Spirit-Filled Fruit Baskets – Day 17

Introduction

We took yesterday off because it was Easter, and I wanted our minds to be focused on the topic of the resurrection of Christ!  We had a wonderful day at church, and I am ready to dive back into our study in the fruit of the Spirit.

Today we are going to talk about the fruit of gentleness.  Admittedly, this is one of the most neglected fruits on our list.  There is not much teaching or preaching on the subject of gentleness.  What a shame.   Hopefully these next two or three days will give you some food for thought.

Focus

The word “gentle” is found only 5 times in the Bible and those are all in the New Testament. The word “gentleness” is found 4 times in Scripture. Twice in the Old Testament and twice in the New Testament.

The Old Testament instances are actually a duplication.  The first is found in 2 Samuel 22:36 in a song of David, later found in Psalms 18 in a copy of that same song.

The New Testament instances refer once to the gentleness of Christ, and once to the fruit of the Spirit in the text we have been studying together.

For today we will look at the gentleness of God.

The word gentleness has two application depending on whether the person in question is Divine (God) or human (the rest of us.)  As pertaining to God, gentlest refers to an objective clemency. (More on that in a minute.) As pertaining to man, gentleness refers to a subjective modesty.

Clemency is defined as mildness of temper, softness, or tenderness: mercy.

Our God is a gentle God.  Consider the verse of David’s song from Psalms 18

Psalms 18:35  Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

This is the same psalms where David said that God taught his hands to war.  So gentleness should not be mistaken for pacifism.  God is not gentle, but He is not a pacifist.

The point David was making is that the gentleness of God; His tendency to show clemency toward David, had played a great part in making David who he was.  God’s response to David’s humanity was a tempered response.  It was not designed to destroy, but to correct.  It was not designed to wound, but to edify.

Our God is indeed a gentle God.

Consider the words of another Psalm:

Psalms 130:3-7 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more thanthey that watch for the morning.

Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him isplenteous redemption.

The very fact that we are not this moment dropped into Hell is a testimony of the gentleness of God.  The fact that we, His children, are not every moment under His chastening hand is a testimony of the gentleness of God.

Paul talks of the Gentleness of God as well, in the person of our Saviour.

2Corinthians 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:

Christ is a gentle Saviour. He gently leads all who come to Him.  He is not harsh with us, and would not have us be harsh with others.

Please allow me to quote another chorus we don’t sing much, but has a great bearing on this topic.

Gentle Shepherd

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us,
For we need You to help us find our way.
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us,
For we need Your strength from day to day.
There’s no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day;
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us,
For we need You to help us find our way.

-Bill and Gloria Gaither

Isn’t it wonderful today to think that our God is a gentle God.  He is not seeking our destruction, but our good.  He does not respond in a manner that we deserve, but with clemency.  And Christ, the gentle Shepherd, leads us day by day!

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