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Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

His Mercy Endures Forever

Galatians 5:22, 23

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Gentleness is the fifth virtue and it speaks of kindness.  This is a virtue that puts other people at ease.  Kindness is like the impression of God upon His creation of mankind and when we see it, in its fullest extent, as expressed through a human being, we discover that that person belongs to God.

Psalm 136:26

O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever. 

We read a familiar phrase “for his mercy endureth forever” which is repeated twenty-seven times throughout Psalms 106, 107 and 136.  That phrase refers to the loving kindness of the LORD.

The characteristics that God wants in our lives are seen in the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit.  The cultivation of the fruit is important.  Paul warns that there must be a right atmosphere before the fruit will grow.

Galatians 5:26

Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Fruit grows in a climate blessed with an abundance of the Spirit and the Word, prayer, worship, praise and fellowship with God’s people.  It also means pulling out the “weeds” so that the “seed of the Word” can take root and bear fruit.

The contrast between works and fruit is important, as a machine in a factory works and turns out a product, but it could never manufacture fruit.  Fruit must grow out of life and in the case of the believer it is the life of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

When you think of “works,” you think of effort, labor, strain and toil.  When you think of “fruit,” you think of beauty, quietness, the unfolding of life.  The flesh produces dead works, but the Spirit produces living fruit and this fruit has in it the seed for still more fruit.

Genesis 1:11

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

His steadfast love lasts forever. His mercy endureth forever.  When the Bible talks about the gentleness and goodness of God, it means that we have hope. We can be saved.  We can have mercy.

God sees us for what we are and yet He reaches down to us in His loving kindness with cords of love.  God’s kindness and gentleness are expressed in this world in more ways than we can imagine.  For instance, God’s kindness and gentleness are seen in His creation.

Psalm 84:11

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

God has made such a beautiful world; the seasons rotate and the ground gives forth its fruit in the evidence of the goodness of God.

Psalm 104:28

That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.

The kindness and gentleness are also seen in His care.  God cares for the world that He has created.  The Bible teaches that God is always involved in the ongoing process of the world.  By Him were not all things created? By Him all things consist and God is involved in the continuing care of the world which He created.

Psalm 145:7

They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.

This verse speaks of looking back over the way God has dealt with this world, not only of nature, but in history as well, and examining the evidence of the kindness of God in the world which He has created.

When you turn to the New Testament you discover that God’s kindness is reflected alike on the ungodly and the godly, on those who are unthankful and evil and upon those who are gracious and good.

If in one moment the kindness and goodness of God would be withdrawn from this world, the ungodly would immediately understand the goodness and kindness of God. God’s kindness is seen in this world by His corrections.  Psalm 119 tells us that the judgments of God are kind.  Maybe that’s hard to understand, that is, if we are undergoing His judgment.  God everywhere affirms that His corrections and His judgments and His redirections in life are kind.

God’s kindness and gentleness are also seen in His compassion for the lost.

Romans 2:4

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Titus 3:4

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

This verse in Titus speaks of the kindness of God our Savior.  It joins together the kindness of the Father and the Saviorhood of the Son:  “The kindness of God, our Savior.”

Ephesians 2:7

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

The greatest kindness ever shown to the world was the kindness that was shown to the world by God the Father when He gave to the world Jesus Christ, His Son, and by that act of kindness made it possible to bring many sons to glory in redemption.

There are many, many Scriptures of the gentleness and kindness of God but when you leave the Old Testament and you enter the New Testament, you discover in a very wonderful way that God is seen through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The fruit of the Spirit is nothing more or less than all of the qualities of godliness which are resident in God the Father, which are exhibited in Christ the Son and which are born out in us, through the Holy Spirit.

Everything that is on that list, the Fruit of the Spirit, is true of God. It’s true of Jesus Christ and because the Holy Spirit lives within us, He desires that it be true of us.  When Jesus was walking upon this earth, on many occasions, people would say to Him, “Show us the Father” and Jesus consistently answered that request with these words, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”

He was saying that if you want to know who God is, then look at Me.  Jesus claimed to be God walking around in a body,  God clothed in flesh and blood.  He said, “I am God manifest in the flesh.”

