Fruits of the Holy Spirit – Gentleness

92/365 days of blogging.

Pt. 8 The Fruit of the Spirit is “Gentleness (Meekness)”

Introduction: Gooseberries are my favorite fruit. Although I like some common fruits, there are two in particular that I cannot eat because of the texture: peaches and strawberries! Ugh! And if I had to rank the fruits of the Spirit, gentleness would certainly not be my gooseberries! Consider Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:5 that the meek will inherit the earth. How can that be right? We often think that it is the aggressive and hard-working who are successful. None of us have ever read a self-help book that suggested meekness as the road to success.  What does it mean to be “meek (or gentle)” when dealing with the world? What does it mean to be “meek” when dealing with fellow Christians?

  1.          A Meek God?
    1. Read Matthew 11:28-30. We have examined this text several times during this series of studies. The word the NKJV translates is being the same as “gentle” or “meek”. Does meek look good here? Would you prefer to have Jesus use a different term?
      1. One commentator wrote “Gentleness or meekness is the absolute ceasing to fight for our agenda and believing that God will fight on our behalf for His.” What do you think about that statement?
        1. What if we are trying to make God’s agenda our agenda – should we stop fighting?
        2. Notice that Matthew 11:29 offers “rest” for our souls. What does this suggest about learning gentleness (meekness) from Jesus?
        3. The text suggests that Jesus’ meekness makes our life better. How?
  2.      A Meek You?
    1. Read Ephesians 4:1-3. Recently, we have had several people attacking the church where we all serve and worship. It has been hard to stand by the side and listen to the criticisms, false accusations, and outright lies without saying anything back in return; however, Jesus would want all of us to do this, no matter how hard it can be. He would like for us to be “gentle or meek” instead of our message being hateful and telling the people that they are ignorant. We need to remember the acronymn W.W.J.D.!
      1. What kind of approach would Ephesians 4:1-3 suggest when someone attacks your religious beliefs or the church?
      2. What if you are dealing with ignorance, and your thinking is much sharper than the that of the people attacking your beliefs? How does that fit with the instruction to be “completely humble?”
      3. The easy thing is just to ignore people who are annoyingly wrong. How does that fit the direction to be “bearing with one another in love?”
      4. Does Ephesians 4:3 give us an excuse for any outright rude or angry behavior since we are called to be humble, gentle and loving with fellow members? People who attack the church and pagans in the world had better watch out!
    2. Read 1 Peter 3:15-16. Who is being answered here – a church member or the world?
      1. How does this suggest that we should answer?
      2. How does Peter suggest that the world will treat us?
    3. Read 2 Timothy 2:22-26. In this text are we dealing with people who know the truth and are logical?
      1. What kind of approach should we take with them?
      2. How can you win any arguments this way? How can you show them how foolish and ignorant they are with their disputes?
    4. Recall that we started with Matthew 11:29 which said that if we learned meekness and humility from Jesus we would have rest? Think about the last time you got into a heated debate about your faith. Did you experience rest?

3.  The Inheritance of the Meek

  1. Read Philippians 2:5-7. Why do you think Jesus came to earth and made Himself “nothing?” He had all the right and authority to at least come as royalty!
  2. Read Philippians 2:8. When I think of being meek, I think of giving up my right to be respected. Is this what Jesus did?
    1. How do we apply this concept to our life?
    2. Read Philippians 2:9-11. No self-help book that I know about argues that we should be meek to win. Yet, Jesus says in Matthew 5:5 that the meek will inherit the earth. How did that happen for Jesus?
    3. Read Psalms 37:7-11. How does this suggest that the meek will inherit the earth?
  3.    What About Defenders?
    1. Should we just meekly accept whatever unjust thing takes place on earth? Read Psalms 82:3-4 and Matthew 5:38-42. Can you reconcile those two texts? Should we ignore the Old Testament text on the basis that it has been superceded?

Do you need to change how you relate to those who attack and make fun of you and your faith? We cannot be aggressive in spreading the Good News; we must be CONSISTENT in humility. The idea that we can beat the enemies of the gospel into submission by our own skill is all vanity and arrogance. Only God alone can change hearts. We need to ask God to give us meekness and gentleness in sharing the Gospel with others and win them gently to Christ through love and compassion.

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