A Deeper Study of the Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

Contributing Writer
A Deeper Study of the Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

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

I hope that my son grows up one day to be a gentleman. When we hear that term, we often think about manners such as holding the door or saying, “Please” and “thank you.” However, we also see “gentle” in the word gentleman. Many times, we think of gentleness as a quality seen in a quiet and shy woman. This is not always the case. If I were to name the top three most gentle people I know, my husband would actually be the first to fall into this honorable position.

I believe that gentleness is true strength. It is living like Jesus and not allowing emotions or stubbornness to get in the way of a surrendered life. Today, we are going to study more about true gentleness found in the Bible.

Gentleness in the Greek

The Greek word found in Galatians 5:22 is prautēs. It means, “Mildness, gentleness” or “gentle strength which expresses power with reserve.”

Prautēs is also found in 1 Corinthians 4:21, 1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:25, and 1 Peter 3:15.

I love how gentleness is shared as gentle strength. When we ponder the strongest people we know, many times it is not the most physically tough who come to our minds. It is people who have endured hardship, remained faithful, or endured in character when everyone around them failed. Strength is more than meets the eye.

Jesus Modeled Perfect Gentleness

Scripture tells us in Isaiah 53:2b, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” This is the description of Jesus, the incarnate God. There was apparently nothing flashy about his looks. People may not have thought of Him as a strong man. However, we know that He was the strongest man to ever live.

Jesus is God. He exhibited gentle strength in every sense of the Word. When a Pharisee mocked Him, He could have put him in his place, but Jesus restrained. When He was whipped without cause, Jesus could have broken the whip with one word. When he was dying on the cross and people teased Him, Jesus could have proven them wrong and lived, but He chose to die for our sins. When Jesus knew that He was the Messiah, He could have proved it point-blank when people were harsh and unwilling to listen, but He chose gentleness. He had full power with full reserve.

What Does Gentleness Look Like Practically?

This causes us to ponder how gentleness is a Spirit-led fruit that often appears in trying situations. When we are tested with impatience, or when we are angry, gentleness is not our natural sinful tendency. We speak out in harsh words, we use sarcasm, we speak in unkind tones, or we push and push until we get our way. Jesus was concerned with God’s will. Jesus was kingdom-focused. We too, as believers in Christ, are called to have the same mindset as Jesus. His Spirit within us enables us to respond and speak in ways that are set apart from the world.

I think about parents who have children nagging and pushing them to the breaking point. It can be easy to blow up at a child and discipline in an ungodly way. I think about teachers who are given authority in the classroom and can easily abuse that power if they are not careful. I think about leaders who have a lot of influence and responsibility with their words and actions, but fail to live in gentleness and humility. I think about myself, in all of the ways that I have failed in the area of gentleness by not taking my emotions to God, neglecting to seek to live by the Spirit, or believing that, “I cannot be gentle in a situation as frustrating as this!”

Grace meets us at the cross of Jesus. His mercy is new every morning. His Spirit is always with us. We can be filled up with His Spirit to live by His will daily.

Some opposites of gentleness found in Webster’s Dictionary include: harshness, hardness, rigidity, severity, inflexibility, insensitivity, and irritability. Would any of those be said of our Savior Jesus? No. His entire life proved otherwise. Would any of those be said of you and me? Look at that list again. In which of these areas do you feel conviction from the Holy Spirit that you are not living a gentle life? Pray and ask the Spirit to help you to die to that way of living and to cling to Him for transformation into His likeness.

We the church are called the bride of Christ. We are before Him with unveiled faces. This means that when we come to the altar, He sees us for who we truly are –  a terrifying moment, however He has come to give us a new name just like a bride takes on the name of her groom. We are His forever in a covenant. Once we accept Him as Savior, we are transformed into His likeness by the work of His Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with unveiled faces, looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

Gentleness is not impossible for anyone who is saved by Jesus. Gentleness is not natural to anyone, but by the work of the Spirit in our lives, we will produce more and more of it in our lives.

How Are You Growing in Gentleness?

Is gentleness something that comes easier to you like my husband? If so, that is incredible, keep pressing into the Spirit and allowing Him to use you for His glory. Ask God to search your heart in any ways that you are not exhibiting gentleness.

Is gentleness more challenging for you? If so, please know that we all fall short and sin. We all have struggle areas, but this is where the Holy Spirit does some of His most beautiful transformative work. Ask Him to refine you and remove the areas in which you are not gentle. Pray, learn the Scriptures, and slow down to see people around you. Everyone is going through something, we just are not always aware of it. When we live gently, we build trust to engage in gospel conversations and precious relationships. It creates a stronger witness for Christ when we live like He did in this way.

This week, think about someone you have not modeled gentleness to recently. Pray about how to apologize and move forward. Seek a new season in the relationship to start leaning on the Spirit for gentleness. Ask Jesus to help you see the value in gentle strength, and not what the world would define as powerful and strong. Pray for eyes to see eternal value in character and a harvest of Spiritual fruit in your life, including the ever-important spiritual fruit of gentleness.

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A Deeper Study of the Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness
A Deeper Study of the Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

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Emma DanzeyEmma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew and mom to Graham. Emma serves alongside her husband in ministry, she focuses most of her time in the home, but loves to provide articles on the Bible, life questions, and Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 on Crosswalk in 2021. Most recently, Emma released Treasures for Tots, (Scripture memory songs) for young children. During her ministry career, Emma has released Wildflower: Blooming Through Singleness, two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, and ran the Refined Magazine. You can view her articles on her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com and check out her Instagram @Emmadanzey.