Fruit of the Spirit – Gentleness

Photo by Roger Brown

Sensitivity of disposition, kindness of behaviour and mildness in manner are ways gentleness is described. We come across people who fit either or all of those attributes and they might not necessarily be a Christ follower. So, how does gentleness as a fruit of the spirit equate with or differ from the general description of it. Through a scriptural lens the meaning of gentleness goes deeper than its secular definition.  

In Mathew 11:29 Jesus says “For I am gentle and humble in heart.”

Ephesians 4:2 says “Be completely gentle and humble in heart.”

These verses strongly connect humility with gentleness.

Can one truly show gentleness without humility?

Jesus’s character is portrayed through scripture and we understand that neither feeling superior or looking at us exclusively through His perfection and our failings is part of who Christ is and that humility within Him pours out, in a way, in His gentleness towards us.

When we look at humility and gentleness together, we understand that humility is an attribute one has towards oneself which effectuates our view of those around and gentleness is one way that is displayed from within towards others.

Biblical humility is more than just having a modest perspective on oneself. Proverbs 22:4 says “Humility is the fear of the Lord, its wages are rich and honour and life.”

Humility is recognising that God is all knowing and sovereign, that our Heavenly Father loves us so much, even when our best does in no way live up to the ideal that is Jesus.

Psalm 8:4-5 says “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honour.”

The realisation of the magnitude of God, our nothingness in comparison and yet He gives us His all, is humbling. That truth, helps us live out from a posture of trusting God and following His will. And further, humility also encompasses realising the consequences of ignoring His word and will.

Jesus showed us His humility by His submissiveness to the divine will of God, the most evident when he went to the cross for us, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). Jesus portrayed gentleness when he dealt with the woman caught in adultery (John 8)and he says, the one who had not sinned shall cast the first stone. For gentleness to be evident, humility within helps us remember how much we have been forgiven and continue to be recipients of God’s grace and mercy.

Experiences with gentleness always catch our attention, why? Because they can be rare in a world that is harsh and more inclined to ignore or blame rather than help or forgive.

In Isaiah 40:10-11 we read

“See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

God commands heavenly armies (Ps 46:7) and also gently tends and leads His flock. What a beautiful picture of might and gentleness. This teaches us that being gentle does not reflect weakness.

Gentleness involves self-control, it is strength restrained.

Christ throughout His ministry revealed the power he had within himself. When we read Mark chapters 4 and 5, we see in consequence amazing miracles performed by Jesus – calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41), healing a demon possessed man (Mark 5:1-20), healing the woman who bled for 12 years (Mark 5: 25-34), and Jesus raising a dead girl (Jairus’s daughter) to life (Mark 5: 35-43).

In this section of scripture, we see Jesus have power over the elements (storm), over demons, over sickness and over death itself. And yet with all that power, his gentleness was evident in how he taught, to those who opposed him and in the midst of the lack of faith around him.

Similarly, the Lord is gentle with us even with our sinful nature and this makes us realise that His patience comes into play when he shows gentleness towards us.

So, can gentleness be truly displayed without patience?  

We all have different viewpoints, we are wonderfully made to perceive, think, reason and act and we often do it differently to each other. And this would cause us to exercise patience when we have to extend love to others. And in doing so, gentleness is one way we practically show that love.

What the world sees in us is what will draw people to Christ. Let’s look at certain verses that tell us of the importance of gentleness for effective witnessing and ministry for the Lord.

1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Galatians 6:1 Paul says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” This verse emphasises the need for gentleness when discipling, correcting, teaching and mentoring.

Gentleness is also a quality that we read in 1 Timothy 3:3 to be necessary for those in church leadership. It says they are to be “not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome.”

Philippians 4:5 says “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” This verse points out two important points – gentleness as an attribute is to be perceptible and it should not be selectively reflected on those who please us, but towards all – because that is what Christ would do.

