Tuesday, July 19, 2011

fresh from the Word

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is not law.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desire of the flesh.

Definition of "gentle":  kindly; moderate; a mild breeze, usually one with the velocity of no more than 12 miles/hour.

Joan C. Webb, author of It's a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life, states "I'd like to be less obsessive, less intense...going through each day at a moderate pace" rather than "running through life like a high-velocity wind..."

When I came upon such a concept, it hit me.  Like a ton of bricks.  I'm not really all that gentle.  Not in my ideas.  Not in my speech.  Not even in the way I live my life.  In fact, I see myself more as a merciless bulldozer.  My personality can most definitely be defined as a "high-velocity wind," at times, leaving destruction in my wake!  So how do I obtain this gentle quality?

Gentleness is suppose to be a natural by-product of living in the Spirit.  But does that mean those qualities do not require practice or continued development?  By living in the Spirit, do I automatically show the perfect amount of gentleness to everyone and everything that crosses my path?  

I'm not entirely sure, but I have a sense the answer is both "yes" and "no".  I think it comes "naturally" because Christ dwells in those of us who claim Him as our Savior, therefore, we have a supernatural connection to a source of power from which we may obtain the freedom to develop, express and live out such a quality.  However, I also believe, those qualities are not all a part of everybody's individual personality.  Therefore, God must aid you in developing them.  {Please correct me if I am wrong...}

Stop.  And imagine with me for a moment:  you are standing outside and along comes a cool, gentle breeze that lightly sweeps across your face...

I would love to have that effect on people whenever I touch their lives.  Wouldn't you?  To be a refreshing gentle breeze.  And to have those people walk away feeling enlivened, invigorated and feel as if new life has just been breathed into their lungs...

I believe that can only be accomplished by forcing yourself to slow down.  Take life in, rather than striving so hard to pump life out.  By carving out a specific time in your day that you can spend with God...alone.  Learning about and from Him.  And talking with God about your desire for gentleness, through prayer.

"Walk in the Spirit" and you will be "...gentle..."
or said another way
Learning and practicing produces your spiritual muscle memory.

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Maybe gentleness is already a part of your personality package.  However, is there another specific quality you would like God to develop in you this year?

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Come on over and join in!

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Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer's year - it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul. -Unknown