is not weakness, but is strength under control. Therefore, gentleness is the fruit of the Spirit that brings us under God’s control; it is power under control – submitted strength.
Throughout this series on the fruit of the Spirit we have been reminded that it is FRUIT and not fruits. The fruit of the Spirit is one fruit that develop and grows within our lives; it is not a fruit market from which we can pick and choose the fruits we want and leave the others behind.
Love is the blossom through which the fruit of the Spirit is produced. Without love there is no fruit. GENTELNESS IS LOVE TOUCHING. Love expresses gentleness through a tender touch.
Without gentleness love does not touch others. Without gentleness or meekness our touch is harmful instead of helpful, painful rather than pleasing, selfish instead of selfless. Only as our strength is submitted to God, only as power is brought under the control of the Spirit through love, can we reach out and touch one another.
Gentleness is a balance between extremes; it is strength submitted to God – power under control. Gentleness is love touching.
How is gentleness developed?
When a horse is tamed it can be done in one of two ways: forcefully or gently. Perhaps you have seen the cowboy with whip and spurs break in a horse; it’s a rough job, but in time the horse submits its strength to be ridden. A horse can also be tamed gently by using some of the same ways horses communicate with each other through sound and touch. As the horse handler works with a horse it will eventually grow to trust the handler and be ridden.