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GENTLENESS AND SELF-CONTROL PROMOTE TRANQUILITY — Fruit of the Spirit — Part 7

Mansedumbre y Templanza Animan Tranquilidad — El Fruto del Espíritu — Parte 7

by

Mary Hunt Webb

Posted Saturday, December 30, 2017

A photographic image of a black English Cocker Spaniel.

Looking similar to this English Cocker Spaniel in appearance, Cinder was the perfect dog for a family with three young children. [Photographer: Katrina S. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com.]

Cinder was the perfect dog for a family with three young children under the age of eight years old. She would let them pet her and tug on her. When the youngest, Phillip, tried to straddle her like a horse, she did not snap at him or bite him but slowly sat down, leaving him to gently slide onto his bottom. In that instance, she showed gentleness.

When Phillip later had an ice cream cone and offered her a lick, she graciously accepted but didn't try to gobble the whole thing. That clearly demonstrated self-control that few animals possess. Cinder followed the children around, never nipping at them or showing frustration or anger. Although she was never on a leash, she never ran out into the street, as my own dog did. She didn't roam the neighborhood, not even to visit us across the street. Instead, Cinder always stayed in the unfenced yard with the children, acting as sort of a babysitter. With Cinder around, Peggy, the children's mother, didn't worry about her kids playing outside.

Considering that Cinder was a Cocker Spaniel, rather than a person, she demonstrated with the children several of the traits listed in Galatians 5:22-23 as fruit of the Spirit including patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control: "22) By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23) gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things." (New Living Translation)

If an animal can wordlessly exhibit those qualities, then a human being that has accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord and that has the Holy Spirit inside should radiate them to others through words as well as actions. Proverbs 15:4 tells us, "The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit." (New International Version)

Beyond that, gentleness of speech and control of the tongue has a function, as Proverbs 15:1 indicates: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (New International Version) Therefore, verbal restraint resembles a shield that deflects arrows of anger. In Psalm 64:2-3, the shepherd-king David even compared harsh words to arrows when he asked God to, "2) Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. 3) They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows." (New International Version)

Without the Holy Spirit within us, that shield is not available to us. The fruit of the Spirit isn't composed of acts that we can perform without help. Rather, it is the result of having the Holy Spirit within us and at work in us. It reflects the Holy Spirit's presence in us. As we pray, we can ask God to let others see the Holy Spirit at work in us every day. It's a request that He is not likely to deny.

A photographic image of a bird on a perch.

Gentleness and self-control have health-giving properties. [Photographer: DFNatureAwed. Photo courtesy of Stockvault.net.]

BiBLE VERSES FOR THiS POSTiNG

Galatians 5:22-23 — 22) By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23) gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. (New Living Translation)

Gálatas 5:22-23 — 22) Mas el fruto del Espíritu es amor, gozo, paz, paciencia, benignidad, bondad, fe, 23) mansedumbre, templanza; contra tales cosas no hay ley. (Reina-Valera 1960)

Proverbs 15:4 — The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. (New International Version)

Proverbios 15:4 — La lengua apacible es árbol de vida; Mas la perversidad de ella es quebrantamiento de espíritu. (Reina-Valera 1960)

Proverbs 15:1 — A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (New International Version)

Proverbios 15:1 — La blanda respuesta quita la ira; Mas la palabra áspera hace subir el furor. (Reina-Valera 1960)

Psalm 64:2-3 — 2) Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. 3) They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. (New International Version)

Salmos 64:2-3 — 2) Escóndeme del consejo secreto de los malignos, De la conspiración de los que hacen iniquidad, 3) Que afilan como espada su lengua; Lanzan cual saeta suya, palabra amarga. (Reina-Valera 1960)

A photographic image of the fruits of the Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is always in season. [Photographer: bknis. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com.]

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