(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
How do you perceive the concept of gentleness?
Is it a concept of strength? Or a concept of weakness?
I would guess most would suggest that gentleness is more a concept of “weakness” than of strength. I thought this way. Someone who was gentle got pushed around. Someone who was gentle was soft. Someone who was gentle got run over.
Is this accurate about gentleness?
Is this what the Apostle Paul means when he writes under inspiration to the Philippians (4:5): “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
Is the Spirit of God giving us a gift to be a soft, weak, pushover of a person?
While this may be one’s first impression, another look at gentleness is in order. It certainly opened my eyes.
Since gentleness is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 it has to be a characteristic that is positive, God-honoring, and a blessing to a person and to others.
In preparing for this past week’s message I came across an article on Dr. James Dobson’s website. It offers a great perspective on what gentleness really is.
When my daughter was young, she used to love to squeeze my hand as hard as she could, trying to make it hurt. She could squeeze with all her might, but it never hurt. She didn’t need to be gentle because she lacked the power to cause me any pain. Then, just for fun, I’d give her hand a tight little squeeze until she yelped.
It’s the strong hand, not the weak one, that must learn to be gentle.
Gentleness is a strong hand with a soft touch. It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others’ weaknesses and limitations. A gentle person still speaks truth, sometimes even painful truth, but in doing so guards his tone so the truth can be well received. (https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/the-strength-of-gentleness/)
Of all the fruits of the Spirit, gentleness may be the most misunderstood. We often equate gentleness (or “meekness”) with weakness when it’s exactly the opposite. Gentleness is power under control.
Think of it this way: Years ago, circuses and sideshows traveled with a strongman. People would come from miles around to watch the muscular man lift heavy weights over his head, break metal chains and bend bars of steel with his bare hands.
Circusgoers marveled at the mighty man’s strength. And yet, the very same man whose hands twisted iron rods could also pick a delicate flower or hold a tiny baby. The strongman knew how to control his mighty power.
Now that you have a picture of the strongman in mind, listen to the words of Psalm 86:15: “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” God is all-powerful — yet gentle. The very hands that stretched the heavens were themselves stretched and nailed to a cross. Jesus showed gentleness by washing his disciples’ and betrayer’s feet; the Master set aside His title and authority to take on the role of a servant. https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/marriage-meditation-the-fruit-of-the-spirit-is-gentleness/
Gentleness is not a concept of weakness. It is a concept of power…power under control. Gentleness is having the ability to act or react with power, but choosing not to.
Keep this definition in mind as we move through the week’s devotions…gentleness is a powerful concept which definitely is a gift of God’s Spirit and clearly a trait God desires to be evident to all.
Apply: What has been your concept of gentleness? What leads you to perceive it as a concept of weakness? Of strength?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for teaching me and showing me what gentleness looks like and most of all treating me with gentleness. AMEN.