Fruit of the Spirit: Jesus Gently Leads Us
In Matthew 11, Jesus issues an invitation to those who feel the heavy weight of legalism, sin, and guilt. He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Isn’t it incredible that the Savior of the world — the one who rules and reigns over everything — describes himself as gentle?
It might be difficult to imagine a ruler who is gentle and humble. Our modern-day examples of powerful people typically don’t showcase gentleness. But, rather than rejecting us because he is powerful and we are not, Jesus actually asks us to come closer to him.
At the very core of his being, Christ is gentle.
In his word, God describes himself as a Shepherd (Psalm 23), a Father (Psalm 103, Deuteronomy 1:31), and a Healer (Psalm 147). All throughout the Old Testament, God displays his gentleness toward humanity. So if gentleness is a quality that draws the sinner in toward God, then it’s no surprise that this makes Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23.
In our lifelong walk toward Christlikeness, it makes sense that we should bear the fruit of gentleness — the character quality Jesus uses to describe his heart.
So what does this look like in our day-to-day lives as followers of Christ?
– Deal gently with people. Paul gives Titus very specific instructions on what to teach his congregation in Titus 3:2: “They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.” Instead of being argumentative and bringing down other people with our words, we should show gentleness. Jesus’s gentleness extends to others just as much as it extends to us.
– Live lives of gratitude. Gentleness flows of humility, and humility flows out of gratitude. God is compassionate and slow to anger and quick to forgive. When we are grateful for his grace and love for us, we show that same gentleness and compassion to others. Our gentleness shows them the heart of Christ!
– Seek out restoration. Just as Christ is gentle toward us even in our sin and our failures, we should be gentle toward others who sin against us (Galatians 6:1). It’s not easy, but that’s why gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit works in our hearts so that we can take the less-than-natural approach to seek out restoration with a gentle attitude and words. We will inevitability encounter sin that compromises relationships, but how we choose to walk the path to restoration is up to us.
When you think of Jesus, do you also think of his gentleness? How have you seen God gently lead you in your life? We’d love to hear about it!