Key Text: Philippians 4:5 – “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”
There are certain graces that make people stand out. God in creating the human being, made him to be interdependent and as such we cannot be an “island unto ourselves”. If this is true, the more we are able to relate and dwell with others in peace and unity, the more successful we would be as human beings. It is quite interesting also, that Christians have the power to heal the sick, cast out demon and even raise the dead; yet it is our ability to be gracious and forgiving and loving and tender and kind and gentle that truly marks us as followers of Jesus Christ.
Our text today, encourages us to let our gentleness be known to all. This word is the same word for reasonableness. It also means forbearance, mildness, considerateness, moderation, equitable, fair, gentle, mild and unselfishness. These graces can work wonders in a relationship. I have met people, that within a few minutes of meeting them, they just put you off because their loquaciousness, verbosity and being simply overbearing, you just don’t naturally like them; and yet there are people you meet and their gentleness is so attractive that you are drawn to them and want to know them even more.
There are many reasons why people are not gentle and people make excuses saying they have a different personality and they are just not the quiet type, that they are vivacious, effervescent and restless, so they can’t really be gentle. I think they miss the point. Personality type is not gentleness. It is a deliberate act of the will, controlled by the Spirit of God. Gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and whenever God is at work in a person, one of the evidences is this ability to be gentle.
Jesus was gentle. He was kind, and even in the face of incredible adversity, He remained gentle and gracious. Take the people who came to arrest him in the garden of Gethsemane; Peter rose up and cut off the ear of one of them with a sword, Jesus got up and restrained Peter and healed the ear of the man injured. The nature of Christ is that of a lamb and we can learn from Him. He said in Matthew 11:29 – “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
This gentleness is also His meekness. Meekness is not weakness as some may think, but a supreme ability to control ones anger and exercise great self-restraint in the face of provocation. Only a powerful person can be called meek. Moses was described by God as the meekest man on earth. People who have power but can keep it under control are known as meek. So gentleness is a form of meekness and we can all be a bit meeker and gentler, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Actually, we can be gentle as we yield a bit more to the Holy Spirit.
The passage today ends with a statement, ‘The Lord is at hand.’ This means fist and foremost that God is coming soon and He would recompense us for all our acts of gentleness. But it also means that He is watching us. Lastly it also means, He is at our side to help us. The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. So when we are in situations that demand that we be gentle, remember the Lord is present by His Spirit to help us to be gracious.
Let’s Pray: Father God, I want to be more gracious and gentle in my relationship with others. Please help me by the presence of Your Holy Spirit to manifest this fruit of the Holy Spirit and be gentle to all. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.