The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 38: Gentleness

Welcome to our final month of study. During the next two weeks, we’ll define GENTLENESS and examine what meekness looks like through Scriptural examples. Our goal is to understand how to do our part so God can grow seeds of gentleness in our hearts and lives.

“Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.”

Matthew 5:5 NKJV

Psalm 37

Let’s begin by defining GENTLENESS, also commonly called MEEKNESS. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the quality or state of being gentle, especiallymildness of manners or disposition.”

We’re weaned as children to understand meekness as someone who’s a wimp. Do you remember the cartoon, Popeye? One of the characters was a rotund man, even named Wimpy, who constantly ate hamburgers. Another example is hen-pecked Dagwood Bumstead in the cartoon, Blondie, who made the Dagwood sandwich an American cultural fixture. Even from childhood, we’ve been indoctrinated into the world’s definition: meekness equals weakness.

πράγματα / prágmata

But the Bible’s definition is the complete opposite. The Greek word written above is “prautes,” a challenging word to define in English. Picture a wild horse that’s broken and now under the control of a bridle. R.C. Trench in his classic work “Synonyms of the New Testament” says that “Prautes does not consist in a person’s outward behaviour only, nor yet in his relations to his fellow man…rather it is an inwrought grace of the soul, and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God.  It is that temper of spirit in which we accept his dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.”

Meekness means we have surrendered and entrusted our soul and spirit to God’s good control without argument or resistance. Therefore, gentleness implies great strength under control. It’s courage, not mousey fear; true humility, not false modesty; “a humble and gentle attitude that is patiently submissive in every offense while being free from any desire for revenge or retribution.” (John MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary)

How do we personally measure up to these standards? Let’s explore this divine strength in the Scripture by reading Psalm 37.

We see how Matthew 5:5 relates directly to Psalm 37:11. It says, “The meek shall possess the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” So, what does meekness mean in this Psalm and what does it have to do with God? Let’s read verses 5-8:

“Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.”

Psalm 37:5-8 NKJV

A portrait of meekness…

  • COMMIT: We commit everything to the Lord–our business, relationships, finances, health, fears–because we realize we are insufficient to deal with all the complexities of life. God is willing and able to sustain, guide, and protect us. (Verse 5a)
  • TRUST: We confidently place our trust in the Lord because we know God is on the side of the righteous. He will defend and vindicate us whenever the enemy attacks. (Verse 5b)
  • WAIT: This is perhaps the most difficult for us to do. Meekness means we are still and patiently wait for the Lord to bring His will to pass in our lives. In the middle of life’s storms, we are still and calm, trusting in God’s control and His willingness to work things out for our good. (Verse 7a)
  • DON’T FRET: Another challenge for sure! When the wicked go on their merry way in prosperity, it’s hard not to be upset or angry. Yes, it may feel very unjust and unfair. But since we trust God completely, it’s possible to rest in Him when we encounter opposition or setbacks. (Verse 7b-8)

If we have ever previously regarded gentleness as weakness, we now have a clear picture of its powerful, controlled strength. As Jesus taught in the Beatitudes, the meek will inherit the earth. What an amazing blessing awaits us as we understand how important it is to cultivate this strong fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

Next week we’ll look at how the Book of James defines meekness and also how we see it reflected in the lives of Moses and especially our Lord Jesus.

How is God growing seeds of gentleness in your soul and spirit?

Dear Father, thank you for teaching us that meekness is strength under control. It takes divine strength to answer with a soft word or to turn the other cheek. Help us to commit, trust, wait patiently, and not fret as You work out Your good will in our lives. May we grow in Your sweet gentleness each day. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens
Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens © Karen Jurgens. All rights reserved

9 thoughts on “The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 38: Gentleness

  1. First, I want to throw my arms around you as we sip coffee together. This particular study hit home for me and my situation. Satan may keep me from going physically to church but he will NEVER control any part of my life.
    You could have titled this ‘Sandra’s learning the importance of gentleness in her life’.
    How is God growing seeds of gentleness in my soul and spirit. He has been controlling my tongue so that I am able to look at my situation in a calm way. Instead of looking at the things I can’t do, I’ve been focusing on what I can do.
    God has given me the GENTLENESS that has given my marriage a total makeover.

    Is this going to be the last month of these studies?
    I’ve grown so much more than I can put into words.
    I’ve taken notes on each journey and it seems as if the Lord directed you to speak to my heart each and every time.
    The Lord has given you a mission and I share these studies with other smaller Christian groups.

    • It brings so much joy to my heart to hear how the Lord is working in your life, sweet Sandra. I love sharing in your journey with Him. You have something very precious now— your testimony. You can continue to share how He’s changed you, bringing joy, gentleness, and all the fruit of the Spirit into your life. And your marriage has had a total makeover! How awesome! I rejoice with you in that good news. ❤️

      The only thing ending this month will be the study on the Fruit of the Spirit. I’m praying for God’s direction for what to begin after this. But I’ll be writing about the birth of Christ, and we can all celebrate Christmas together in December.

      Thanks so much for sharing these studies with your friends. May God richly bless you for your loyalty and precious friendship. Much love, dear Sandra. ❤️❤️xoxo

    • Thanks, Sandra. December is one of my favorite months, and I love writing about the miracle of Jesus’s birth. ❤️xoxo

  2. Karen, thank you for another excellent and inspirational message as you are drawing to the close of the Fruit of the Spirit series. It has been a very engaging study. We at Heart”wings” are so very thankful for your obedience in following His calling to bring us these lessons since the beginning of 2019.

    Ladies, as we encourage and thank Karen for all of the lessons she has given us in the past and look forward to her future teaching, your comments here and interaction in the studies are always appreciated. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on the “Front Porch!” Joyce Graves, founder of Heart”wings” – a women’s fellowship and related Heart”wings” ministries

    • Thanks, Joyce. It’s been a wonderful year studying about the Fruit of the Spirit. I have grown tremendously through the Lord’s leading. I pray the ladies of Heartwings have been blessed in their walk as well. ❤️

  3. Sunday, October 10th: Karen, your lesson for this week pointed out many things about meekness that are not commonly attributed to it. I found your supporting Scripture verses and your “Portrait of Meekness” especially compelling as you elaborated on “Commit, Trust, Wait, and Don’t Fret.” I can relate because those are some of the ways that meekness flows through my heart. Although the dictionary does not appear to support this, I feel that humility and meekness walk hand-in-hand and are so very God-honoring. I feel that your lessons are a blessing not only to our ladies in Heart”wings” but also to those around the world who have been reading them. Thank you for your obedience to His calling and leading as you bring us these Bible Study lessons and I am thankful for the outreach they continue to give for His honor and glory. Amen! <3 j xoxo

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Joyce. I agree with you that the attitude of humility is a big part of meekness. We see it clearly in the lives of Moses and especially Jesus. I think you’ll love our next study which focuses on those Scriptures where humility and meekness are intertwined.

      Thank you for your support and love as we stand together in our mission of outreach to the world, sharing God’s love and good news of salvation. Blessings! ❤️xoxo

  4. Karen, I love this: “it is an inwrought grace of the soul, and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept his dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.” This morning I read “Thou art good and doest good.” Psalm 119:68 I can accept His dealing with me, because I know this truth – He is good and doest good. My complete trust in Him proves my love for Him, and my love for Him grows my trust in Him completely. I acknowledge Him as sovereign, as God, and willingly submit to Him and His will, and grow in that trust as I dwell in His Word. His Word is the power behind the ability to be humble and trust Him. Excellent and Encouraging study! Thank you for lovingly submitting yourself to Him and seeking to share what He lays on your heart!

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