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The Fruit of Faithfulness & Gentleness!

Galatians 5:22-23: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Remember that the New Testament was mainly written in Greek. We 'll thus take a look at the Greek words as well as the Hebrew words for the applicable fruit of the week.

Faithfulness Greek Word: πίστις (Transliterated: pístis)

Faithfulness Hebrew Word: אמונה (Transliterated: emuna)

Gentleness Greek Word: πραϋπαθία (Transliterated: praupathia)

Gentleness Hebrew Word: ענוה (Transliterated: anvah)

The Greek Word pístis (πίστις) means persuasion (i.e. credence); moral conviction (i.e. religious truth, truthfulness of God or spiritual leaders); reliance upon Christ for salvation; the system of the Gospel itself; assurance, belief, believe, faith, faithfulness, fidelity, conviction on the truth of anything; a character/person who can be relied on; loyal; steadfast; devoted; trustworthy; dependable; dedicated; constant & unwavering.

The Greek Word praupathia (πραϋπαθία) means mildness, humility, meekness, gentleness; kindly disposition towards others; goodness expressing itself towards others in deeds; compassionate; considerate; sympathetic; humility; thankfulness towards God; polite restrained behaviour towards others.

The Hebrew word emuna (אמונה) means faithfulness, trusting, faith, truth, trustworthy, stable, steady, steadfast, firm. The Hebrew word anvah (ענוה) means humility, meekness, gentle strength, afflicted, be bowed down.

When I first wrote these blogs for the Fit & Fruity challenge, I knew the week where we combined kindness & goodness would be a good combo. But I was wondering how this week’s combo will work. But Abba’s unfailing greatness just came through again! As mentioned last week – with God there is always more as long as we remain teachable!

Faithfullness & Gentleness was our theme for week 6 of the challenge. And by week 6 of a challenge, the excitement and motivation usually have worn off. One might not feel the excitement to get the workouts done the way you did in the first few weeks. But it’s important to remember that it takes time for fruit to ripen. We need to remain consistent and patient. In our physical and spiritual journeys!

The first time the word " אמונה " (emuna / faithfulness) was used in the Bible was in Ex 17:12. It’s the part where Israel was in battle with Amalek. In verse 11 we read: “And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” Verse 12 continues “But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” The word “steady” in the original Hebrew text was the word emuna.

The first time the word "ענוה" (anvah/gentleness) was used in the Bible was in 2 Sam 22:36. It’s recorded as “David’s Song of Praise ” – how beautiful is that! It was when God protected David from all his enemies, including Saul. I encourage you to go and read the entire chapter!

By now it’s grafted into all of us that our spirit and our flesh are in a constant battle with one another. Our flesh is lazy, uncommitted, unreliable, untrustworthy, unstable, compromising, proud, arrogant, mean, and power driven. And it’s going to be a tough battle for the rest of our lives to fight this nature. As we grow spiritually, we will gain more understanding and more authority – but the battle will never end. I find it so profound.

Everything in life manifests in all three realms - body, soul and spirit. In the same way that we have to fight the flesh and grow more spiritually… we have to renew our minds (soul) constantly… And if we want to be fit and healthy (body), we have to put in the physical effort continuously. Abba is such a gentle (pun intended) God – He actually makes things so easy for us to understand. The principles remain the same regardless of the realm. When we are born-again, we receive the Holy Spirit. The seed of the fruit of the Spirit is planted / deposited into us when we are born-again. And as mentioned several times before – the fruit won’t be mature fruit straight away! We need to water it and feed it with spiritual food. In the same way that our bodies need sustenance, so our spirit need it as well.

For the fruit of the Spirit to develop in us, we need to expose ourselves to the Word of God on a regular basis. In the same way we lose our fitness abilities when we stop exercising, we will lose our spiritual muscles when we stop investing in our time with Abba. It's not something that will remain intact unless you invest in it! You become what you gaze upon. The more you spend time learning about and getting to know Abba's identity, the more that will start to reflect in your identity!

