I don't know about you but when I don't spend much time in the Word or in prayer, I am not too much fun to be around. Instead of gentleness, goodness, and meekness I radiate bitterness, tartness, and astrigency. Sort of like this grapefruit here.
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22) KJV
Likewise I find when I allow Christ to "wash" away the impurities...then I can radiate gentleness, goodness, and meekness.
Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence [am] base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: (2 Corinthians 10:1)
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. (Titus 3:2)
And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. (Romans 15:14)
Vine's Expository Dictionary defines gentleness as: "equitable, fair, moderate, forbearing, not insisting on the letter of the law." How patient are we with others? Are we too ready to find fault or are we always willing to give a second chance?
Goodness is: morally honorable, pleasing to God, and therefore beneficial. Are our actions, thoughts, and conversations pleasing to God? Are our intentions honorable towards others? Are our motives right? Are we seeking for other's good or serving self?
As we see all of the fruits in Christ we will manifest them more clearly for others.
Meekness is defined by Vines as not only an outward state (as with all the fruit) "rather it is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God." Do we have a right posture of humility towards the King of the Universe? Are we allowing Him total and complete control? Are we willing to consider other's needs and input before our own, even when we do so at great personal cost? Will we be last, least, lowest?
Part of why I grouped all three of these together is because, in my opinion, these virtues are harder to find in fiction...even in the Christian realm. Here are a few examples. Can you think of any more?
1. Wildflowers of Terezin by Robert Elmer: Steffen struggles with the virtue of "goodness" during the Danish Resistance. Love demands action. At first, Steffen finds himself worried only about saving the woman he loves...over time he realizes God has called him to die to self to help those who are too weak to fight for themselves.
2. Refiner's Fire series by Lynn Austin: Austin shows the Civil War through the lenses of a Northerner, a Southerner, and a slave. This book shows the characters as they struggle with both moral and inner goodness and must take grave risks to defend what they believe is right.
3. A Lineage of Grace Series by Francine Rivers: It was somewhat difficult to think of characters that demonstrate gentleness and meekness, until I thought through biblical fiction. When I think of gentleness and meekness, aside from the perfect example, Christ, I think of Mary. Her humble obedience inspires me. Another example is Ruth. River's version was both biblical and lyrically beautiful.