Hey everyone, I hope all of you are having a great start to the year and are delving in to the word of God.
I share with you today something a little different. When I read scripture, I either take away something from the entire passage or if a verse pulls me in, I dwell on it, break the verse down and let the spirit take me to a deeper understanding of it.
I love breaking a verse down and I have always done this on paper. But over the last couple of months, I felt led to share this in some way on the blog, but to do so I had to try my hand at making this a digital possibility. In the last couple of weeks, I have been ardently giving this a go and I must say that as I was figuring out how to do this, I wanted to give up a few times and get back to my trusted pen and paper. However, perseverance won out in the end and so I share with you all today Philippians 4:5.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
This verse has been sitting with me for quite a while. I had touched upon this verse when I wrote on gentleness in my Fruit of the Spirit series.
The verse begins with ‘Let’ – it is a choice to reflect gentleness – a Christlike consideration of others. How often are we intentional with showing gentleness? It may come with ease towards those who are good and kind to us or those we love but are we intentional with showing gentleness to those who are not?
Why is this important – a great reminder for us is Christ’s gift of saving grace. His grace is not for a select few, but open for all to accept. By being selective in whether someone deserves to be recipients of gentleness, do we inadvertently judge? And by doing so are we not allowing those moments to be victory for the enemy rather than using them for the Lord.
Jesus says in Mathew 7, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way, you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Take a moment and reflect on a time you wrongly and probably quickly judged someone? Would you like to be on the short end of the measure someone uses that excludes you or unfairly places you in a box? When we grapple with showing gentleness to another may we remember what Jesus teaches in Mathew 6:12, “Treat others as you want to be treated.” And in Mathew 22:39 “Love our neighbour as ourselves.”
This non-selective intentionality to show gentleness is reiterated when the verse says it is to be evident to ALL. ALL, not some or a few but All and that ‘All’ encompasses those who have a different opinion, who do life differently than us, who believe differently and even to those who do not look upon us with kindness.
Your – Gentleness, as a fruit of the spirit, is something that we might not inherently have but something we grow and mature in as we spent time with God. Us, sinners, can in no way reflect Christ like gentleness towards others unless we abide in Christ. He is the vine and we are the branches.
John 15:4-5 says “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
To have and to reflect the fruit, we have to abide in Christ. To abide is to remain in and live in Christ and an important aspect of that is obedience and walking in Jesus’s way.
As John 15:10 says “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
And gentleness must be evident – it is not sufficient to only think it and that thought does not further from there and eventuate into action. Or hope for others to show it and all we do is provide verbal platitudes. We are to be the place for others to experience Christ like gentleness. Faith without deeds is dead (James 2:26). Step out and make it evident and let others feel Christ through us.
The Lord is near – When we live with the awareness that the Lord is near, it gives us reassurance, comfort and strength to consistently do the Christ like thing and be the light in an unfair world that He calls us to be. Because that is what He wants us to do and that should be our driving force. To be able to put aside those fears, quick judgements and hurts that might cause us to pause in showing gentleness towards others. In Christ we can, because it is not ours to Judge, but the Lords, it is not ours to make right but the Lords. We are but His vessels, pouring out His love and grace through acts of kindness and gentleness.
Prayer: Lord, we realise that there are times when we are not gentle with our words, our thoughts or our actions. Teach us to reflect gentleness. Remind us of the many ways you extend gentleness towards us. When we struggle to respond to others with a gentle spirit, help us to set aside our sinful, selfish nature and surrender to your power at work in us. Let our gentleness be evident so that others can see the work of you grace in our lives.