“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:6, AMP)
She is warm and inviting. Her heart exudes a gentleness that is pleasing. Like a warm bed on a cold winter’s night or the first cool autumn breeze after summer’s vaporous heat waves, our hearts welcome the pleasant sensations of comfort.
She is graceful and merciful. We find ourselves drawn close to her sweet spirit and kind embrace. She comforts the hurt, loves the afflicted, and encourages the hopeless. She has walked in our shoes; her testimony of triumph inspires us.
As precious and gentle as her heart is, she toils and labors with strong hands. Her family is a priceless jewel she shines and treasures continuously. Her tender words are life to those around her. She plants seeds of goodness where she goes; acts of kindness are in the forefront of her mind. Selfless and humble, her heart looks to ease the pain of others.
When a smell reminds us of long ago precious memories or a sound of a voice brings forth pleasant reminiscence of sweet friends, the priceless loved memories we have of her are forever etched on our heart. We can actually say, I have a met a gentle woman – a Christian who epitomizes the precious gift of Jesus Christ.
The New International Version or NIV Bible reads, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” The Message or MSG writes, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”
The Bible defines gentle as the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, and the self-controlled (Matthew 5:6, AMP). Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes meek as the enduring of injury with patience and without resentment; deficient in spirit and courage or not violent or strong.2 Our Lord – as He preached on the mount – was not condoning a deficient in spirit or lack of courage, Jesus of Nazareth encouraged His followers to represent His Father with His fruits. “Understand first that meekness is not weakness. It does not denote cowardice or spinelessness or timidity or the willingness to have peace at any cost. Neither does meekness suggest indecisiveness, whish-washiness, or a lack of confidence. Meekness does not imply shyness or a withdrawn personality, as contrasted with that of an extrovert. Nor can meekness be reduced to niceness.
In classical Greek, the word was used to describe tame animals, soothing medicine, a mild word, and a gentle breeze. Gentleness and meekness are, indeed, caressing words, but they also imply self-control. Aristotle explained that it is the mean between excessive anger and excessive angerlessness, so that the man who is meek is able to balance his anger. It is strength under self-control. He is as strong as steel.
Jesus said of Him, ‘I am gentle and humble in heart’ (Matthew 11:29). In respect to His own person, our Lord practiced neither retaliation nor vindictiveness. When He was mocked and spat upon, He answered nothing, for He trusted His Father. When He was confronted by Pilate, He kept silent. When His friends betrayed Him and fled, He uttered no reproach. When Peter denied Him, Jesus restored Him to fellowship and service. When Judas came and kissed him in Gethsemane, Jesus called him friend. And Jesus meant it. He was never insincere. Even in the throes of death, He pleaded, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34). In all of this Jesus, meek and mild, was in control. He radiated power.
Yet, when it came to matters of faith and the welfare of others, Jesus was a lion. He rebuked the Pharisees’ hardness of heart when He healed the man’s withered hand on the Sabbath. He was angered when His disciples tried to prevent little children from coming to Him. Jesus made a whip and drove the moneychangers from the temple. He called Peter Satan after the outspoken fisherman tried to deter Him from His heavenly mission. All of this came from Jesus, the incarnation of gentleness.
Bringing this all together, we have an amazing picture. The one who is meek has a gentle spirit because he trusts God. Indeed, there is a caress about his presence. As the same time the meek person possesses immense strength and self-control, which he exhibits in extending love rather than retaliation against those who do him evil. He stands up fearlessly in defense of others or of the truth as the occasion arises” (Hughes p.35-36).1
I have a friend who is gentle. Truly, her sweet spirit and kind heart are engrafted upon my mine. I have known Liliana for thirteen years. During a difficult post-partum depression, God sent me a meek and precious spirit to help me with my children. Our spirits quickly connected and we have been friends ever since. Whenever I hear this spirit preached or write about the fruits of the Holy Spirit, Lilly’s heart always comes to the forefront my mind. God gifted her with this gentle spirit.
