Devotion #62

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

Gentleness is an inward calmness and a peace with God. It is a soft and tender disposition and a carefulness of attitude. We achieve gentleness when we completely surrender to God’s will and His way in our life. It is simply not possible without the grace of Holy Spirit washing over us because gentleness is not in our nature. Our culture teaches us that hostility and harsh demands are appropriate when we have been wronged. We have been conditioned to stand up for ourselves when offended. Gentle stands down instead of stands up because it does not want to tempt anger.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Gentleness may surrender the battle, but it wins the war.

Proverbs 15:1 ESV

Some may perceive gentleness as weak because of its refusal to use power to harm another, even when the world justifies a strong response. Gentle people know there are careful ways to bring about change or to stand up for what is right; they know how to lead or persuade people without manipulation or a harsh tone. A gentle person chooses a kind or soft response because gentleness is rooted in love. It makes the choice not to be harsh or angry because demonstrating love is far more important than being right. Gentle is how we are supposed to live in our marriages. 1 Peter 3:4 tells wives we are to have a “gentle and quiet spirit” with our husbands, and that this attitude is “in God’s sight is very precious.” Culture does not teach us to be “gentle and quiet” wives, and those two qualities are surely not innate, but since we are told they are “very precious” in the eyes of God, my desire is to grow in these attributes. Knowing I do not possess the ability in my own power, my only option is to surrender my desires and choose His. When God is my first priority, it becomes so much easier to choose gentleness as a response. Gentleness is an attribute of God that we take on as we grow more and more like Jesus. 

I just love the moments when I feel this sense of gentleness in my soul. In those moments, I can see the storm raging, but I know with confidence that He is at work, and my heart is at peace. This is an attribute of the Holy Spirit for which I am particularly grateful, and it is the first one I truly remember experiencing. It is that inexplicable calmness or peace when chaos swarms around me, and the confidence that He is with me and He is sovereign over everything. 

In order to allow the Holy Spirit to fill our souls with gentleness, we not only need to stop fighting God’s plan and submit our will for His will, we need to confess our desire to take control of our spouses, of our marriages, of our agendas. We need to humble ourselves, choosing not to be prideful or arrogant, or demanding our way, and ask for forgiveness. When we have a gentle heart, we are obedient to what we are taught, regardless of who God chooses as our instructor or what God chooses to instruct.

When we have truly surrendered our will to God’s plan, a gentleness takes over our heart and impacts our interactions with others. When we trust that He is in control, that He is working in the hearts of those around us at His pace and not ours, when we understand the gift of grace and mercy that He so freely gives to us, it is easier to extend grace in our marriages.

Press on, ladies ~ you are loved 💗

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