The fruit of the Spirit is….gentleness. What does that mean? To be gentle is to be easily handled, tame, kindly serene, mild, not violent, not harsh, not rough. Like all the other fruit of the Spirit, this gentleness is first displayed in God.
God is Gentle
Psalm 18:35b “Thy gentleness hath made me great.”
Jesus is Gentle.
Matthew 11:28-29 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Paul behaved with gentleness.
1 Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
The saints are to be gentle.
Titus 3:2 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Ephesians 4:1-3 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Philippians 4:5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
1 Timothy 6:11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
Women are to cultivate a gentle heart.
1 Peter 3:4 â€¦rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
Based on these texts, we can summarize some of the characteristics of gentleness. To be gentle is to be affectionate, protective, nourishing, sacrificial, hard working, parental, peaceable, humble, lowly, longsuffering, striving for peace. Gentleness delights in its duties, exhorts, comforts, and charges.
The gentle and quiet spirit described in 1 Peter is something God puts a high value on. It is a spirit that is at peace, is resting in God, is calm. What causes a woman to lose her gentle spirit? Many things can interfere with gentleness. But if a woman is not gentle, she may be (or probably is) frazzled, harried, anxious, distracted, bitter, or nagging. A gentle wife is like a tame animal, easily approached, not jumpy or skittish, like an animal in the wild. When her husband comes to her, he is received with affection and finds nourishment and comfort. Her children also can expect to be received with gladness. But if the family has to walk on eggs around Mom, she most likely does not have the gentleness described here. If she is unpredictable, touchy, easily irritated, accusative, or fussy, she does not have a gentle spirit. Lowliness and gentleness go together, so the way to gentleness is to be humble. Jesus is lowly in heart and we find rest for our souls in Him. Husbands and children should be able to find rest for their souls (in a limited way of course) in wife/mom. And the only way for wives/mothers to be this kind of resource is to be filled themselves with the gentleness of Christ.
My mother-in-law, who was a missionary in Japan, tells the story of a woman who would go to her room for a quiet time while everyone else had to look after her children. She would come out of her room with her face aglow, but everyone else found it hard to rejoice in her blessing. A mom often has to get her fill “on the run.” She doesn’t have the luxury of an extended “quiet time.” That means she must be looking to Christ in the midst of all the daily busyness, reading her Bible on the go, praying as she works.
But it also means finding physical rest. Women have so many duties in the home, that it is tempting to just keep caffeinated and working while the kids take a nap. I remember this temptation well. But moms cannot expect to keep going without resting and eating. Oftentimes we look for spiritual answers when what we really need is some lunch or a little nap. We are flesh and blood and can’t run on fumes indefinitely. So if you are losing your joy or losing your gentleness, pay attention. Are you getting enough food and sleep? Do you need a couple of Advil? A cup of coffee? Don’t let yourself get strung out. And most importantly, look to Christ.