Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gentleness, the Eighth Quality

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

I have so enjoyed getting deep into the qualities of the fruit of the Spirit over the last eight weeks. I feel as though we have walked through the catacombs of God's Word to discover and broaden the definitions of each of these words. Beyond definitions, though, I have discovered the source of the power to unleash these qualities in my life.

This week we looked at gentleness and examined three aspects found there: submission, humility, and teachability. We learned that gentleness, or meekness, is not the same as weakness. Rather, it is the power and strength created from submitting to God's will. One of the greatest examples of this kind of submission is found in the Apostle Paul, who changed from one who persecuted the church to a man who suffered persecution for his Savior.

We discovered that humility, according to examples from Scripture, is the "correct estimation of ourselves which results from a correct estimation of our God." John the Baptist was a great example of a man familiar with humility. From before his birth until his death at the hands of Herod, John knew that his ministry would never eclipse that of Jesus. His own assessment of himself is found in John 3:30 in which he says, "He must increase, and I must decrease."

Finally, we learned the third aspect of gentleness, which is teachability. One who had a teachable spirit was Apollos, a fervent disciple who was taught correct doctrine by Priscilla and Aquila in Acts 18. Another was David, who learned the hard way to read God's instructions before setting out to transport the holy ark of God. You can read about his experience in 1 Chron. 13. Sometimes we must face severe hardship when we resist constructive teaching.

Jesus presents us with the most valuable picture of gentleness as He washed the feet of His disciples the night before His death. His answer to Peter's boasting was gentle. And please note that He also washed the feet of His betrayer. At the end of the washing He said to them (and to us), "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." (Italics are mine.) John 13:16-17.

Go forth and do likewise.

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