| Gentleness of His Spirit|
We live in an era characterized by rudeness, harshness, violence, and anger! In the first verses of 2 Timothy 3 we find this graphic description.... "In the last days perilous times, (times of stress) will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, (selfish), lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people...TURN AWAY!"
He is not saying that people who act this way don't need to be reached to...but he is saying to not act as they do.
It is difficult, if not almost impossible, in these days to find in people - men and women alike - compassion, tenderness, sensitivity, kindness, goodness, and gentleness. Yet, to those of us who are called to follow Jesus...these last characteristics are expected to flow out of our hearts and be the sign to those in this world of our transformed lives.
Galatians 5:22-23 speaks of the fruit of the Spirit and study notes in the Spirit-Filled Life Bible reveal this insight. "The first three listed - love, joy, peace: are concerned with our attitude toward God; the second triad - patience, kindness, goodness deal with social relationships; the third group - faithfulness, GENTLENESS, self-control, describes principles that guide a Christian's conduct."
Is your conduct GENTLE? Examine your behavior on a daily basis to see if it does display a GENTLE SPIRIT in all things. If not...how can that become possible in the midst of such a brutal society? How can we go out day by day...vulnerable, sensitive, and soft of heart and face the cold harshness of this world without a thick skin that decides to not allow itself to feel the pain inflicted by multitudes of people in a Godless, sinful society? How can we keep from being testy, brittle, sharp, and even angry ourselves?
Actually....it is impossible...apart from the power of the HOLY SPIRIT. In dealing with others in today's present caustic atmosphere, our only protection and power to survive comes from the HOLY SPIRIT. He must not only be "in us" as a result of our initial surrender to Him...but we must humble ourselves before Him daily, inviting His powerful protective presence to come "upon us". This is necessary so that He can be both the interceptor of the world's harshness directed at us, as well as the One whose nature is reflected back to them in their nakedness and need for Him.
Bible notes relate: "Goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, benevolence, and kindness characterize Jesus' followers. These words describe the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience. The HOLY SPIRIT removes abrasive qualities from the character of the ones under His control."
I was raised singing the precious old hymns of the Church in an era when it was not an embarrassment to speak or sing of sweetness, gentleness, honor, courage, trust, faithfulness, kindness, goodness and the like. Hundreds of these hymns taught us many things about the character of Jesus. Our minds were renewed and filled with sacred things rather than the profane.
Years ago there was a song which pierced my heart called "Gentle Shepherd". I can still hear the soft, tender tune but don't recall all the words. The HOLY SPIRIT drew the listener into the loving, waiting arms of the ONE who loves and truly cares for His people. His gentle embrace was a "safe" place. We did not mind being known as "His children". Humility and meekness were traits to long for and desire...not to laugh at. The things of God were dear, precious, beautiful, and lovely, and we would run to those images of our God for comfort and safety. This seems foreign in our brutal, violent times; but as representatives of Christ Jesus we must not forget that a caring spirit is the ultimate way to carry the message of His Gospel into the hearts of lost listeners...and even to the sinful among us.
Dr. Les Carter wrote: "Jesus said, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink,' John 7:37. Can't you just picture the inviting look on His face as He spoke those words? His mission was to bring comfort to those who had known rejection and judgment, and He was determined that His demeanor would project the compassion and understanding consistent with that mission. Kindness involves a nurturing, encouraging, gentle spirit."
If we are to be worthy to carry His message...we must do so in His Spirit. He was gentle. Can we do any less in this violent age?
Looking unto Jesus,
Sandy (good friend and teacher of the word- thanks!)
| 2004/4/21 21:40||Profile|
| Re: Gentleness of His Spirit|
moreofhim, those are good reminders. We all need to be encouraged to be gentle, loving, compassionate. I praise God that when we turn to Him, He gives us a heart of flesh for our hearts of stone. I cry all the time at the injustices, the crime, the cruelty, the unrighteousness that I see everywhere, especially in the news on any given day.
In my area, where I'm at, I see a need for honesty, truth, and righteousness more than a need for gentleness. That's where I'm coming from. So many around me are gentle, but in a fake way, it's not true love, it's something evil, I can't explain it very good. That's why I emphasize truthfulness. So many around me are disobedient Christians (they call themselves Christians, but who knows). I pray God will continue to bless me with the fruits of the spirit, I allow God to do as He pleases with me. Sometimes being loving and truthful doesn't seem gentle, but our love for God must overcome our fear of rejection of man. Sometimes being gentle takes a backseat to zealous, unadulterated love for God, like when Jesus whipped the market out the temple. Often when I bring truth into a sticky situation, I pray and do it with all the gentleness and love I can, but the other person gets offended not by how I say things, but what is being said. Jesus called the Pharisees "hypocrits" many times, He could have whispered that softly as opposed to yelling it in anger, but any way you say it, the Pharisees will be offended by that. Ephesians reminds us to be gentle, but also "speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin;" (4:25) "Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret." (5;11-12)
I agree with what you say, it's biblical and most necessary. My heart's desire is God's will, love, and truth.
There is a bitter reality that the worldly people's god is Satan, and they are easily offended by the real God, we can't please everybody. Let's please God more than evil men, like Jesus does. We must not persecute or even judge those, because we know Satan blinds them. For us to mistreat them is like mistreating the blind, how evil that would be. But in all things, we must exercise wisdom and discernment.
Thank you for reminding us all to be gentle on this forum. Let's speak in psalms and thanksgiving. Praise God for this ministry, if things being said aren't gentle or loving, I pray any miscommunications or other problems will be settled quickly and grace will abound, for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father in heaven.
| 2004/4/22 1:45||Profile|