Colossians 3:12 says “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

1 Timothy 6:11 “But you man of God flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

Gentleness like the other fruit of the spirit takes growth. We have to pursue and put on gentleness, there is a choice and an intentionality in ensuring that gentleness is evident from us.

Gentleness emanates from humility, patience, self-control and a submissive spirit to the Lord. Christ is our powerful, loving and gentle saviour. As we celebrate the birth of our saviour, may we by the power of the spirit show gentleness to all around us.

Have a very Blessed Christmas.

42 thoughts on “Fruit of the Spirit – Gentleness

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  1. “Humility is submissiveness to the divine will of God.” What a powerful observation! So many good points here, Manu. Knowing God and walking in close fellowship with Him involves seeing Him for who He is, and seeing ourselves for who we are not. Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words.
      I like that- humility is as necessary to spirituality as bread and water for the body. I am going to remember that and use it.
      A very blessed Christmas to you and your family.

      Like

  2. This blogpost was so insightful. I’ve never thought about how humility and patience are part of gentleness. You’ve given me some good food for thought with your words. Very lovely post, Manu! Merry Christmas to you, friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am convinced that humility is a main ingredient to be effective in our Christian walk. Humility allows us to think of others and show them love. It also helps us to see we are in need of God’s help daily, we are all in need of His love and forgiveness. Being gentle definitely requires humility. Thanks Manu, very insightful. Enjoy Christmas Day! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  4. In our modern world, gentleness; is not celebrated; neither is humbleness. In God’s world, kindness and gentleness are virtues. Humility is learned by seeing God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy. The Spirit teaches us to be gentle and kind rather than judgemental. Years ago, I read a quote saying that gentleness was a visible result/evident in Spirit lead people. Manu, I agree with you; we should show our gentleness to all. Merry Christmas! 💗✨🌺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true that the world does not celebrate these virtues but they are regarded highly by the Lord. I like that quote- gentleness is evident in spirit led people.
      Thank you Jeanne.
      Merry Christmas 🎄 🌺💙

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow I never realized there were so many Bible verses about gentleness. This is surely something we need to see more of in our world. Too many people are the opposite of gentle. And I too struggle to be gentle at times. When I picture someone being gentle, someone who is graceful and gracious comes to mind. I especially love that you pointed out that “Gentleness emanates from humility, patience, self-control and a submissive spirit to the Lord. “ I pray we can learn to embrace the gentle spirit of our Savior. This was another excellent post! And really made me think. Thank you, my friend! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we don’t see much of gentleness around and I guess one of the reasons is the quality as such is not recognised as a strong one so it is very easily overlooked. I struggle too with it and as I studied this I realised how much of humility, patience, self control and a submissive spirit to God is required for us to show gentleness. Well, like any fruit we grow in it.
      Thank you Bridget. I had a quiet Christmas and I hope you are having a good one.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was an amazing post, Manu, with lots of great points. I was just reading that verse yesterday about Jesus being lowly and humble. I feel humility is a very important attribute to have in our Christian walk in God. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 💜 Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This post spoke to my heart❤️. What would we do without the Bible to teach us true humility and gentleness? You did a wonderful job helping us to see the difference between the Bible and the world’s view. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gentleness is a virtue we need to possess. If not we just might not reflect the life of Christ as we ought to, to others. I like your definition of it not being the absence of power but one choosing to stay calm, refrain from it even when we have the capacity or power to retaliate.

    May we continue to learn the ways of Christ. 🙏🏻

    Compliment of the season to you and the family, ma’am. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Excellent post, Manu! Definitely one of my favorites! I love this, “Gentleness emanates from humility, patience, self-control and a submissive spirit to the Lord.” Humility is a virtue that is lacking in our society today as much as gentleness is. Instead of being humble, meek, patient and gentle; we are prideful, brash, aggressive, egotistical, and maniacally opinionated. I love how you tie this to the Incarnation. May we strive to be like our Savior more and more each day! Thank you for the kindness, humility and patience you exercise toward me in regards to my lateness in reading posts. Jesus loves you Manu and so do I!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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