What is gentleness? And what does it mean to live a gentle life? Part 2 of the Fruit of the Spirit Bible Speed Art series aims to answer those questions. Don't delay any longer, this expedition into God's Word is ready to begin, and we're glad you're along for the ride.
MEEKNESS DOES NOT MEAN WEAKNESS
When the Bible tells us to live in gentleness, what does that really mean? Yes, the word in the Greek does mean meek and humility. So, does that mean we are supposed to live our lives as passive people, never making a stand for anything for fear that we are going to offend people. Does gentleness reserve us to a life of walking on egg shells?
In this day and age, the modern church seems to confuse “meekness” with “weakness”. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As we take an expedition through the Bible, we learn that the source of power in the life of a true believer in Jesus Christ is none other then the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit breathes life into us and makes us new. He is our Great Counselor, the seal of the promise of eternal life. He leads and guides us through this life. The Holy Spirit is the defender of our souls and without Him, we would be forever separated from the presence of God. Therefore, a true believer who is walking with the Spirit is actually walking in the presence of the greatest power source ever. So how does that power play out it gentleness? Continue reading to find out.
THE “PURPOSE” OF GENTLENESS
Everything ever created, was created with a purpose. The person who created a cup, had a purpose for what a cup would do. The inventor of the battery had a purpose behind that invention. If a carpenter needs to drive a nail into a wall, he grabs a certain tool. Why? Because that tool was created for a specific purpose. It’s very easy for us to understand the idea of purpose, until we look at our own lives. For some reason we have succumbed to the lie that everything has a purpose, except for all the people that roam this planet. But if we understand that creation is done with a purpose, and we know that God is the creator of all things, and mankind is a part of His creation, than the logical conclusion would be that we too, have a purpose.
Why is it important to talk about our purpose? Simply put, the purpose of your life is the will of the Creator of your life. If you cannot live and operate in your purpose, then you are not in God’s will.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10
I don’t think I can word it any better than Paul did in that verse up above. You are the creation of the Creator of all life. However, if you notice, the creation that matters is hen you are “created in Christ Jesus”. What does that mean? It means that your purpose is found only in your life with Christ…only in the life that is breathed into you by the Spirit of God. That is the same Spirit that will bear gentleness in your life.
A GENTLE BALANCE
So we now know that gentleness comes from the Spirit of God. We also know the power of the Spirit and the purpose that our life has. Where does the humility of gentleness come into play? Easy. As you live out your purpose in Christ, you are ultimately living out the will of God. Therefore, gentleness is the nature of Christ within you that knows how to respond to a given situation. In the Speed Art video, we look at the verse in James, where it says:
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” – James 1:19-21
One note to take away from this important declaration made by James, is that we are to be “slow to become angry”. Shouldn’t that have said we should never be angry because that wouldn’t be gentle? If we’re using man’s definition of angry and gentle, than yes. However, God is telling us to be slow to become angry because that is how the emotions of mankind works. We tend to get upset because something is not right in our own eyes, and than we blow up at whomever and whenever. However, Jesus shows us a perfect example of righteous anger when he flips over the tables in the temple courts:
“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘ “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” ‘” – Matthew 21:12-13
Should we say that Jesus lost gentleness at this moment? If so, then he was out of God’s will and therefore, this act would have been sinful. But seeing as we know he was an acceptable sacrifice and without sin, then we know this act was not sinful. Therefore, that shows us his anger here was not man’s anger (which does not please God) but rather a righteous anger, which was completely within the will of God.
The Greek word for gentleness is indeed a word of meekness and humility, but that is because you as a true believer should be meek and humble towards the will of God in your life. As you submit to God’s will and purpose, there are times when you will stay meek on the outside, and there are times you might have to take the warrior stance and be bold, regardless of whether or not it is politically correct or not. Even Paul said to the church in Corinth:
“What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?” – 1 Corinthians 4:21
In the Greek, the word for gentleness is a word of balance. It’s having the self-control to know how to respond in any given situation. This is why it’s paramount to first begin with self-control when looking at the fruit of the Spirit, because without it, we would be too preoccupied with our own will and purpose to ever follow God’s. How can we remain in balance and of measure? Paul gives us some insight when he wrote:
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:1-2
In conclusion, whose will are you following in your life today? If you want to be a follower of Jesus, stop trying to be the leader. There is only one head to the body, and we are not it. You are just a member of the body, working with the rest of the members of the body at the sole direction of the head. The church today is infamous for wanting you to think it’s the head. It isn’t. Pastors want you to follow them. Why? They are not the head. People want to follow their own wills. What can you do that is greater than what Jesus has already done? It’s time to live in the gentleness of the Holy Spirit, and let your submissive obedience be seen by all, regardless of the chaos taking place all around you. As Paul wrote,
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” – Philippians 4:4-5