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  • Keith Harris

The Fruit of the Spirit


In a world filled with challenging situations and challenging people, many times we find ourselves wanting to experience a sense of peace and peaceful people. Perhaps this is because we have too many experiences where gentleness is lacking. Gentleness ought to be evident in the life of every follower of Jesus. It has been defined as “kind or amiable,” “mildness of manners or disposition,” and “not severe, rough, or violent, but mild.” The Greek word that is translated as gentleness in Galatians 5:23 is “prautes.” It can be translated as “gentleness, mildness, or meekness.” By implication, this word means to have humility or meekness as part of one’s demeanor. Gentleness was clearly evident in the life of Jesus, and it ought to be in ours as well.


Where do we find this particular Greek word being used in the Bible? We see it most in the writing of Paul. “What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness” (1 Corinthians 4:21)? “I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ — I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away” (2 Corinthians 10:1)! Notice that “meekness” and “gentleness” are used in this verse. “Meekness” is the word we are looking for. Here, Paul used a different word for “gentleness.” Again, the word used in Galatians 5:23 can be translated as “meekness.” This is because it refers to that sense of humility a person ought to possess. Later in Galatians, Paul wrote, “Brother, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentlenss” (Galatians 6:1). In Ephesians 4:1-2, Paul wrote, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…” And in Colossians 3:12-13, “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”


There are many other passages that call us to demonstrate gentleness in our lives. We see this kind of nature in God. In the deliverance song of David in 2 Samuel 22, David acknowledged God’s gentleness. “You have also given me the shield of your salvation: and your gentleness has made me great” 2 Samuel 22:36). This same song is echoed in Psalm 18:35, “You have also given me the shield of your salvation: and your right hand has held me up, and your gentleness has made me great.” Isaiah wrote, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11). Ultimately, we see the gentleness of God on display in the life of Jesus. He said, “Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls” (Matthew 11:29). If we are followers of Jesus, we ought to strive to allow gentleness to be evident in our lives and in our interactions with others. The Fruit of the Spirit is gentleness!


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