The fruit of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22-23 is a natural outflow of a Spirit-filled life. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, your life takes on certain changes and your attitudes and way of living changes to reflect the very nature of Christ. We come now to the fruit of the Spirit of gentleness and goodness. In considering these two fruits of the Spirit, we will examine the characteristics of a gentle person and the characteristics of a good person (someone who exercises goodness).
Characteristics of a Gentle Person. There are five characteristics of a gentle person for us to consider. (1) Not easily angered. A gentle person is one who does not get angry easily. A gentle person understands how to control his or herself when someone attacks them or disagrees with them. It is one who does not allow other people to frustrate them and anger them. This trait is something that is developed in us the more we walk in the Spirit. I have personally learned from experience that responding in anger to someone only intensifies the situation rather than coming to a solution. Being easily angered is not a trait of one who is truly filled with the Spirit. (2) Friendly disposition. A gentle person is one who is also friendly. The scripture tells us that in order to have friends, we must be friendly. Some people are more friendly than others; however, this is something that we should all work on. Spirit-filled Christians should be the most friendliest people in all the world. (3) Good listener. In order to be a gentle person, you must learn to listen. There are many problems that we can avoid simply by paying attention and listening to what someone is saying. (4) Understanding. Having understanding comes from being a good listener. We should learn to pay attention to the concerns and needs of others and try to understand where they are coming from. When I counsel with people, I will often try to put myself in their shoes before I respond with a plan to help them. If you really want to help someone, you must first understand them. (5) Compassionate. A gentle person is also one who is compassionate. Such compassion comes as we are sensitive to those around us. Jesus was filled with compassion, therefore, to be like Jesus we must also have compassion. Having compassion is not just feeling bad for someone. However, having compassion is to have such a concern and care for others that we take it upon ourselves to do something tangible to help them in addition to lifting them up in prayer.
Characteristics of a Good Person. Just like a gentle person, there are also five characteristics of a good person for us to consider. (1) Honest. A good person is one who is honest and straightforward in every way. As people who believe in the truth, we should be people who tell the truth. Honesty is something that we must practice in everything we do including in our business dealings. Someone who is living a Spirit-filled life will be an honest person. (2) Trustworthy. Being trustworthy is similar to being honest. If you are a trustworthy person, then you are somebody that people can count on. A trustworthy person is one of whom you can be assured that they will do the right thing no matter what. (3) Dependable. A good person is also dependable. As believers in Christ, we should be people that others can depend on to fulfill our commitments and to do what we say we will do. A dependable person is also punctual. They respond to others in a timely manner and is rarely ever late or behind. (4) Giving. Another characteristic of a good person is one who is giving. A giving person is one who is investing their time, talents, and treasure in others. One rule of thumb that I always like to go by when it comes to giving is that I am not really giving unless it hurts. To give something is to make a sacrifice, and making a sacrifice always has an element of pain. So, if it is not hurting you, then you are not really giving. (5) Loving. Above all, a good person, or one who practices goodness, is filled with a love for God and a love for people. It is someone who is so in love with Jesus that it shows in their love toward others.
Practicing gentleness and goodness does not come natural to one who is living in the flesh. Practicing gentleness and goodness does come natural to the one who is living a spirit-filled life.