Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One WFW, I began a Fruit of the Spirit theme. My first post started with the verse, and each week I have been led to post one on each fruit. I have posted on love, joy , peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.

This week's fruit is gentleness. This picture tells the story of gentleness.

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."

~ Ephesians 4:2

This is a picture of Kristyn, my bonus daughter, who was 22 when Nolan was born, taken by her husband Corey. If you knew my daughter's eyes as I know them, you would see them as I saw them, full of post-partum depression, operating on very little sleep, scared because her baby was so "floppy". He came home from the hospital weighing 5 lb., 3 oz., and at the time this picture was taken, he was recovering from jaundice and had his days and nights mixed up. But look at her hand on that precious baby. She was so gentle with him, despite her circumstances. She was humbled at being a new Mommy, and was very patient and gentle, bearing with him in love. It's a perfect picture of gentleness to me. (Notice Curious George beside her? That's not Nolan's toy, hah hah! Curious George was with her even in labor!)

And now, onto gentleness....I found in Easton's Bible Dictionary that gentleness, or meekness, means in part, a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked.

In times past, I have thought of meekness as being weak, but it's not.

Christ and Moses, along with Abraham, David, and Paul are referenced in the full defintion as being gentle and meek. Their tender spirits working with the wisdom of not being easily provoked inspire me.

At times these men could be very bold, and certainly all were powerful, especially Christ; however, power and boldness is not what totally characterized their lives when they were on earth, in fact, I think it was a fruit of their lives.

I believe it could be said that gentleness is "power or boldness under control."

Let's look at illness and vaccines as an illustration. Without the flu vaccine, illness would start running rampant and become a world-wide plague. It would be out of control. But scientists and great doctors have developed a vaccine that has brought influenza into a controlled enviornment and has saved many from not only illness but a lot of them from death!
Christ offers us a great exchange (or even vaccine) for the illness in our lives. When we feel like we're spinning out of control and need to be reigned in, He offers...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." ~ Matthew 11:28-30

It's up to us to come to Him and receive the rest and gentleness He so richly and freely offers.

Definining the place that gentleness has in our lives as Christians is easy, given the fact that it is a fruit of the Spirit.

"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 sinful nature with its passions and desires." ~ Galatians 5:22-24 (Emphasis, mine)

Sometimes being gentle is the last thing we want to be, but knowing we, as Christians, should bear this as a fruit in our life make it worth striving for. Although it may go against our grain, we read above that when we belong to Christ, we have victory to cultivate and grow this fruit.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Philippians 4:4-6

As we walk with Christ, we should let our gentleness be evident to all, even when we are anxious, worried, tried and oppressed. Let's let it be our fruit, borne from the Spirit within us.

"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit." ~ Matthew 7:16-18

The good fruit of gentleness in controlling our behavior regardless of our circumstances will be a glory to God the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. When we stay connected to the Vine, bearing this fruit will be easy.

Father, I ask for an extra measure of your grace as I seek to honor You by bearing the fruit of gentleness in my life. I want it to be evident to all, not for my glory but for Yours. I want to honor You in all the fruit that I bear, and I trust Your Word when it says that a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Help me exchange my burdens and weariness for the humbleness and gentleness of Your precious light and easy yoke. Let me cultivate characteristics of gentleness, such as being kind, even-tempered, and totally humble to You, oh Lord. Thank You for being my Gardener. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Please visit Amydeanne, hostess of Word Filled Wednesday, to see what she and the others are blessing us with left and right in their posts.


Peggy said...

Blessings Laurie Ann, Another very
WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY with a power packed lesson on gentleness! Thank you for sharing about this sweet mom & baby! How special they are! Very beautiful Prayer! Thank you for the
Bible lesson and I miss the acrostic/acronym whichever for GENTLENESS! God Eases New Tempers
Lovingly, Easily, Never provoked,
Effortlessly Seized Supernaturally!
Enjoy WFW and thanks so much!

Nancie said...

Thank you for this encouraging post, Laurie Ann. Thank you for sharing with us the meaning of gentleness or meekness, and how this can be manifested in our life as we submit to God's molding. May God enable us to reflect this gentleness and meekness so that others may see Him in us. I need this reminder! Thanks for sharing the picture. Praying that Kristyn is well now. Take care and happy WFW!

