This week we welcome guest blogger, Daymarr Jackson. In addition to being Faith Church’s youth leader, Daymarr is a Chaplain candidate in the PA Army National Guard, and a MDiv student at Evangelical Seminary. Daymarr and his wife, Danielys, have two children. This week he continues our series on the Fruit of the Spirit.
How do you think people who are not believers in Jesus Christ perceive the church? What one word would they use to describe how they perceive the church?
Arrogant, hypocritical, judgmental?
All of these words are so far away from gentle. It’s funny because Christ himself, as he describes the very nature of his heart, says, “I am gentle, and lowly in heart.” If that is the posture of Christ’s heart, should not our posture be the same?
I want to start in Galatians 5:19-24, as we’ve been reading, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; as I’ve warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Paul next say, “But…” because there’s something that he wants us to recognize. That is that the way of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit, is contrary to these things. People who walk in Spirit don’t walk in the ways that he has just listed. So he says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and its desires.”
I’m not naturally a gentle person. You may not know me very well, but the way that I grew up, gentleness was not something that was really embraced or that was taught to me, or a character that was truly valued. I was always told things like, “Be tough, man up, stop crying.” I had a coach that told me one time, “Are you hurt? Or are you injured? Because if you’re just hurt, you can keep playing.” Also, I was always told to be rough, to be tough, to be hard. So my perception of gentleness would be that gentleness would be weakness, that to be gentle would mean that you’re weak.
But I’ve learned that gentleness is an attribute of the strong. Those who are able to practice gentleness are actually exercising strength. I found this definition: “Gentleness is the sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior founded on strength and prompted by love.” I love that it’s founded on strength and prompted by love.
What does Scripture have to say about gentleness? We’ll take a look at that in the next post.