You know some of those statements that are said to you at a point in your life that stick with you? Whether they be good or bad, you always remember them? Those cutting words, those words of joy and praise, those wounding words. Well, about 10 years ago I heard some words spoken to me that have been cutting ever since. Not all the time, but at certain moments I remember them, and God at least allows me to use them for my good now instead of my harm.
Those words were: “Kim, one thing you are not is a gentle and quiet spirit.” Ok – now. After reading that, think through it biblically – where that is one thing Scripture commands women after God’s own heart – for them to be gentle and quiet. This probably is in the top 3 statements that have hurt me over the course of my life.
So, how is God using this statement even today. He grows me. He strengthens me. He enables me to not let that statement have control and wounding power over me, but allows me to use that statement for His glory by allowing the Spirit to sanctify my heart and spirit.
Am I there yet? Good gracious, no. But, here are some thoughts I read this morning on the subject by my favorite author, Jerry Bridges.
In The Practice of Godliness, Bridges talks about gentleness as being a person where people find rest. Basically, do people find rest in your presence or not? As I even wrote last week that I want my home to be a place of rest for people, a place of quiet and enjoyment for people, I also want my presence to be that way. When people are around me, when they leave me – who are they? Are they rested? Are they encouraged? Are they pointing more to Christ than they were before they got to me? Do I press them into the gospel or do I drag them away from the gospel with my spirit?
“Christ’s whole demeanor was such that people were often restful in His presence. This effect is another outworking of the grace of gentleness. People are at rest, or at east, around the Christian who is truly gentle.”
“George Bethune said, ‘Perhaps no grace is less prayed for, or less cultivated than gentleness. Indeed it is considered rather as belonging to natural disposition or external manners, than as a Christian virtue, and seldom do we reflect that not to be gentle is isn.”
Gentleness is a gift of the Spirit – it is not a personality trait. we are giving these and therefore should back away from sin in order to manifest these. We quench the Spirit when we do not manifest gentleness.
Style…clothing…accessories…I read many blogs. But, how often do I stop to think about “clothing myself with gentleness.” (Col 3.12). When I awake in the morning I’ve usually at least pondered my outfit for the day – but have I thought about how I’m going to display gentleness with the people I deal with and meet that day? Usually I’ll answer that question – no.
How does being around gentle people affect me? I can think of a men and women in my life who display a great deal of gentleness and kindness. I LOVE being around them. I come away from them rested, more joyful, and relaxed. Not busy. Not hurried. I love that. That is what I crave and desire. I desire rest and ease in relationships. Comfort, gentleness, kindness. Me being around those type of people makes me want to be that way.
So, I should study Christ more. I should study and see how Christ is gentle. Jesus gives rest. I want to be like him in my relationships. Thankful for people in my life who manifest already (though imperfectly) the gentleness of Christ. I am grateful that you are pouring out that grace in my life. For however long I know you – know that you have invested in my life.
You take wounds: and make them whole. That is the salve of Christ and His Word and His covering with His own precious blood shed on Calvary for me.
“The Christian who truly seeks to obey God through gentle character will actively pursue gentleness, striving to close himself with it. He will place this godly virtue high on his list of spiritual traits and LOOK TO GOD the HOLY SPIRIT to PRODUCE this fruit in his life. We should also ask the Holy Spirit to make us aware of specific situations in which we fail to act with gentleness and considerateness. Only then will we be driven to pray fervently for the grace of gentleness.”
What books have you read on gentleness that you think would be good to offer for the discussion?