Ladies Bible Study
The Fruits of Gentleness and Kindness
Luke 2:10-14: Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12. "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.'' 13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!''
Jesus Christ came to Earth to bring peace and good will toward men.
Acts 10:38: "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
During His entire life time, Jesus Christ went about all Judea doing good.
How does this quality of character Jesus exhibited translate into our lives?
Galatians 5:22-23:. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Today we are going to look at three fruits of the spirit and see how Godís goodness as manifested through the life of Jesus Christ the Lord is to be seen in each of our lives.
We are not taking them in order, but I want you to look at verse 22, for the first fruit listed is love. Love is the most basic component of Godís Character. God is love!
1 John 4:7-11: 7. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Clearly love was the driving force behind every action of God, in sending Jesus to die for us and it should be the driving force in all our actions also.
How is this love manifested? By the cultivation of the fruits of the spirit, today letís look at gentleness, kindness and goodness.
The Dake Bible defines gentleness as meekness Ė the disposition to be gentle, kind, indulgent, even balanced in tempers and passions, and patient in suffering injuries without feeling a spirit of revenge.
It means to be meek or humble, it is a form of self control that only Christ alone can give. It is demonstrated in a submissive attitude to God and man.
Psalms 25:9: The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way.
The key to developing gentleness is humility and submissiveness. This is a hard "pill for the woman of today to swallow"! We are not taught to be humble or submissive. We have been indoctrinated with the attitude of what any man can do I can do as good or better, and sadly this spills over into our relationship to God, because it interferes with our ability to be submissive.
Matthew 5:5: 5. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Here the Dake Bible further defines it as mild tempered and gentle spirit.
1 Peter 3:4: 4. but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
So we can see by these Scriptures that developing a gentle spirit is very precious to God.
A Gentle person is one who is:
Jesus was gentle:
Matthew 11: 29-30: Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.''
that the Old Testament Word for gentle is anah, which describes the condition of a grain of wheat that is mature and so full of the fruit of the grain that the tender stalk cannot stand under the weight and is bowed down, full of fruit.
This is the posture we should strive for.
1 Peter 3:1-6: Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2. when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3. Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on fine apparel; 4. but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6. as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
We are to cloth ourselves in a submissive gentle spirit which in itself is the greatest adornment a born again woman of God can have!
We put on submission first to God, then our husbands, and we exhibit Godly behavior in all we do.
Verse 4 says a "gentle and quiet spirit," gentle means docile and gentle cooperation and quiet refers to acceptance of life in general. Looking at it another way, a gentle person "doesnít make waves", she is like a calm lake and not angry waves break on the surf. A quiet spirit takes with tranquility the calamities of life, knowing that God is for her and she does not have to fight her own battles. Amen?
All of this takes faith, absolute trust in God.
Proverbs 3:5-6: 5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6. in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
The Hebrew Word (per Elizabeth, George- A Womanís Walk with God), actually implies lying helplessly, face down before God, which leads to absolute confidence in Him. So basically the posture of a gentle person is spiritually face down before God, totally dependent on Him. Is this your posture before God?
5. "Takes it", a humble spirit who has no desire to "give it back". How many times, with
your friends, family or at work have you heard, someone say, "I donít have to take that, they are not respecting me or are being rude to me." So What???
If Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, can be sit upon, his beard plucked out, beaten senseless and raw, and nailed to a cross, you can take a little disrespect and rudeness in you life. Amen!!
What is the answer? This leads us to the next fruit of the spirit- Kindness.
I had a suitemate in nursing school, who whenever I would get upset with someone or about something, she would say, "kill it with kindness." I never understood that until lately. Letís look at Kindness as the next fruit we want to cultivate.
Kindness is one of the characteristics of God. He is kind and merciful.
Nehemiah 9:17:. They refused to obey, and they were not mindful of Your wonders that You did among them. But they hardened their necks, and in their rebellion they appointed a leader to return to their bondage. But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.
Psalms 17:6-8: I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. 7. Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You From those who rise up against them.
Psalms 25:6 Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old.
Kindness should be one of the most basic human virtues that help govern human relationships. We as women of God are called to be kind.
Ephesians 4:25-32: Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26. "Be angry, and do not sin'': do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27. nor give place to the devil. 28. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.
These verses list things a kind person is to stop doing and also things a kind person is to start doing. We are to speak truth, not to let the sun go down on our anger, not give place to the devil, work with our hands, give to those in need, communicate only good things not corrupt things. In other words watch what comes out of your mouth. We are not to be bitter, anger, clamorous or contentious, and we are not to gossip. We are to kind to one another, tenderhearted, walking in forgiveness, just as God forgave us.
A "tall order" isnít it?
So how do we do this?
Kindness means tenderness and concern for others. Others welfare is as important to us as our own. It means being aware of problems others have and searching for a way to help without being nosey or spreading gossip. It is yes, here it is, a sweet spirit, a true matter of the heart.
Kindness looks for or plans to something, to find ways to help.
We develop kindness by waiting on the Lord, we donít react but we act!
Kindness is the building block of goodness and we will be discussing goodness next month.
The opposite of kindness is meanness. We all have a tendency to mean occasionally, it is something the flesh produces and we need to conquer it daily. You cannot have kind thoughts or be kind to someone you are angry with, hurt by or jealous of.
Kindness walks in love at all times:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a: Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5. does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6. does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7. bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8. Love never failsÖ
When you let these characteristics of love flow out of you, kindness is sure to follow.
Kindness always thinks of others first:
Philippians 2:3-4: Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
We are not to get "big headed" or proud or "too big for our britches"! When you make yourself stop and think what will make your husbandís or childrenís day easier, you will stop putting yourself first and will begin to act in kindness. Kindness is caring for everyone not just our family or friends but for those who spitefully use us.
Luke 6:27-31:. "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28. "bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
29. "To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30. "Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31. "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
When we make an active decision to be kind to people who spitefully use us, who are unkind to us, who we dislike, we open ourselves up to life changing things from God!
God will use these opportunities to teach us something about ourselves. To show us the area we need to change, areas that are causing you problems.
Are you judgmental?
Are you opinionated?
Are you quick to react and speak unkindly?
If this describes you, then get before God and repent, so that you can mature and move on.
We need to look around us with Godís eyes. Look at the person who is giving you trouble, not at the way they treat you, but beneath the surface, and ask God to reveal to you what the real problem is. As my friend in nursing school said, Kill it with kindness"!
A kind person is a person who touches.
Not everyone we meet is a "touch feely" type of person. But there will be a time in everyoneís life that the simple act of touching someone when you are talking with them or giving them a simple hug that can lift them form the pit of despair and we may not even realize it. The Bible tells us that the small foxes spoil the vines, but it is also the little acts that build an attitude of kindness. You have to start small and build the attitude of kindness, it will not just happen over night.
"Kindness is the ability to love people more than they deserve," Elizabeth George, A Womanís Walk with God.
Let us strive today to develop gentleness and kindness in our lives and move on to the Godly action of goodness, which we will discuss in length next month.