Let your gentleness be evident to allPhilippians 4:5 (NIV)
It’s not really a word that we hear very often these days. We live in a world that is all about drive. We are called to be “boss babes” or “influencers”. We are called to hustle for our worth.
I didn’t want to post on this verse this week, (I figured I’d already covered a verse from Philippians 4), yet this phrase would not leave me.
And yes, it has been a prayer of my heart over many years. That my life will be defined by a gentleness of spirit that comes from my father.
The amplified version of this verse goes into more detail as to what gentleness entails:
Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people.Philippians 4:5 (AMP)
Graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance and patience.
No, that doesn’t resemble me this morning at all!
Because it’s hard work being gentle. It is hard to respond with a kind remark and a gentle reproof when my daughter gives me attitude. It is hard to choose patience when, “for goodness sakes will everyone just get out the door!”
In fact being gentle goes against my first impulse. My first impulse is to yell, or snipe. My first impulse is to overreact, let’s be honest.
Maybe that’s why in Colossians 3:12 we are told to “clothe ourselves in gentleness” along with a bunch of other things. In fact in the Amplified version it says we need to “put on a heart of gentleness”, and in the Passion Translation we are encouraged to:
Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others.Colossians 3:12 (TPT)
Unoffendable in your patience with others.
Wow, what a challenge!
And gentle does not mean that I will be a pushover either. I can gently but firmly remind my kids of the boundaries without shouting (this is me reminding myself!). I can gently but firmly frame an email response to a difficult school situation.
If I want my gentleness to be evident to all, I need to make sure I put it on every day. I need to put it on not just with my friends, and those I interact with at the shops; but with my family as they get ready for school, or give me some backchat, or are just slow leaving the house.
I need to choose to do the hard work of being gentle and I need to remember where my gentleness comes from. For the whole verse from Phillipians reads:
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.Philippians 4:5 (NIV)
So today, if you like me, seek a gentle spirit, may I remind you that this gentleness comes from him. Draw near to him and clothe yourself in his gentleness. And I pray over you and me that our gentleness will be evident to all, (especially those closest to us.)