Homesteader in Training said...

Oh precious little one! I can see all that in her eyes my friend as I've been there and know her thoughts but like you said despite all that, she held that precious one with great care and gentleness. Oh I just want to kiss that baby's face.

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

I love that you call her your bonus daughter and can describe her so well as I have a bonus mom and I'm quite sure she can do the same. It's rare but beautiful. And your description of gentleness is one we should use in all of our relationships isn't it? Thank you for the great wisdom.

Blessings to you today :)

SmallWorld at Home said...

What a beautiful picture. I love how you, as the mother, see the tiredness in her eyes but also the gentle hand protecting her little one. Great post.

Meg said...

What a lovely picture! Thank you for the verse. I can always use a reminder to be patient and gentle. God bless!

Kristi said...

Sweet! Sweet! Thanks for the reminder to be gentle and patient.

LAURIE said...

Great post Laurie Ann on gentleness. Thanks for sharing it (and your bonus daughter) with us today! -Blessings, Laurie

Nicole said...

What a precious picture of your daughter! I added your blog to my favorites so that I will know when you post. If this is not okay please let me know!



Anonymous said...

Lovely verse and photo today. We have a Curious George in our house too. My 8-year-old loves little George.

Anonymous said...

another thought provoking post...and great photo. That verse is a wonderful reminder about gentleness.

Blessings to you today.

LauraLee Shaw said...

This post is incredibly tender and moving, and that picture and verse is especially meaningful. You are a very gifted teacher.

Patricia Warren said...

Wonderful post, Laurie Ann! I love studying and learning to develop the fruits of the spirit in my own life.

My husband is teaching a Wednesday night Bible study on Jerry Bridges' book "The Practice of Godliness." We haven't gotten to gentleness. Tonight is on self-control...And Mr. Bridges pulls no punches and shows how the Bible allows no wiggle room when it comes to obedience in these areas.

Thanks for your post!

Joyfull said...

Beautiful picture! Thank for you sharing the words behind the picture. Truly a picture of gentleness. I am enjoying reading about the Fruits of the Spirit each week!

JesusRulzMe said...

Laurie Ann, I'm grasping better why you call this precious one your "bonus daughter" all the see Christ's love displayed in a personal time of trial...yes, a sweet child like this is truly a bonus to ANY one!!!

Thank you for sharing sweet sister,

Melanie said...

Beautiful Post, Laurie Ann! And what a sweet picture of Kristyn and Nolan... I certainly can see the gentleness in this picture. It is so hard as a first time mommy operating on little sleep and scared that you are doing everything right, but at the same time loving that little baby with more love than you could EVER imagine having for another human being! This is a VERY special photo you have here.

Happy WFW, my friend!

Anonymous said...

What a precious picture and the story that went along with it was just beautiful, thanks for sharing :)

lori said...

I LOVE this's such a great way to bring the verse alive....I WISH I'd have thought of post was beautiful too...:)

BIG GIANT thank you's for your SWEET words know, I have a creative side that I just don't always have as much time as I'd like for and this has just proven to be such a wonderful outlet for me...I really could spend HOURS playing around with images...I just wish I knew how to do more....
Your words meant a lot...I pray that they touch lives in some little way...

Peace Laurie Ann,
Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

Laurie Ann, thank you for sharing this with us...I am deeply moved....

Amydeanne said...

your daughter is beautiful and i love how you described her.... (and i'd never guess you had a 22yr old!)

a very powerful post!

God Bless!!

Carrie said...

You've given a wonderful real-life example of the text's meaning.

God Chaser said...

Great post and picture. I love the prayer, I pray it with you. Thanks so much for sharing and teaching,

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Oh Laurie Ann,

You must feel such joy.... ~ A beautiful BEAUTIFUL PHOTO and sweet lesson on gentleness. Boy, did this bring back memories of having a new baby... and the fears and .... that lack of sleep you mentioned... Ohmy.
I'll be praying Kristyn can catch extra zzzz's whenever she can and that her confidence in having a newborn babe quickly becomes second nature...