Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Flourishing Fruit

In Other Words quote for October 12, 2007

Gentleness is part of being feminine - part of being a woman, and God made us distinctly different from men on purpose!” ~ Melanie Chitwood

Many of us have memorized in our minds the fruit of the spirit. We can run through the list quite fast….love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control….yet we fail to stop and hesitate at each fruit. Stopping long enough to think about what each one means and how we can grow them.

We are taught to be fruit inspectors but it’s usually for other people’s fruit. Looking over what they are producing to see if its what they should or shouldn’t be. The fruit inspection needs to start in our own orchard. For example with gentleness, is it a fruit that is flourishing in our lives? Frequently it can be one that is overlooked, or rambled by in a quick recital of the list.

As Melanie Chitwood stated gentleness is part of being feminine, part of being a woman. A good characteristic that even Jesus displayed in His life for us to follow His example. It’s definitely not a sign of being weak or wimpy that some would like to portray it as. It’s one of great strength as we learn to control ourselves and be patient.

Jesus was gentle yet firm, He got His point across without harsh words and we can do that as well. We don’t need the blows of a sledgehammer to get our husband’s attention or our kids to mind. Hold on, hold on….I know some will differ with me here. Trust me, I’ve been there and it seems like it does take a sledgehammer (yelling, nagging, harshness, threats) sometimes but that doesn’t make it the solution or the answer. In Proverbs 15:1 is tells us that “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NAS) If you’ve ever tried the two different approaches you can see the truth in this verse.

When looking around gentleness appears to be a virtue that is slowly fading away and we can’t allow that to happen. We find ourselves falling for Satan’s lie that harshness is a way of survival in an often-tough world when it’s more of a suicidal technique for our soul and our families. The time is now to turn the tables on Satan and allow gentleness to grow within us. We can do this by enjoying God’s quiet presence, practicing patience, thinking before we speak, and learning from others who have the growing process down quite well in how to be a gentle spirit.

Most people can name or reflect back upon a woman they knew that had that gentle spirit in them. The recollections that come to mind are always good ones. It’s our responsibility as women in Christ to set that example to other woman around us instead of letting others do it so we don’t have to. It’s a practice that won’t hinder us but help us. It won’t slow us down but speed us up to being all that we need to be in Christ. God definitely made us distinctly different than men on purpose and how we handle gentleness is one area where it shows.

“’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.’” Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

CLOSING THOUGHT: Learn from Jesus. There’s no better teacher that we can ask for. We are not in some kind of correspondence course that we can download one lesson from the Bible and not another. Instead of trying to exclude gentleness from our orchard of fruit we need to learn how to grow it. Practicing what it takes to keep it healthy and flourishing. To be the kind of fruit that people would pick and get nourishment from instead of one that gets tossed in the rotten fruit bins for the hogs to eat.

The host this week is Iris over at Sting my Heart. Go over there and read what others have to say about today's quote. Stop by and share your thoughts as well.


MiPa said...

Lovely thoughts. Bless you for sharing.

lori said...

"Instead of trying to exclude gentleness from our orchard of fruit we need to learn how to grow it." amen...
I loved that!!
wonderful, wise words...as usual I look forward to my visit here to see what you have to say!
peace and gentleness...

Heather Cox said...

Oh ouch! We know the fruit but we're not practicing them! That's me - I'm good at seeing the lack of fruit in others sometimes but not so good at working on my own vineyard! Good reminders.

Loni said...

Ohhhh, I loved your thoughts here! Thank you so much for sharing!


Amy Grant Bayliss said...

OK... I've got to say it....

You should write a book based on this post alone! I would be the first to buy it. This was so good and such a loving reminder. I started to copy and paste a quote or two to emphasize which I liked best but the truth is that they were all so good! I was truly blessed by this today!

Thank you!

eph2810 said...

What a beautiful reflection on this week's IOW quote. It is so true, we can learn from Him who was gentle like a lamb, but got also His point across.

Thank you so much for sharing.

Blessings to you and yours.