The apostle Paul wrote to the church of Galatia and said, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." The message of Galatians 5:22-23 still resounds today. If we are born of the Spirit (John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Romans 8) it is natural for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. What does that mean? In this space today, I would like for us to consider "GENTLENESS" as a fruit of the Spirit.
Do you love pie? I do. At least when I am not dieting! I love apple pie, cherry pie, pecan pie, chocolate pie, blueberry pie, . . . well, the list goes on and on! But there is one kind of pie that I would rather avoid at all costs . . . . humble pie! Have you ever heard that expression before? You know, “He (or she) had a nice slice of humble pie.” It tastes bitter. It doesn’t wash down very easy. We don’t mind serving it, just not eating it! Who really wants a slice of humble pie?
GENTLENESS is often translated as humility. There are times that God has a way of humbling us. I am reminded of the young preacher that was very successful as a circuit preacher. He went from town to town holding meetings and conducting church growth seminars. After a passionate message one evening in a large congregation he was stopped by a sweet elderly lady that had worshipped in that congregation for several years. She said, “You must be proud of your accomplishments.” The man smiled and replied, “Why, yes, I am.” “And you seem to be so proud of your successes in the church,” she stated. “Of course, I am,” the man quickly responded. After a brief pause she looked at him in the eyes and said, “Why is it that you take the glory for what God has done?” Ouch! But her point was clear: “God alone deserves the glory!”
Maybe you have said it or maybe someone has said it to you. “You are the reason this church is where it is today.” “You are the heart and soul of this business. They couldn’t make it without you.” “This ministry would not be here if it were not for you.” “He/she would never make it without you.” “No one is better than you.” It sounds so good. It feels nice, but somewhere tugging on the back of our mind we remember that Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (NKJV). We need to practice humility. We need to learn the importance of GENTLENESS and meekness.
Sometimes Satan build us up into thinking that we really are the best. God wants us to be edified but He also wants, and might I add deserves, the credit for our good works. The result of good works is for men to glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). If we believe that we are the best, God may be waiting to serve us some humble pie. Remember the humble will be exalted (Luke 14:11).
We need to be GENTLE to keep our pride in check. GENTLENESS is expressed in our words and actions. It requires us to practice discipline and have patience with others. Think of all the Scriptures that teach us to be GENTLE or the seek GENTLENESS in our spirit. Why is this so essential? To keep us from eating too many slices of humble pie! Our GENTLENESS should be evident to everyone around us (Ephesians 4:2, Philippians 4:5, Titus 3:5). It is part of our DNA as a believer in Christ (Colossians 3:12). We even use GENTLENESS when we are defending our faith (I Peter 3:15) or restoring the weak (Galatians 6:1-2).
Our Lord is GENTLE. He expects His children to do their best to practice GENTLENESS.
May God bless you and keep you! Choose GENTLENESS.
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds