Gentle strength ∙
Let your gentleness be evident to all. – Philippians 4:5
10 Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead those that are with young.
During World War II, as the enemy occupation of the Netherlands increased, Anne Frank and her family bravely prepared a secret hiding place. There they hid to escape the danger. They were safe for two years. Eventually, they were found and sent to concentration camps. Anne kept a diary. It was later discovered. It became famous as The Diary of a Young Girl. She wrote, “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.”
Gentleness can be a complicated issue in everyday life.
The Father is depicted as a powerful yet gentle Shepherd in Isaiah 40. We get a picture of the Father, showing Him to be both gentle and powerful. He comes in power and rules with a mighty arm. Yet, at the same time, He is tender and kind. He carries His lambs in His arms; He holds them close to His heart and gently leads them.
Sadly, too often, children of the King are mired in their soulish, fleshly, worldly attitudes and viewpoints. Thus, the concept of an all-powerful King, characterized by gentleness and kindness, often seems incongruous.
REFLECT & PRAY
As we serve the king, sometimes our most significant strength reveals a heart of gentleness to others (Dave Branon).
Father, I know I can be very rigid. It is too easy to demand my rights and seek retaliation when I am hurt or wounded by others. Please develop in me the quality of gentleness.
John 1:14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
The King of Kings and Lord of lords became a mere, mortal human being. He experienced the worst that humanity could throw at Him: injustice, insult, rejection, emotional and physical abuse, and so much more. He was the predicted Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. It was as though the Suffering Servant jumped out of the Old Testament prophetic scrolls and came to life.
The Lord Jesus Christ faced it all in gentle strength. He did not retaliate when He was insulted, nor threaten revenge when He suffered (1 Peter 2:23). The natural response of people when abused or threatened is to retaliate, to try to get even, to hurt in return for being hurt, to seek revenge. Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ entrusted Himself into the Father’s hands.
The Greek word translated as entrusted, trusted, and committed is paradidomi. Paradidomi comes from para – to the side of, over to, and didomi – to give. It has the sense of delivering over or giving over control, relinquishing control to another. He left his case in the hands of God.
1 Peter 2:21-25
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds, you are healed.
25 Once, you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
Gentleness is the ultimate response of strength. It flows naturally from our intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. When we are gentle, we demonstrate the courage of our convictions. The Holy Spirit within motivates and empowers gentleness.
Gentleness is a way of life and action that is possible because we are united with the Lord Jesus Christ. As the Father conforms us to His image, our gentleness grows and becomes more and more evident in our relationships with others.
The Greek term, which is translated as gentle, is praus. Praus has the sense of being humble, considerate, meek, or unassuming. It is a disposition that is mild and friendly. Gentleness accommodates the weakness and failures of others. It is not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance (BDAG). Gentleness is not insistent on one’s own rights, not pushy, not selfishly assertive, not aggressive, not demanding one’s own way (Grudem). Gentleness does not insist on rigid correctness and refrains from retaliation. It is meek and mild in the face of insults and wrongs suffered. Gentleness is the high road most often taken by the spiritually mature.
Living out the quality of gentleness is not optional. It is the mandatory expectation for every child of the King.
Philippians 4:5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.
The Lord Jesus Christ modeled and exemplified the qualities of a good Shepherd. He instructs all children of the King to be shepherded. That is, receive His loving embrace and encouragement. And then to pass it forward and shepherd others.
Gentleness and kindness allow us to make a point without making an enemy (Our Daily Bread, March 8, 2019).
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
29 “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
30 “For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
John 21:17 “Do you love me?” . . . “Feed my sheep.”
© Dr. H 2022