Day 11


from the The Fruit of the Spirit reading plan

Isaiah 40:9-11 NIV, Matthew 11:28-30, 2 Corinthians 10:1-18, Titus 3:1-2, James 3:13, 1 Peter 3:13-17

BY Erin Davis

In an instant, the whole world seemed to fall away. We had just been told that our unborn child had serious and life-threatening medical issues. The doctor delivering the news was clinical…cold…indifferent. To her, this was just another baby who might not make it. To us, it was a category five hurricane of fear, stress, and pain. 

As the doctor rattled off our options (none of them good), my heart started to race and my palms became sweaty. I was having trouble comprehending the information. I fought simultaneous urges to either bolt from the room and melt into the exam table. Then came the hand…

The ultrasound tech sitting beside me reached out his hand and held mine. He didn’t say a word. His gift to me was a soft touch. It was a simple, sweet gesture loaded with power. His gentleness put an oxygen mask on my heart. I could breathe again. I could think again. I could face my new reality. All because a stranger tenderly reached toward me. 

Encounters with true gentleness are rare. As broken people in a broken world, this is not our way, not our natural inclination. As I reflect on how I interact with others most often it’s clear: if life is a china shop, then I am a bull. In my flesh, I barrel my way through conversations, I crash through conflicts, I careen through daily life. Jesus reaches toward us with a different way, though—the way of gentleness. 

The book of Isaiah records the prophet’s description of God’s power (Isaiah 40:10). But then Isaiah seems to make a hard right:

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young (Isaiah 40:11, NIV).

God doesn’t have mood swings. He isn’t one or the other—He is both. He is unmatched in both power and gentleness (Matthew 11:29). He commands heaven’s armies (Psalm 46:7) and tenderly leads His flock. He is the roaring lion of Judah and our precious Passover Lamb. All of this points to His power, which is strong enough to destroy sin and death and gentle enough to woo us toward Him with His grace. 

As God’s children, the Spirit teaches us to live in this remarkable tension. We don’t have to clamor for attention, for influence, for power. Our lives can gently whisper about God’s goodness. And the world who is in the eye of the hurricane of sin and darkness will listen. God’s gentleness, extended through us, is so shocking it warrants attention. Jesus, in His mercy, has reached His gentle hand toward us. May the power of His Spirit help us reach out in gentleness toward others. 

Lord, thank you for being our powerfully gentle Savior. Teach us to be more like you. Amen.

Post Comments (44)

44 thoughts on "Gentleness"

  1. Gail F says:

    Gods timing is perfect. Thank you Erin for sharing your story. Reminding me of the gentleness that I have experienced in tough times has brought me to tears of joy and gratitude. I hope that God gives me what it takes to be that for someone else.

  2. Taylor says:

    What an incredible God we serve who is unmatched in both power and gentleness (like Nhu said He is the entire spectrum!) I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for this community!

  3. Jessica Hargett says:

    Thank you for this. In my small world of influence, I know that even I can have the potential to change things. Praying that I show gentleness instead of anger or jealousy or impatience or comparison or whatever else tries to steal the joy that Christ has so graciously given. Praying for a gentle spirit in such a time when people and myself need it most.

  4. ERB says:

    Esther and Sarah, we are a day behind here in the states too! At first I thought it was because of Thanksgiving.. but I brought up the He Reads Truth website and found the readings there!! I will post today’s reading from He Reads Truth (day 12) in the comments here…

    Scripture Reading: Matthew 23:1-28, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, 2 Peter 1:3-11

    If you’ve never taught a room full of 5th graders a Bible lesson right before lunch, let me paint you a picture. With each passing minute, they become increasingly restless, and they cannot resist the urge to squirm, wiggle, sigh, and fidget. There I am, pouring my heart out, and I can’t understand why they aren’t sitting still and listening with rapt attention. But you see, I am the one thing standing between them and having lunch, laughing out loud, and enjoying each other’s company. In short, I don’t stand a chance by the end of class.

    Parents and teachers attempt to train children to exhibit self-control, though it runs counter to everything their bodies and minds are telling them: Get up! Move! Run! Laugh! Move some more! They seem determined to rail against any directive to control themselves physically. (It would seem the training has not been effective.)

    Meanwhile, I’m facing my own internal struggle. As I push through my lesson, straining toward the finish line, I grow more and more impatient with the rising tide of squirminess. My heartbeat quickens as initially innocent wiggles evolve into a full-blown mutiny against my authority. At this point, I am outside of myself; any internal fortitude of my own has been exhausted. There’s nothing I can do by my own strength to meet this ostensible insubordination with the peace, patience, gentleness, and joy that I know the Lord desires from me, and that I know the children need.

    Ironically, I’m standing before them essentially preaching the “more excellent way” of love in Christ, and I am on the verge of demonstrating the exact opposite. How much easier it would be to raise my voice and foam at the mouth in order to regain control of the class! Students sense the end of class, and some of them start to pack up because they just can’t sit still one moment longer. Chicken tenders and chocolate milk are just around the corner, and they have forgotten I exist. As I feel myself teeter over the edge, I am convicted by the words of Matthew 23: I am like a whitewashed tomb, appearing righteous and clean on the outside, but filled with hypocrisy and wickedness (vv.27–28).

    “Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything.
    They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown” (1Corinthians 9:25).

    But I simply cannot manufacture the self-control I require. If I rely on my own strength, I become a blind and ineffective guide to the precious children He has placed in my care. I need to remember that the Spirit of the Lord lives within me, bringing freedom. As I contemplate His glory, I recall His promise to transform me into His image (2Corinthians 3:18). I need the Lord Himself to bear the fruit of His Spirit within me. Only then can I exercise the self-control I need to love my students as Jesus would have me love them—with justice and mercy, with faithfulness and patience, with peace and gentleness.

    Written by Alex Florez

  5. Blessed Beth says:

    I love this, as I am a person of few words, to just put my hands on one’s shoulder or hold them has often been how God has often directed me. I praise God for the ability to touch and the power it holds in one’s heart.

  6. Sarah Cooper says:

    I assumed it was just the time difference from when they release them in the US

  7. Esther says:

    Is anyone else finding they’re a day behind? It’s day 12 here in the UK but it’s day 11 on the website. It was a day behind yesterday as well…

  8. Natasha R says:

    I am secure in Christ. I don’t have to hustle or compete for power or resources – He will protect and provide. That security allows me to be gentle to others. I pray that I be God’s gentle hand that reaches out to comfort and soothe.

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