The Fruit of the Spirit Series- Gentleness, Goodness
As I mentioned in each of the previous messages of this series: to develop the Fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5 verse 22, 23)) is to develop the character of Jesus. In Romans 8 verse 19 the word says ‘for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” The whole world is waiting for people to develop the character of Jesus. The Greek word for “sons” in the above verse is “huios” which means “the expression of the character of the parent.” It means that the offspring is starting to act like the parent. To have the same character as Jesus one has to develop the same fruit that was easily recognizable in Jesus. Our number one prayer should be that the Father would conform us into the image of Jesus (Romans 8 verse 29). God’s fruit must be cultivated while His gifts are bestowed by His grace. In Mark 4 verse 28, the word says the fruit grows; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. Fruit is cultivated over a period of time. As a matter of fact, the purpose of His gifts is to produce fruit in us, as the power of His gifts should humble us. Also, the ones who develop all the fruit will be the ones that most manifest His power. The gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit go together.
Only God can develop the fruit of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 3 verse 5, 6). One way to cultivate His fruit is to read the epistles (Romans to Revelation) and speak the scriptures into our lives, as God directs, that help us spiritually.
The next fruit of the Spirit that I want to discuss is the fruit of Gentleness and Goodness. I want to discuss both these fruit in this message: Gentleness is a “kindly” disposition towards others while goodness is an activity that one takes on behalf of someone else that demonstrates this gentleness. Goodness is an action that is taken because of gentleness in ones heart. Another word for gentleness is kindness. Without gentleness (kindness) there is no manifested goodness. Eph. 4 verse 32 states that we need to be kind to one another….In Mt. 5 verse 13-16, Jesus talks about the fact that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Salt is a type of kindness where light is a person’s good works or goodness. In 1 Thess. 2 verse 7-10 the word shows that kindness precedes goodness when Paul says that he was gentle among them (verse 7) and how he behaved holily, justly and unblameably among them (verse 10). Kindness causes acts of goodness.
Gentleness is the Greek word “christotes” which means “usefulness.” One who loses his kindly disposition loses his usefulness for God! If the enemy can steal or distract the fruit of kindness, than the fruit of goodness will automatically wither.
The main function of the fruit of kindness is to enables believers to be the salt of the earth: There are two effects of kindness that may be compared to salt: a.) salt prepares soil for bearing fruit so kindness prepares hearts of unbelievers for receiving the seed of reconciliation or salvation. Being kind to a non-believer can open the door for that person to get saved. b.) salt always tastes the same in any restaurant-kindness is no respecter of persons (Mk 9 verse 50).
Areas where believers must remain salty or kind:
1.) With unbelievers- to bring one to salvation as I mentioned earlier.
2.) With spouse and children- 1 Tim. 5 verse 8 “If any provide not for his own and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worst than an infidel.
3.) Sound speech- salt is like an antiseptic for the mouth- Col. 4 verse 6- our speech needs to be seasoned with salt.
There are three effects of kindness:
1.) Will enable a believer to turn away from wrath (Prov. 15 verse 1). How many arguments could be avoided as a result?
2.) Will enable a mouth to withhold from wounding- Prov. 18 verse 8 – “the wounds of a talebearer are as wounds…”
3.) Will stop strife- strife will continue until it comes to someone walking in the fruit of kindness – Prov. 26 verse 20.
In Mt. 5 verse 15, 16 a ‘bushel” will block the light. A bushel is anything that would block the fruit of kindness from coming out. There are three major “bushels:”
1.) Offense-if one is offended than their disposition can change. Two effects of being offended are hatred and betrayal. Ways to overcome “offense:” a.) through the word (Ps. 119 verse 165), b.) by the love of God- 1 Cor. 13 verse 4-7, c.) praying in the Spirit- Jude 20, 21, d.) through ministry- Jesus washed his disciple feet (Jn. 13 verse 15).
2.) Intimidation is another “bushel” – 2 Tim. 1 verse 7 “fear” is another word for “shyness”. Being shy can stop the fruit of kindness from developing. A person can be too shy to show kindness to someone because they are shy and timid. To become “bold” –a.) spend time with Jesus Acts 4 verse 1-3, b.) ask Him for boldness – Acts 4 verse 29-31, c. pray for one another – Eph. 6 verse 18-20.
We must develop the fruit of kindness (gentleness) and goodness in order to be like Jesus: He is gentleness (Mt. 9 verse 22) He demonstrated these fruit when He said: “be of good comfort (Jn. 15 verse 9), “be not afraid” (Mt 14 verse 27), “weep not” (Lu. 7 verse 13), “be of good cheer” (Mt. 14 verse 27). He also demonstrated His gentleness when he cleansed the leper (Lu. 17 verse 14), He healed the sick (Mt. 4 verse 24), raised the dead (Jn. 11 verse 44)….
Again, the fruit of kindness (gentleness) and goodness need to be cultivated and the evidence of this fruit is truly worth the effort.