In the Book of Hebrews, it says it this way,

Hebrews 1:1, 2

1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

In other words, Jesus Christ is God’s last word.  When we study the Fruit of the Spirit we are painting a picture of Jesus Christ. When we watch Jesus Christ, as we walk with Him through the Gospels, as He lived His life on this earth, what an exciting thing to see.  Every single quality of the Spirit-filled life is beautifully expressed in the life of Jesus.

We see this quality of kindness and gentleness expressed through Him when we read about His feeding the 4,000 people as a result of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes recorded in Mark 8:1-9 (below) and also by the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 men besides women and children in Mark 6:34-44 (below). We can also read about many healings that Jesus performed in His tender and gentle way.  There was kindness and gentleness exhibited in His life everywhere He went.

Mark 8:1-9

1In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 2I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 3And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. 4And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? 5And he asked them, How many loaves have ye?  And they said, Seven. 6And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

Mark 6:34-44  

34And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. 35And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: 36Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. 37He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat.  And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?  38He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 39And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42And they did all eat, and were filled. 43And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. 44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.

Yes, Jesus was kind and gentle and always did that which was good.

Acts 10:38

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

That was so noticeable in the life of Jesus.  When I want to know what God expects of me in this matter of kindness, I read what the Old Testament says about God and then I study what the New Testament reveals about Jesus Christ and I put those two together and I realize what God wants from me when He says, “Be ye kind one to another.” I see “doing good” exemplified in God the Father and I see the same lived out in Jesus Christ the Son.

During Jesus’ three years of public ministry, ever on the road to the cross to be nailed there for the sins of the world, He stopped along the way to meet the needs of the people who approached Him.

They say John Wesley was one of the kindest men that ever walked on this earth.  He was a flaming fire in the pulpit, a champion of the faith and those who knew him and talked with him said that he was a kind, gentle and a good man.  He had a little motto that kept him going.  It was his rule of life and it’s worth emulating in our unkind world.  John Wesley’s motto was “Do all the good you can, by all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

Every time we have an opportunity in every situation, for as long as we live, we as Christians ought to be committed to be a kind, gentle and good person.  This quality of the Spirit-filled life is one desperately needed in our world today.  You know, if we as Christians aren’t careful, we can become callus and not sensitive to the voice of God.

Sometimes we don’t participate in good endeavors because we are concerned that we’re going to get ripped off.   We get mail from people we’ve never heard of wanting a donation or a handout.  We sometimes wonder if we should participate…and to which one. Somehow we have to deal wisely with the world in which we live.  God expects us to be kind.  We must not lose the quality of kindness and gentleness that’s a part of the fruit of the Spirit.  The world needs it.

I don’t know if you’ve discovered it or not, but this is a cruel, violent, uncaring, hurtful place in which to live.  Some people are hurt so much in life until they turn to drugs, alcohol and some just run away.  “Life” seems to be just a postponement of what they are looking for.

As Christian people God expects us to bring Heaven down to where earth is and to bring love, joy, peace, gentleness and kindness into the lives of the people around us.  We can’t use as an excuse that we live in a world that is cold and indifferent because that’s why God left us here, so we could make a difference.

Here’s a prayer I will share…

“God, Help Me to be Kind”

God make me kind…

so many hearts are breaking and many more are aching to hear a tender word.

God, make me kind. 

I, myself, am learning that my own sad heart is yearning for some sweet words to heal its hurt.

Oh, Lord, do make me kind. 

God make me kind. 

So many hearts are needing the balm to stop the bleeding that my kind words can bring.

God, please make me kind to all. 

Oh, Lord, do make me kind.

Author: Nannie Mae Jordan
(Transcribed by Joyce Carter   Transcribed and Formatted by Jerry Knight)


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