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And the Fruit of the Spirit is Gentleness

"But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control; against such things, there is no law." -Galatians 5:22-23 Gentleness is not something many of us seem to want to be known for. As a matter of fact, in the United States, men consider gentleness to be something of a "Sissy" trait. If we're honest with ourselves, though, and we look at what gentleness really is, we would not think that at all. It takes a real tough person to be gentle. Gentleness is an attitude of responsiveness. It is responding softly, no matter how someone acts or reacts to you. In Romans 12, Paul says "As far as it is from you, be at peace with everyone." Jesus says "IF someone strikes you on the left cheek, present the other also" (Matthew 5:38-48). Gentleness is associated with Meekness (having the right or the power to do something, but making the choice not to). Gentleness, quite frankly, is a choice we all have to make. It's how Jesus responded when they lied about Him, struck Him, beat Him, and nailed Him to a tree. It's how His followers have (and many who claim Him should have) responded for nearly 2000 to their enemies.

Gentleness is the backwards response to fleshly desires. We deserve and have a right to get our retaliation, but choosing not to, and loving someone in spite of themselves. Gentleness is responding, not in kind, but in love to an enemy. It is living our enemies and praying for those who persecute us. Gentleness is a complete surrender of outcome to the Lord, saying "no matter what happens to me, I will trust you, and do it YOUR way, Lord. I will let YOU fight my battles for me." And yes, I recognize that Christians have died doing this, but they were simply following Jesus...and look how the church has grown for their being like Christ! Gentleness is a fruit the Holy Spirit can cultivate as we surrender to God's will, and as we seek to be like Jesus. We can't produce it naturally, and it's by the Holy Spirit alone that we can learn to be like Jesus in gentleness.

Are you gentle in your responses to Jesus? Have you seen this fruit in yourself, even when you can't explain why? If not, then my prayer for you is that you will submit and surrender. let the Lord work out the problems, fight the battle, and respond as Jesus calls you to.

Titus 3 English Standard Version (ESV)

Be Ready for Every Good Work

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Final Instructions and Greetings

12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all.

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