I have always wanted to do a "blog series" - something that continues for more than a week or two. This began during Advent, when I did a series on what each of the Advent candles meant. I learned so much and was able to share with all of you. When I started thinking about another series, I had only to turn to one of my favorite passages in the Bible - the fruits of the spirit.
What are the "fruits of the spirit" all about? To put it VERY simply, it is the Holy Spirit working in each of us in the characteristics shared in the passage - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These are all characteristics that our Dear Jesus possesses and many of those close to Him got to see these characteristics every day. Can people say the same for us - can they see these characteristics in us every day? I know that I lack many of these on a regular basis. Each "fruit" alone can bring so much to others, so much to us - for they all come from God himself. What I would like to do is focus on one each week, and help us to grow in our fruits of the spirit.
For those of you who like order - I'm going to mess things up - I am not starting with LOVE; I am starting with Gentleness. Why? Because I saw the most amazing act of gentleness this past week. First, though, let's start with what gentleness means? I see it as someone who is humble, tender, caring, friendly - not bitter or angry. Now let's explore how that compares with the one that brings us this great fruit - Jesus. Think for a minute about His life, His time here on Earth. Think about the stories you know about Him, the words you read about Him - was gentleness sprinkled in anywhere? I believe it was a very strong trait of Jesus. The picture that depicts this most is when he told the disciples to let the little children come to Him. His focus on the little ones and His gentle behavior must have been something to behold. (Matthew 19:14). I know there are many others, but as a parent, I often wanted to bestow this type of gentleness on my children - I have to say, not proudly, that this type of gentleness was not always present. I tried, and will continue trying, to display more of the gentleness fruit.
This past week, I looked outside my back window and saw a cardinal and a squirrel at the bird feeder. I watched as I waited to see if the squirrel was going to chase away the bird (as I've seen many times), so that the food could be all his. Yet, something happened that day. As I watched and watched, the squirrel was actually ensuring that the cardinal was eating. The squirrel would actually move away so the bird could partake of some breakfast. It was amazing to see - the gentleness that the squirrel showed the bird. The picture below was the best I could do (sorry - I'm not the best photographer). Yet, you can see how close they were to each other and how gentle they were. If God's smallest of creatures can do this, then certainly we as Christians who have God in our hearts can do this!! This week, let's focus on this fruit - the fruit of gentleness. May you feel God's grace as He fills you with His love.
"Heavenly Father, grant all of us with an abundance of gentleness. As we engage in the week ahead, may we exude the gentleness to others that our Jesus shared with those around Him. May grace and mercy become who we are. May others see our gentleness and want to grow closer to you, Jesus. Blessings to all. Amen."