We’ll first take a look at faithfulness… In Matt 25:21 we read “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master ’ s happiness!’" To be faithful is to be reliable and trustworthy. As a born-again believer, in order for us to develop the fruit of Faithfulness, we need to constantly submit ourselves and our lives unto Yeshua in obedience. The more we submit, the more He will be able to transform us through the Holy Spirit. The faithfulness which we read about in Galatians is an attitude / willingness to suffer persecution and even death for what we believe (2 Thess 1:4). That’s a harsh but necessary reality check we all need to do.

Spiritual growth is intentional! Freely you have received the seeds through Yeshua’s complete work on the Cross. But it’s our responsibility going forward to water those seeds. Being faithful is about being intentional. It's about investing time in your walk with Yeshua regardless of what those around you are doing or seeing. Ps 119:165 says “Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.” The more we spend time with Yeshua the stronger we will become in our faith walk and the harder it will be for the enemy to get us to stumble.

When we read about the offerings which Cain and Abel brought unto the Lord, we all know that God rejected Cain’s offering and accepted Abel’s. But what we fail to grasp most of the time, is that Cain gave God his “left overs ” – because he argued that “God would understand, God knows his heart.” Cain was upset that God rejected his offering. How often do we do the same? We need to quit being angry and question God and simply start doing what the Word tells us we should be doing. We get so easily offended when fellow believers keep us accountable. If we get offended by that, it simply means that we are not true lovers of the Word of God. The Word is clear – when we love God, we’ll do what He ask (John 14:15).

Rom 10:17 says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The more we hear / read the Word, the more we water the seeds and the more growth we will witness. We need to be careful however with how we “hear” the Word. When we read / listen with an attitude of “I’ve heard that before..” the water won’t seep through to reach the seed and there would be no growth. Walking in the fruit of Faithfulness will keep you loyal to Abba and His ways.

We as humans want God to remain faithful but we are quick to dismiss ourselves from the responsibility. Fact of the matter is – we have to be faithful in every aspect of our lives, not only spiritually. Most of us are eager to set goals in life. Do you set spiritual goals as well? And if you do, do you stick to the plan? Whatever we prioritise higher than God, will limit our blessings. If we are faithful, we will be blessed. If we prioritise other things over God, we’re sinning. It’s as simple as that. We all want to be blessed but not all of us are willing to be obedient.

Faithfulness is about choosing God above anything and everything else!

Now, let’s look at gentleness… When we hear the word gentleness, softness / weakness generally comes to mind. But the fruit of Gentleness has nothing to do with being weak. It’s about exercising the strength and power we have received from God, under His control and His guidance. In Phil 4:5 we read “let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” The fruit of Gentleness is developed in our spirit but will automatically flow over to our soul. I once heard someone describe gentleness as “the grace of the soul.” And it's perfectly put! In 2 Tim 2:25 Paul wrote that the Lord’s servant would “correct his opponents with gentleness.” There’s absolutely no weakness in that!

Gentleness plays a massive role in spiritual fellowship when it comes to unity and peace. The opposite of gentleness is anger or a desire for revenge. Gentleness in our relationship with God is about accepting His judgement on people and situations. Our flesh wants to compromise. We want to go easy on people and expect them to go easy on us – under the false comfort of “God knows my heart.” We justify our actions despite the Word calling it sin. Gentleness is not weakness - I'll say it a million times!

Gentleness is about sticking to the truth and standing up for it no matter what. It does however not mean that we should do it with a mean and harsh spirit. In Gal 6:1 we read that we should gently and humbly help our fellow believers if they operate outside of God’s instructions. It doesn’t say that ah it’s fine, you can justify their sins because their intentions were pure.

One day when Yeshua comes back to fetch us, we will be judged according to the Word - NOT according to our intentions. We will be measured to what extend we have lived according to His Instructions and based on THAT we will either enter the Kingdom of God or we will be told “Go away from Me, I never knew you.” The choice is entirely in our hands.

