Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Gal 5:22-26
I would like to share with you a great testimony that I heard the other day. It was from a pastor who shared his faith in Jesus journey from being a hooligan in Australia to a follower and disciple of Jesus. One detail of his testimony that impacted me most was not how he became a Christian, but the key indicator of his maturation as a disciple of Christ.
He was saved as a young adult in a youth revival. After coming to Christ he had a complete lifestyle change. Beforehand he was running with a pretty rough crowd. After becoming a disciple of Jesus, his life and daily habits completely changed. He commented on how he would get up at 4 am in the morning to pray and worship. He would share his story with anyone who would listen. He would devour the scriptures, sometimes reading for hours a day just wanting to know more about Jesus. He said that he was more passionate for the Lord than any of the church youth that led him to Christ. He was a fire-brand, just waiting to impact the world.
Then one day as he met with the pastor who was mentoring him, the pastor said something that changed his life. This zealous young disciple thought the pastor was going to compliment him on his prayer life or the amount of the Bible reading he was doing, but rather he said, “I see that you are maturing as a disciple of Jesus because I see a growing gentleness in your life.”
Gentleness, was not what this young man expected to be complimented on. He actually hated the idea because he worked in a meat packing plant, and gentleness was not a quality that went very far in this kind of environment. Any sign of weakness was seen as an opportunity for ridicule and gentleness and weakness were seen pretty much as the same thing.
Initially, he was upset and wanted the pastor to notice his fervent prayer, biblical knowledge or how he witnessed to others. Yet as years have passed since that encounter, he realized that what this pastor highlighted in his life became a life changing moment that marked him and his future pastoral ministry.
By highlighting the maturation of the character of Christ in his life, the pastor emphasized the all important compliment to his pursuit of knowledge and works of faith. It was at that moment that he had a revelation of the importance of the fruit of the Spirit being center stage in the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ. The fruit of the Spirit must always be the source from which the works for Christ are launched and in them is our knowledge of Christ made complete.
Gentleness is to be evident in us. For it is through our gentleness that our words and life begin to reflect Jesus and have the weight that impacts others. Take to heart the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the church at Philippi to rejoice always, and allow gentleness to pave the way for the Kingdom of God to advance in your world.
Praying that your gentleness be evident to all – Amen!
Blessings in Christ Jesus!