Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5
Your gentleness is to be evident to all. Better make this personal: My gentleness is to be evident to all. To all people with all kinds of different personalities, with all kinds of different perspectives, with all kinds of different priorities, with all kinds of different lifestyles, with all kinds of different beauty and body types, with all kinds of different gifts and abilities, with all kinds of different backgrounds – ethnically, culturally, economically, socially, educationally, spiritually. With all kinds of different habits and quirks.
Lord, my gentleness is to be evident to all of these people? Darn good thing You are near!
It is God’s nearness – God’s encouraging and convicting nearness – that will fill me and move me so that my gentleness will be evident to anybody in any way at all. I need the gentleness of the Lord – the fruit of His Holy Spirit placed within me – to expand in my heart, my mind, my mouth, my eyes and my body language whenever I interact with anyone. I need the Lord’s gentleness to gentle everything within me that would too quickly or too self-righteously respond to others with annoyance or judgment, with sarcasm or dismissal, with impatience or petulance, with pride or pig-headedness.
Our God wants me, and all of us as His children, to reflect His character in all we are and in all we do. Our God wants us to think, speak and act more and more like Jesus. The gentleness of Jesus has been poured into us by God’s Spirit. And this beautiful, powerful and very good fruit of the Spirit is to be poured out from us to others and made tangibly evident to all with whom we interact. No matter what our own inner, self-focused, initial reaction to them may be. Offering and responding in gentleness towards those who are hard for us to deal with, is our way to obey God’s freedom-bringing call on our lives to get over ourselves!
Yet! We never have to do this in our own strength. Our God is near. Always. Our God is intimately and constantly present with us and within us through the gift of His Holy Spirit. And because of the power of this transforming, grace-filled truth from our God, we can choose to let our gentleness be tangibly evident to all, in all we do, in all circumstances, at all times. Not just in our quiet time. Not just in our prayer time. Not just with our favorite friends or family members or with an adorable, happy child or with a playful little puppy or with a sweet-tempered elderly lady or gentleman. Oh, no! Our God wants us to make His sacrificially-given, Christ-like gentleness tangibly evident in all our relationships, responses and encounters with all others – regardless of who all those others may be! We need to give this gentleness from Jesus to all others so that they, too, will know that the Lord is near!
And we all need this gentleness from our Lord for ourselves, for our own lives, for our own self-criticism, self-doubt and self-disappointment. The Lord is near to love us and strengthen us, to comfort us and forgive us, to renew us and refresh us. The Lord is near with His powerful gentleness to transform us.
May we each trust our Lord’s loving presence in all we are experiencing, at all times, in all circumstances, with all kinds of people. Our Lord is near. May this life-changing, grace-filled truth move us to be gentle to all, including to ourselves, in tangibly evident ways.