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The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

Unless Christians are willing to be humbled, they won’t get the greatest of God’s blessings. Jesus not only taught this, He demonstrated it. He washed the disciples’ feet, He permitted himself to be captured in Gethsemane, to be beaten, reviled, and nailed to a Cross. Phil. 2:8, 9 tell us “He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a Cross” (MEV). Spiritual power comes through meekness and gentleness.

When we see the greatness of God’s love, we break down and weep—we become tender. Looking at His greatness breaks all the hardness the world would want to put in us.

Numbers 12:3 tells us that Moses was the most humble man on earth. Yet he was also stern and uncompromising when the occasion demanded. Notice his reaction to the worshippers of the golden calf (Exod. 32). He was defending the cause of God, so he was strong and angry and vengeful. Yet in Numbers 12 when Aaron and Miriam criticized him, he didn’t make the slightest attempt to defend himself, showing true meekness. Jesus reacted the same way when He was tortured before the cross—He answered them not a word. Yet Jesus was bold when He ran the money-changers out of the temple. In Acts 7 we see the meekness of Stephen who prayed in love for his murderers. But he spoke out boldly, not in fear or weakness. These examples show that true meekness has a fiery zeal for God. However, the Christian never fights for himself.

Why does God want us to be gentle and meek? That is one of the best ways to defend the Gospel. I Pet 3:15 tells us that when anyone asks about our faith, we should give an answer with meekness. The most attractive thing about a Christian testimony is the spirit of meekness it contains. Meekness in our testimony is not the way our voices sound nor the expression on our faces. Meekness is the spirit in which a testimony is shared. The main focus is that God will be exalted in it. We can conquer people by argument, but never convert them by argument. It takes the grace of God to convert a person. If we consider others as valuable, it is easy to be gentle with them as Christ was gentle with all He met.

 

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Image: Dmitry Bayer

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2018

About the Author: James F. Linzey is the chief editor of the Modern English Version Bible translation. His graduate education is a degree in religious studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. His undergraduate degree from Southern California College is a BA in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in religion. He is the author of numerous articles and books. He is a speaker, recording artist, State Chaplain for the California Military Officers’ Association, and retired Army chaplain. MilitaryBibleAssociation.com. Wikipedia.org/wiki/James_F._Linzey. Twitter: @JimLinzey

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