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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

May 22, 2014 - The Spiritual Fruit of Gentleness

By William E. Richardson

"But the fruit of the Spirit is ... gentleness" (Galatians 5:22,23, NASB).

A few years ago I visited someone in a neighborhood that was new to me. I found the address, parked my car, and got out. I started up the sidewalk to the house. A dog across the street began barking. Then the ugly, shaggy canine ran toward me, growling.

I continued walking. By the time I reached the front door the dog had reached me. He continued growling while nipping at my heels.

A man appeared in the same yard the dog came from, calling its name. The dog ignored his owner. The man called to me, "Don't worry. He won't hurt you." That's not the message I got from the dog. His owner crossed the street with a rolled up newspaper, which persuaded the aggressive animal to return home.

The eighth fruit of the Spirit, which is listed in Galatians 5:23, sheds light on that situation, or its opposite. Most modern Bible versions use the word "gentleness." Older translations preferred the term "meekness." Either way, it means power under control. It originally related to a tamed horse. The word fits any living, breathing being that submits to its master.

By definition, a Christian's gentleness toward other human beings reflects the believer's submission to God. We have the power to say and do a variety of things. But we stay under control because we're under God's control.

There are emotions we strongly feel, but don't express. There are things we sometimes want very much to say, but we hold them in. We could react in certain ways in certain situations, but if we did we wouldn't be submitting to God.

What we don't say and how we don't say it matters too. It may help to pray like former Senate chaplain Peter Marshall: "Keep me from unkind words and from unkind silences."

Gentleness as spiritual fruit is spiritual strength. It's surrendering to God the power we could use for ourselves, and instead honoring Him with the power we should use in His service. It's not weakness; it's submission. Gentleness is placing ourselves under the control of our Master's voice and obeying how He leads us (John 10:4).

May you bear abundant fruit of gentleness today.

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and blogs at




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