We should help others to get back on the narrow road and have people in our lives who will also help us to get back on the narrow road when we wander off. Because we all need accountability! Instead of judging those who fall along the way and gossip about them behind their back – we should go to them and ask them how we can help them to get back on track on the narrow road. Many times, they will reject your help and that’s okay – as long as you did your part for which God will hold you accountable. All around us (including ourselves sometimes) – people gossip about others with a religious mask on. They gossip about others and justify it by saying that their discussing it with others because they want others to also pray for that person. When if fact, doing that means that we are operating in the opposite of gentleness and meekness – it’s being mean and vicious.

Gentleness is about the desire to help others more than the desire to be superior. It’s using the power you have or the position you are in, to help others and not to control them or gain more power. God has all the power in the universe, yet He is gentle with us. As we grow more into His Image, we should also learn to become gentle – especially when we are in a position of power.

God gives some people power and authority, but it’s up to us to manage it properly and gently – as God desire us to. Cultivating the fruit of Gentleness does not mean that we are softies. It means that we confront our fellow believers in a manner that’s in line with Scripture. It’s having a strong hand with a soft touch.

A gentle person does not compromise on the truth but speaks it with kindness. When we look at the Scripture of Yeshua speaking to the women at the well (who was a prostitute) – Yeshua was gentle with her, but He still spoke the truth. Walking in Gentleness does not mean that you tip toe or ignore sin – but it affects how you confront it.

I once heard a story about a dad and his little girl. The little girl used to squeeze her father’s hand, trying to “hurt” him. But she (being little) could squeeze all she want – she wasn’t able to hurt him. In return as part of their game – the dad would playfully squeeze the girl’s hand until she screamed / laughed. The lesson we can learn from this is that it’s not the weak who need to learn how to be gentle – but the strong. When we don’t walk in the Fruit of gentleness, we have a “what’s in it for me ” mentality. It’s all about me, how I feel, what I want / can get. But the fruit of Gentleness is about others. What can I do and mean for others? Once again debunking self-love.

Gentleness asks how can I serve / help. Gentleness does not back away from the truth, but it deals with it in a way that’s not mean spirited. When Cain slew Abel, God came to Cain and said "where's your brother?" God already new, but His approach was gentle. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of good and evil, God called Adam in the garden. God sees everything, He knew exactly where Adam was - yet he gently called for Adam. God held them accountable. The truth didn't change. But He was gentle with them.

We can all benefit from learning to deal with the truth in a manner that is kind. It will require the strength of self-control (next week's topic). The fruit of Gentleness is what keeps you in control. The way we handle things should become gentler. We need to learn when we make mistakes, to acknowledge it quickly and to apologise just as quickly. Apologies come regardless of who is wrong or who is right - it's about getting the matter settled. Having an attitude of saying “how are we going to get past this?”

Gentleness is not about being weak. It's about being strong, being kind, being gracious, being forgiving. A gentle person is someone who will realise how their actions / words might have affected someone else. And being mature enough to deal with it to make it right.

Doesn't matter if you did something wrong or not. If the outcome was that someone got hurt in the process, you need to go and make it right. We will have situations daily where we upset others or others will upset us. And we need to ask ourselves - am I going to walk in the flesh or am I going to walk in the spirit? The more we submit out lives to God, the more He will start to work in us. The more the fruit of the Spirit will become visible in our lives.

The goal is the fruit of the Spirit, but the way to the goal is through submission to God. The world we live in today, values feelings more than it values truth. But God’s Kingdom does not work like that! Our belief system cannot waiver based on what happens in the world, it should firmly be rooted in the Word of God. The fruit of the Spirit is something that’s visible to the world.

We cannot proclaim to born-again believers and carry no visible fruit. Then we are only deceiving ourselves. We will be known by the fruits we carry. We either carry the fruit of the world or the fruit of the Spirit. There should be a clear difference between us and the world. Cultivating the fruit of Faithfulness & Gentleness is about being intentional, steadfast and unwavering through compassion.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." ~ Hebrews 10:23 ~
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