Attitudes – Kindness, Gentleness

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

Recently, I taught our Sunday Bible study class. We had been studying the Holy Spirit and had a lesson on the fruit that the Spirit desires to produce in us. I realized my fruit branch was lacking in a couple of areas.

Jesus speaks of being connected to the vine. In fact, He spends over half of John 15 with a visual, almost a parable. Picture a thick grape vine with many branches. In his example, he wants us to label the thick vine “Jesus” and one of the branches “me.”

  JESUS

  ME

Jesus said,

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

So, I must cling to this main vine (Jesus)—remain in Him, abide, dwell in Him. We know what it is to dwell on a thought. Your mind keeps coming back to that thought over and over. That’s what He wants us to do with Him. Dwell on Him, draw strength from Him, gain wisdom from Him, search for what He desires in us.

There’s a gardener in the parable. We’re to label him “God.”

 God

In your mind, draw a pair of pruning shears in God’s hand.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

With these thoughts in mind, I looked at the fruit of the Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

 I tend to have strong opinions which is fine, but at times, I may express them in a way that negates my good reasoning. I engaged in a discussion with a young family member about tattoos and went on about the disadvantages. It came across with bitterness and heat. I realized that the “gentle” grapes in my cluster were looking pretty drawn up and dry.

Gentleness is not milk toast, “mamby-pamby” behavior. It is strength—but under control, coupled with kindness. So, I wrote a letter to this dear one, giving examples of times when she had painted certain colors or symbols on things but grew tired of them. An emblem may not be as dear to us after ten years. Why not paint it on paper, frame it, hang it on a wall and enjoy seeing it all the time? When it becomes tiresome or out of date, one can take it down, put it in a memory box, give it away, or throw it away. But if it is tattooed on you, it is there forever. 

Well, you get the idea. I apologized for my previous quick words and harsh attitude. Kindness and gentleness goes a long way. It produces plump juicy fruit.

If the Lord has to prune us, it may be time for some self examination.

~ Joyce ~

Fruit of the Spirit – GENTLENESS

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Have you ever agreed with someone in theory, but their attitude about the subject was so negative you had trouble listening to them? That may be because they lacked our next fruit—gentleness.

Once again we see that what’s on the inside directly affects what comes out in public view. If we are bold, but brazen, it will come forth. If we are overtly opinionated, it will spew out with venomous fervor.

A few years ago, I participated in an inter-denominational Bible study. I loved the format, the in-depth study, and the variety of insights from group discussions. In all those years, only one time did I have strong disagreement with the teaching.

Well do I remember the day when I walked up the driveway to go into a fellow group member’s house for a fellowship time. I had been thinking and stewing over this teaching and how I had firm disagreement with it. I had both barrels ready to plead my case.

But as I walked up the driveway, I thought about my attitude. During that period of time, I had been focusing, one at a time, on the fruit of the Spirit. In that moment, the Lord hit me with the spirit of gentleness. “It’s time, Joyce. Your next focus needs to be on ‘gentleness.’ “

I still felt strongly about the teaching, but I gave my explanations in an entirely different manner than I would have one minute earlier. Attitude is everything.

I’m having a most difficult time with politics right now. Aren’t we all? Our senses have been dulled by this unmannerly game we play. It seems that, in the arena of politics, name calling, inaccurate, slanderous statements flow freely from all parties and we’re expected to accept it because, after all, it’s just politics. Who do you believe? How do you know the true facts?

Or think of social issues. We may have strong opinions, but sometimes those with whom we agree are so obnoxious in their defense of their opinion, we just want to hide or call out, “I’m not like him!”

Bringing it closer to home, think of those moments when you were so irritated with someone at work or with one of your children or your spouse, that you let out your frustration in an explosive manner. It probably accomplished very little. A gentle word—firm, but gentle, usually accomplishes much more.

From the Proverbs:

A gentle answer turns away wrath. Proverbs 15:1

From Paul to the Philippians:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. Philippians 4:5

From Paul to Timothy—his actions should be:

…not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome… I Timothy 3:3

Other Scriptures couple gentleness with humility, patience, and respect.

I think of Jesus being gentle with those he healed and those who had a hard time understanding. He remained gentle, even after a long day of teaching and healing.

May we move into our days with a gentle spirit, humble, respectful, firm, but gentle. I would love to hear how that fruit comes to life for you this week.

~ Joyce ~