Updated: Feb 1
The eighth description of the fruit which the Holy Spirit produces in our lives is ‘gentleness.’ The word the New Testament uses for gentleness is ‘prautes.’ An interesting point to note is in the origins of this word, which is derived from ‘praus’ which is the Greek word for meekness, which can be described as ‘gentle strength.’
The Spirit is powerful, and we are given access to that power. Gentleness, meekness—‘prautes’—is recognizing that we are not the source of that power, but the instrument of it. And as that instrument, we are under God’s control. We are not to wield that power without purpose. Gentleness is not the relinquishing of that power but bringing it under the authority of the Father.
It is the opposite of arrogance, which is the ‘unholy trinity’ of ‘I, me and myself’ exercising power independently and selfishly.
Vine's Expository Dictionary defines ‘prautes’ as: an attitude toward God, submitting one's self to God, not resisting God, confident in God's presence, authority, and power. ‘Prautes’ gives calmness of spirit from a mental focus which is not on self or prioritizing personal desires.... ‘Prautes’ seeks and wants what the Creator of life desires. ‘Prautes’ is being confident that God is in charge, and acceptance that God is in charge.
This word occurs in Greek literature to describe a horse that someone had broken and trained to submit to a bridle. It pictures strength under control, specifically the Holy Spirit’s control. The evidence of this attitude is a deliberate placing of oneself under divine authority.
A friend of mine lives in Belfast and keeps donkeys as a hobby. Sometimes he earns some money by taking in a young, aggressive, thoroughbred racehorse which is tough to handle. He has a wonderful way of taming the horse. He brings the horse into the stable with a donkey and ties the bit in the horse’s mouth with a short rope to the donkey. He leaves them overnight, and the next morning, the horse is as tame as a lamb! The donkey is so stubborn and strong-willed, that he will not allow the horse to move around. The horse’s will is broken!
The way our own stubborn, prideful, independent will is broken is by getting into close connection with Jesus and responding to his wonderful invitation,
“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28)
We can be harnessed to Jesus with a yoke which, in contrast to an oxen yoke, is light and easy. Jesus produces in us that fruit of the Spirit ‘gentleness.’ This meekness is that unassuming inner spirit of mildness and gentleness which is the opposite of haughtiness, harshness and self-assertiveness. Jesus placed Himself completely under the control of His Father, setting aside all rights.
“Meekness” can only exist where great strength is under strict control! It describes a domesticated animal that has been carefully trained for its master’s purposes, or even the taming of wild beasts!
Meekness is ‘strength under control’ and this was clearly demonstrated by Jesus.
Meekness and weakness are not synonymous. Meekness says, "God, in this situation, You have a purpose. You're in control, sovereign, and ruling over everything."
Meekness is seeing everything as coming from God and accepting it without murmuring and without disputing, patiently submitting to any and every offense, without any desire for revenge or retribution!
Financial fruitfulness comes from submitting ourselves completely to the Lord and following the Biblical principles for managing our money and possessions. We need to stay close to Jesus and take his yoke on us. If we are in a yoke with Jesus, and submissively follow the direction He wants to take us, He promises us financial peace and inner rest.
If one ox in a yoke with another does not stay in an equal pace with the other, it could easily break it’s back. Partners in a yoke must follow the same direction and pull together. The yoke of Christ is His mission, “to serve and set people free.” (Mark 10:45)
Managing our finances is a partnership with God. He has a part to play and I have a part to play. I can never, ever do what only He can do. He will also not do what I must do!
His part? To provide what we need, to give us directions, and to impart wisdom on how to use the resources well. My part? To get to know His directions, to faithfully implement Biblical principles, to be generous for God’s work, serve others and enjoy all He gives us.
The financial fruit of gentleness, or meekness, is allowing the power of God Himself to flow through our lives to His glory and the benefit of others. Then in every situation, whether having plenty or being in need, we can cry out loud, together with Paul,
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:19)
Gentleness or meekness is power under control. This will be the topic of blog #8 in this series.
Next time: Word #8: Self-control