One of God’s fruits of His spirit within believers is gentleness (Galatians 5:22-23). Philippians 4:5 defines gentleness as, “Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near.” This spirit of gentleness maintains self-control and patience, bearing with one another in unselfish love (Ephesians 4:2). This spirit is exhorted with humility, kindness, steadfastness, compassion, godliness, and faith (Colossians 3:12, 1 Timothy 6:11). If you have ever been around this gentle spirit, it can draw you closer through a peace and rest in your heart.
Jesus’ gentle hand, with His precious spirit, healed many. The blind, the lame, the sick, the demon possessed, the diseased, and the hurt were touched by a sweet hand that loved them. His touch, the compassion and affection within His heart, sent a warm inviting peacefulness as His spirit threaded through the body of the afflicted. As if a sweet liquid extended through veins, sinews and muscles, His spirit relaxed and mended, sewn and laced all the imperfections with the afflicted, battered, and bruised. His spirit of gentleness softly gladdened and uplifted the downtrodden and browbeaten. Jesus of Nazareth gently loved with His graciousness, mercy, humility, and unselfish perfect heart.
Christ allowed women to touch and gently love Him as well. The sinful woman washed His feet lovingly; Mary of Bethany anointed Him before burial with a sweet heart and her treasured gift of perfume, while the women of Luke 8 served Him with all they had. He never sent one of these gentle hearts away; never told them to leave and stop using their gifts on Him, nor was He ever rude and condescending to the women’s hearts. He loved each and every one of their works of faith and sweet spirits when serving with their hearts.
This gentle spirit is offered to any Christian who has accepted Christ. This gentle spirit is a gift; a treasured possession we should be holding and cherishing. If we are engaged and immersing our hearts with this spirit, the moment we lack its presence, our spirits should be quick to inquire why. Have we separated ourselves from this gentle spirit with works of the flesh? Have we grieved the Holy Spirit’s heart, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you are sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin]” (Ephesians 4:30).
The Proverbs 31 Woman was a gentle soul who opened and extended her hand to the poor, and reached out her filled hands to the needy. Helping those in need, she also gave words of affirmation and encouragement with skillful and godly wisdom; the teaching of kindness was on her tongue (v. 26). She is called blessed [happy prosperous, to be admired] by her children and her husband sings praises to her – Many daughters have done nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all (v. 29).
She was a sweet, kind-hearted, and gentle soul who feared the Lord [reverently worshiped, obeyed, served, and trusted Him with awe-filled respect] (v. 30). This gentle spirit weaves itself through God’s Word and through the lives of anyone who searches Scriptures. God’s spirit of gentleness should penetrate our own hearts and minds drawing our spirits closer to His in a sweet embrace. I desire to be this gentle spirit, this Proverbs 31 Woman, and the women who Christ allowed to love Him. I desire character and an attitude of gentleness to glorify God and praise His name.
Our identity, this foundation we are laying, should include this gentle spirit. After coming from the world and into the Word of God, I can recognize a hostile, aggressive, abrasive, and proud spirit. It is the exact opposite of anything Jesus ever exemplified. Difficult to be around these types of personalities, I pray before coming in contact with hard-hearted individuals.
If you find yourself questioning God’s gentle spirit, then I would begin journaling my thoughts to the Lord. I would begin praying the Scriptures mentioned previously and seeking the Lord’s wisdom. I would also begin to think on the MSG’s version of Matthew 5:6, You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less.
I am thankful for Lilly’s sweet heart and her gentle spirit. If you do not have a friend such as mine, or if you have never met this spirit, then I would pray to the Lord for such a friend. I would pray to receive the Lord’s fruits and for Him to open your heart revealing anything that could be hindering you: childhood trauma, rejection, anger, unforgiveness, self-pity, or self-proclamations of doing everything on your own.
My prayer is this has planted a seed of good fruit. As we continue through the Lord’s sermon, I pray you keep Galatians 6:7-10 in the forefront of your mind, “….for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in. So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers).” May God bless you and continually draw you near Him with this sweet, gentle spirit.
Picture from: georgedowdell.org