Our societal age is known for many of its attributes. Anxiety. Divisiveness. Cynicism. Sarcasm. Skepticism. Disdain. Surely some admirable things could be said, but these are perhaps some of the most dominate attitudes within our air. Yet for the Christian life, this must not be so. The Apostle Paul exhorts us to be known for gentleness. This is not some second tier quality that followers of Christ are to show to others here and there, nor that we have the privilege to withhold from even our most bitter of rivals, we are to so radiate a gentle spirit that it is known to all men (Phil. 4:5).
Is this really any surprise when we consider our great God? For our Father of mercies is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion and faithfulness (II Cor. 1:3, Ex. 34:6). His Son, who is the exact imprint of His nature (Heb. 1:3), explicitly revealed His heart in only one place in Scripture, and what did He declare? “I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29). Even the very presence of true gentleness in the believer’s life is nothing less than the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 2:22).
We cannot overstate the value and importance of gentleness in the believer’s walk with Christ. It is so vital to the Church’s health that it is a necessary qualification for being a leader (I Tim. 3:3). A gentle spirit is so fundamental to the Christian witness that it is to accompany our every apologetic defense and reproof (I Peter 3:15, II Tim. 2:25). Christian, it is the gentle that will lead the Church, reach the lost, and preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:2-3). How truly it was spoken when our Lord said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
Christian, we cannot be too zealous in our pursuit of a gentle spirit. We will be far from perfect in our striving, but let us press on nonetheless (Phil. 3:12). Let us desire to be extravagantly gentle with our families, among our coworkers, and even toward our enemies. Let us pray for it. Let us practice it. Let us repent when it is lacking, and let us never stop trusting in the One who walked in gentle perfection.
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