Galatians 5:22-23 – The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness.

King David gave this testimony of the Lord in 2 Samuel 22:36, “Your gentleness has made me great” (NKJV).  In 2 Samuel 22, David wrote a song to the Lord in gratitude for God’s deliverance from the hands of his enemies, including King Saul.  David began by declaring that the Lord is his rock, his fortress, and his deliverer. In verse 36 (KJV), David spoke of God’s “gentleness.”  In the NASB, the word gentleness is translated “help.”  Gentleness speaks of the Lord’s help.  Our God is an ever-present help in the time of need for He said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you, so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?’”  (Hebrews 13:5-6). The writer of Hebrews also exhorted us by saying, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). In all these exhortations, we find the gentleness of the Lord revealed.

The Scriptures repeat David’s conviction of God’s help in Psalm 18:35. “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great.”  In this verse, the translators use the word gentleness.   Paul, as he instructed the church at Corinth, spoke about the attitude in which he handled them.  “Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!” (2 Corinthians 10:1).  Paul strongly depended upon Christ and His meek and gentle spirit to be manifested in and through him as he ministered to God’s people. Before Paul’s encounter with Jesus, he was hard and legalistic in his dealings with God’s people. Later, as Christ’s apostle to the Gentiles, he was the representative of Christ. He understood that it was Christ’s Spirit in him ministering to the Lord’s people.

The fruit of the Spirit in the believer is gentle.  He administers the salvation of God with gentleness and meekness.  God does not come with the attitude, “I am the Lord, and you had better obey me”!  Rather, He draws us to Himself through His mercy and grace.  He takes His time ministering His salvation to each of us.  At times, He cries for the lost through an intercessor. Other times, He lays His burden for the salvation of a person on the heart of a believer.  The Spirit of God is gentle in His dealings.  The testimony of David should be ours as well.

Father, I pray for the Holy Spirit to give me the shield of salvation for every problem I face.  I ask You to uphold me with the nature of Jesus and then to strengthen me with Your gentleness. Make me great for Your Glory.  Your right hand upholds me, and Your gentleness makes me great.