The Spirit’s Fruit: Gentleness

The Spirit’s Fruit: Gentleness

When confrontation is required, to fail to do so is not gentleness but cowardice.  Of course, even this confrontation needs to be done with gentleness. However, gentleness does not mean that we omit the hard things that need to be said, but it does mean that we say them for Christ’s sake and not our own.

What is it to be gentle? Everyone has an image in their mind’s eye or an idea. But it’s probably best to start with the One we ought to model and so ask, what did gentle look like on Jesus? Perhaps the first place we might go is Matthew 11:28-29. There Jesus tells us that he is “gentle and lowly in heart.” Gentle here means meek or humble.  We might say that to be gentle is not to think of oneself more highly than one ought to think.  B. B. Warfield once wrote, “No impression was left by his life-manifestation more deeply imprinted upon the consciousness of his followers than that of the noble humility of his bearing.” Jesus was humble.

What is more, he called others to be the same. In the Sermon on the Mount, we find that Jesus gave the qualifications for kingdom citizenship. One must arrive at a true sense of their spiritual poverty, mourn as a result of it, and humble themselves as they reach for a righteousness that is not their own. Humility is essential to the way that God leads us to Himself.

Paul, a man who was made aware of his jealousy by being bested by Stephen (Cf. Acts 6:8-958Romans 7:7-12), learned this lesson and taught it in Romans 12 saying, the transformation of the mind has to do with not thinking more of ourselves than we ought to think (Romans 12:1-4).

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