The Key Ingredients of Gentleness
June 10, 2021
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3 NLT
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21 NLT
When Paul first walked onto the pages of history as Saul, he was anything but gentle and meek. We read in Acts 9:1 that he went about “breathing out threats” against any and all followers of the One he believed was a dead hoax. He had an impressive resume as a Jew (Philippians 3:4-7), a “Jew of the Jews,” a Pharisee, highly educated among people who were mostly illiterate. He was well-known and ran in important circles. He behaved like you might expect a self-sufficient person like that to act. He believed these Jesus-followers were wrong and a blight on their society. He was just the guy to handle them.
Then one day he had a shocking encounter with Jesus Christ Himself, who proved He was very much alive. The experience knocked Saul off his horse literally and figuratively. He believed and obeyed, and the experience transformed him. The arrogance was gone. He made himself teachable and accountable to the very people he had been bent on destroying.
He wrote thirteen letters, about half of what has been compiled as the New Testament, out of love and devotion to both Jesus and the people who came to follow Jesus through his witness. They are instruction manuals for all followers on how to practically live out what you believe. He often writes about the fruit of the Spirit, including gentleness. Many times over we see that none of the fruits of the Spirit, especially gentleness, are possible without a foundation of humility and submission. A person like Paul formerly was, arrogant and full of self, determined to be in charge and never submit, will never be gentle.
In these quotes from two different letters he tells us that gentleness naturally flows from a humble spirit, one that puts others before itself. This spirit is unselfish and doesn’t try to impress others with who and what they are. A gentle spirit does not have to be forced or coerced to be kind and cooperative. It is willingly submissive to others, not because of who THEY are, but because of who JESUS is.
Humility and submission are the main ingredients of gentleness, and we choose them because we reverence Jesus.
- Lord, You said that the way I treat others is the way I truly treat You. May I see You in every pair of eyes I see today, and may I respond with the humble, submissive, gentle spirit I would have if I saw You in the flesh. Amen.