Fruit of the Spirit - Gentleness/Meekness (Rev. Dr. E. Wayne Hanks, Senior Pastor)
Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (Matthew 7:20 NLT)
Fruit is the outward expression of the nature of a plant or a tree. You know what kind of tree you see if it bears oranges, lemons or apples.
What is the antonym of gentleness? Harshness - evident in the riots in the Middle East & North Africa today.
2 Questions on Gentleness
1) Am I strong enough to be gentle? Gentleness is not weakness - it is strength, under control. Jesus taught, "Blessed are the meek (or gentle) . . . ." This Greek word refers to a powerful animal whose nature is "gentled," under control, "
Anecdote of Clydesdale horse - Northern European breed, bred for heavy hauling. 16.2 - 18.2 hands high @ shoulder on average, 1,600 - 1,800 lbs. The one time Pastor encountered one, amazed atcsize & grateful it had been needed.
2) Not cowardice, but Courage enough to surrender. Andre the Giant anecdote. Normal-sized family, hormonal imbalance caused his size. He was, of a truth, a gentle giant. His favorite role - Fezek, in "The Princess Bride." when you could respond with overwhelming force, but choose not to, that is Gentleness, or Meekness. Sometimes it takes more courage not to fight, than to fight.
Anecdote of Karate Ministry expert, confronted by a kid with a knife. Will I allow the Meek Nature of Jesus to replace my own harsh human nature?
3 Ways His Meekness Affects Us
1) In our actions (Isaiah 40:11) "He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young." (Isaiah 40:11 NLT)
The only time we see Jesus angry with His disciples, chastising them fir bit letting the children be brought to Him. His gentleness in taking & blessing the kids was evident.
2) In our reactions ( ) Anecdote - Saul/Paul was a hothead until Jesus changed him. Church @ Corinth, Paul's "problem-child" church. 1 Cor, "Would you prefer Icone . . .". Luke 9 - "Do you want us to call fire down?" Jesus responded in gentleness.
3) In our words ( ) From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Anecdote - "My chains are gone," does not give license to be profane. Anecdote - lawn mower being checked for purchase by pastor, "Daddy says you have to cuss." "Don't worry . Ut'll come back to you. James 1 - fire is a good thing, under control.
People are fragile. Handle with care.
John Wooten - strongest expletive @ a game, "My goodness gracious!" Had a bad habit of swearing as a teenager, his dad's example in dealing w/ a balking mule w/ gentleness. He testified his gentleness/meekness came as a result of his walk w/ Christ.
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