Summary: Look at the gentleness of Christ and how this Spiritual Fruit can help bring others to know Jesus.
The Fruit of the Spirit
Part 6 – Gentleness
Rev. Bruce A. Shields
First Baptist Church Tawas City Michigan
We are continuing our Series on The Fruits of the Holy Spirit, this being Part 6.
We’ve spoke over the past few weeks on Love, Joy and Peace, and week before last we spoke about Longsuffering. Today I would like to talk about Gentleness.
In the King James Version this characteristic, or Fruit of God’s Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23, is described as Gentleness.
Most of the more modern translations change it to kindness or goodness, which doesn’t make much sense considering the next Fruit IS Goodness.
The literal Greek word means moral excellence in character or demeanor.
With Goodness as the next Spiritual Fruit, Gentleness is a better description of this characteristic.
Gentleness is an important and almost forgotten form of behavior.
One scripture could never really capture the full scope of the meaning behind this Characteristic.
It is a thoughtful, polite, gracious, considerate, understanding act of kindness which stems from a very tender heart.
The world in which we live knows very little about tenderheartedness.
This characteristic is God’s, which comes through us because of His Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
Our gentleness is the result of the compassion of the Holy Spirit for a lost and dying humanity.
The hurrying, bustling and pressurized life we live tends to make even some of the finest of Christians annoyed at the interruptions of “the little people.”
I know I can be guilty of this myself sometimes, as I’m sure most of us are.
If I were to look back, there are many lost opportunities that I will never be able to regain.
But as I grow in the Lord, as we all should be doing, and the closer I get to Jesus, He prunes me.
His Holy Spirit, like as masterful Gardner, trims away a little more of me each day, allowing only His precious Fruit to slowly grow and develop in my life.
The Holy Spirit is nurturing the work of the Lord in me, and allowing the Fruit to blossom and grow to maturity.
This is the way it is in each one of us who allow God’s work through the Holy Spirit within us.
This gentleness is not the ways of man, but the way of Christ. It is a beautiful characteristic of our God.
The Lord Jesus’ gentle spirit serves as an illustration when contrasted with the disciples’ cruel, but oh so human, attitude toward the children who had been brought by their parents to be blessed by Him.
The scripture tells us that the disciples rebuked those who brought them, but Jesus said something different.
Our scripture reading today is in Mark 10:13-16.
Listen to the contrast of the characteristic of the human nature in the disciples versus the Spiritual Nature of Gentleness in our Lord.
Mark 10:13 – 16
“13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”
When Jesus saw this, the NIV says He was indignant. The original Greek word here means Jesus was greatly afflicted.
The behavior of the disciples toward those who were trying to get to Jesus hurt Him.
How many times in the scriptures do we see God angered over those who stand between God and man?
The disciples, acting on the fruit of their flesh, angered Jesus and offended Him because they prevented the children from coming to Jesus.
This touching, or laying on of hands, that they came for began back in Genesis when Joseph was obedient to God and took his two sons to Israel (Jacob), to be blessed.
Joseph was also blessed.
The laying on of hands is part of the blessing that Jesus did.
Do you see the paradox in this scripture?
Do you see the battle between the flesh of the disciples and the Spirit of God?
Do you see the dilemma?
The sinful flesh says “Get back! Don’t come near to the Lord!”
The Lord is a busy man.
He has no time for the likes of you.
He has serious matters to take care of.
He couldn’t possible make time in His busy schedule for you, maintaining the universe and the heavens and everything in it and all.
Why do we as people insist on building barriers between God and man?