The Fruit of the Spirit – Week 5, Part 2

Note: This is our last installment of this Bible study. I am in the middle of our next study, which I hope to be finished in time for summer.

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Concluding Thoughts on Chapter 9 – Gentleness

When I think of gentleness, I’m reminded of my good friend Elaine. She doesn’t have a hard edge. She’s like a gift of compassion and grace wrapped in soft cotton. It’s not just what she says that makes Elaine gentle, it’s the way she says it. It’s the tenderness she offers to others and the merciful way she looks at the world.

I watched her tap an old woman on the shoulder in a waiting room at the hospital just to check if she was doing okay and to offer her a cup of water. It’s something most people wouldn’t think of doing, but for Elaine it’s as natural as getting yourself a cold drink. She’s always thinking of others, always ready with a listening ear, always willing to pray.

And then there are others–countless others like my sister Betty or my friend Linda who tenderly care for the sick, making the best of the most difficult days.

What we see in the scriptures is a call for every believer to be gentle and kind,

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 2:24-25, NIV)

A big part of our gentleness is our mannerism. It’s not just what we say, but the way we use our words. It’s the inflection in our voice, and our body language that make a big difference in the way we present ourselves to the world.

Do we listen more than we speak? Do we welcome interruptions? Are we looking out for the welfare of others? Are we humbly serving or waiting to be served?

I love this quote by Charles Spurgeon, “We are always saying, “Let us push, and get to the front,” but when the world’s march is in the wrong way, the true leader is behind.”

It reminds me of the upside down way of the gospel that goes against the grain of this world. The gospel that teaches us the value of humility and the importance of stepping down so others can shine.

Answer Key Chapter 9

Q. Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of God. What does the word imitate mean?

To follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example. (dictionary.com)

Q. Think about your life and the people who know you. Who would they say that you are?

This answer will be different for everyone.

Q. What sets us apart as disciples of Jesus?

They way that we love.

Q. What adorning or ornaments does 1 Peter 3:4 tell us that we should wear?

A meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Q. Why did the Jews refuse to accept Jesus as Messiah?

The Jews rejected Jesus because He failed, in their eyes, to do what they expected their Messiah to do—destroy evil and all their enemies and establish an eternal kingdom with Israel as the preeminent nation in the world.

Q. If gentleness and meekness is not weakness, what is it?

Power under control.

Q. We see Jesus as a man who was gentle and meek. Can you think of any examples from His life?

This answer will be different for everyone. Some answers may be: The way that He was with children. The fact that He laid down His own life on the cross. That He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. That He was silent before His accusers.

Q. Read Isaiah 53 as it describes the gentleness of Christ. Write verse 7 out here:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Q. Can you think of a time in your life when you should have been gentle and kind but weren’t? What happened? What would you do differently now?

This answer is different for everyone.

Q. Proverbs 15:1 tells us that harsh words stir up anger. Why do you think a gentle answer has the opposite effect? Can you think of an example?

This answer is different for everyone.

Concluding Thoughts on Chapter 10 – Self-Control

As I got to thinking about self-control this week, I kept going back to that verse from Proverbs 25:28,

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

It suddenly made sense, why God has led me to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah this week, where I find the Jews returning from exile and the rebuilding of the temple walls. For I see that without those walls they would not be protected.

The name Nehemiah means “comforted by God.” He is a type of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, as is Ezra whose name means “helper.” In Ezra the building of the temple is the focus, but in Nehemiah, it’s the rebuilding of the city and it’s walls, which aligns with our chapter on self control.

In Nehemiah chapter four we see the opposition of the enemy as Nehemiah is building the wall,

“What are those feeble Jews doing?” one of them said, “Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”

And another one said, ““What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”

With those words I’m reminded of the many times Satan has tried to discourage me from doing my work…

I can’t do it.
I’m not good enough.
I don’t measure up.
I’m going to fail.
I’m too old.
This is too hard for someone like me.

I’m reminded of the many times I’ve given up before I barely got started.

Satan will always attack those who are building the wall. Those who are growing in faith. Those who are stepping out in faith. Those who are exercising their faith. He wants nothing more than to cut you down before you get started, and so he’ll discourage you in any way that he can.

Looking back at that chapter in Nehemiah, we see that the higher the wall got the more it infuriated the enemy, but here’s the good news in all of this: with every brick that goes up, we’re silencing him.

As we see read that story (and I hope you will today) you’ll notice two things: the first is that instead of lashing back at those who insulted them, they took it to prayer. The second is that while they worked with all of their heart, they also appointed guards to keep watch.

From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. (Nehemiah 4:16, NIV)

And so my friends I encourage you today to take a page out of the book of Nehemiah when it comes to exercising your self control. Don’t be surprised when the enemy tries to discourage you, take it to prayer, put on the full armor of God, and carefully watch what you allow in and what you allow out.

Answer Key Chapter 10

Q. What does the Bible compare a man that has no rule over his spirit to?

It’s like a city that is broken down without walls.

Q. What do you think that comparison means?

The man who has no command over his anger, is easily robbed of peace. (Matthew Henry).

Satan seeks to rob and destroy, if we’re not protecting ourselves from the enemy, he will get in.

Q. What does Proverbs 16:32 say? Write the verse out here.

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (KJV)

Q. What are some areas of your life in which you lack self-control?

This answer will be different for everyone.

Q. What are some ways in which Christians should be self controlled?

This answer will be different for everyone.

Q. What part does the Holy Spirit have in the work of self-control?

For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose. (Philippians 2:13, NIV)

Q. Why is it unwise to follow your heart?

The Bible tells us that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). The heart tells us that we need things when we don’t, and if we followed it we’d sleep in too late, eat too much, and eventually come to poverty. That’s where the heart wants to lead us.

Q. What was David’s first mistake when he saw Bathsheba bathing nearby?

David ignored his conscience and chose to entertain sin. Instead of surrendering himself to God’s will by turning away, he defied God by resisting the Spirit and choosing the flesh.

Q. Why is Luke 6:45 key to self-control?

Trials have a way of testing our boiling point. It’s easy to control our actions when the going is good, but turn up the heat and our true character shines. We’re fighting a losing battle if we’re not strong from within. Our actions will always depend on our heart. Get that right with God and our actions will follow.

FREE Printables

During the 5 weeks of the Bible study, I’ve created a set of 4 x 6 inch note cards. This is our last of 15 cards in total. These high resolution images will correspond with the theme of each week. Just so you know, the cards do fold, but the inside of each card is empty for writing in.

Please note: The (4.25 x 6.25) envelopes are not included with this printable. I found them at Amazon and thought they were so cute and colorful, and so I’ll definitely be getting some for myself. Click here if you are interested in those. (affiliate link)

Click the links below to view and print this week’s note cards.

Every Good & Perfect Gift
Blessed is She
I Can Do All Things Through Christ