It has been awhile since I last penned part 6 of this series. Much has happened and I had written most of the part on gentleness in October of last year. I didn’t realize it had been that long. I’ve been neglecting my blog and most of my social media for other interests. I can’t promise that I won’t continue to neglect my blog but for today I’m going to try and get this final part of the series completed. Then I can go on to other subjects even a book review now and again.
Fruit of the Spirit Part 7 Gentleness and Self Control
Galatians 5:22-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Many versions of scripture translate gentleness in this passage as meekness from the Greek:
From G4235; gentleness; by implication humility: – meekness.
I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what gentleness, humility and meekness look like. The humble and meek always seem gentle in their interaction with others. Gentleness is not a sign of weakness though. I consider the stories of soldiers in war torn areas picking up a young child and carrying them to safety, or the safest place they can take them in those places. The images show a gentleness and tenderness in what we perceive as an otherwise hardened soldier. Maybe not as hardened as we imagine. Those soldiers are certainly scarred for life by their experiences.
There are many stories of people who save lives, and when they are held up as heroes simply say they are ordinary men and women who did what anyone would do in the situation. Humility does not take glory for itself; this is the gentle meekness referred to in verse 23.
References to gentleness in Hebrew seem to have some deeper implications.
From H6035; condescension, human and subjective (modesty), or divine and objective (clemency): – gentleness, humility, meekness.
Considering the fruit of the spirit comes from having the Holy Spirit within the “divine and objective” aspect of clemency is an important part of gentleness, humility and meekness. To show clemency is to be lenient, forgiving, tolerant and merciful. Yahuah is gentle with us and generous to forgive us. There is almost no sin that he will not forgive. The only sin named that is unforgivable is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 12:31-32King James Version (KJV)
31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Yeshua is our perfect example, he was gentle and humble, though not weak. He could have called upon a legion of angels at any time. He had great power but he used that power to heal.
Matthew 11:28-30 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
28 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 14:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
However, for us, gentleness can be quite difficult to achieve. For this reason I’ve put gentleness and self control together because to display gentleness one must also exercise self control. I know in my own life the vicious tongue that I have often speaks impulsively because I fail to control it. The result is not the gentleness that I want to have in my relationships with others. Instead it creates enmity and strife which are authored by the enemy of our souls. Thus, self control is essential to the exercise of all other fruit of the spirit.
The Strong’s reference to the Greek word used in Galatians 5:23 is:
From G1468; self control (especially continence): – temperance.
From G1722 and G2904; strong in a thing (masterful), that is, (figuratively and reflexively) self controlled (in appetite, etc.): – temperate.
I believe that we are to exercise self-control in all things; over our carnal appetites and behaviors. Some versions translate self-control as temperance. With temperance we do not over indulge in food, drink, or worldly pleasures. We hold our tongue when it is prudent and speak correction with gentleness when it is appropriate. Giving encouragement and teaching with wisdom when needed. When the fruit of the spirit is manifested in our lives then our reaction to circumstances and people will be self-controlled, thereby honoring Yahuah our God.
Proverbs addresses self-control often. We are exhorted to control our speech and temper among other things. Proverbs tells us the result when we fail to exercise self control, broken and unprotected from without. That is we are unrepentant broken vessels that cannot be protected by God because our hearts are following our own passions. The enemy of our soul, he who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour1, has full access to us.
Proverbs 25:28 King James Version (KJV)
28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Self-control is difficult to achieve for many of us. But prayerfully with the help of our Lord and Savior, through His Holy Spirit, we can exhibit self-control. Maybe it would be better looked at as Holy Spirit control because we have submitted ourselves to His will and not to our own will. Our spirit is dead until we submit ourselves to God and he breathes life into our spirit. Until then we are controlled by the lusts of our flesh and there is no spiritual life in us and no actual self-control. To have the life of the Holy Spirit breathed into us we need to turn our hearts and minds to the will of God.
Romans 12:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
I’m sure that there is a lot more than can be said about the Fruit of the Spirit and there are teachers who can give you better understanding than I am able. The best teacher is the Word of God through the scriptures, the Bible. Read it daily, pray for understanding, pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you and teach you. Listen for that still small voice. God is always gentle to those who love him and seek after his will.
1) 1 Peter 5:8 King James Version (KJV) 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
All scripture passages are taken from http://www.biblegateway.com