The Eighth Condition for Peace
“…have a reputation for gentleness…” (Philippians 4:5)
When Paul writes of gentleness, he does not mean weakness, or milquetoast gentleness. The Greek word for gentleness here is actually the word meekness. Meekness is not weakness. Biblical meekness is closer in meaning to tameness. When a powerful stallion is broken, finally takes the bit, and yields to the control of the bridle and the rider, it is not weak. That powerful animal could be described as “strength under control.” That is what the biblical word “meek” means and that is the essence of this eighth condition for peace.
When Saul of Tarsus met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, Jesus asked him “Why are you persecuting Me? It is so hard for you.” The original language actually means, “It is hard for you to pull against the bit. It is tearing up your mouth.” When Paul asked his great question, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” he took the bit and became meek. That is what he means when he exhorts us to be gentle.
Gentleness is also listed as one of the fruit or expressions of the Spirit. Another way of describing this concept is to call it “acceptance” or “unconditional surrender.” Paul teaches us by precept and by his example that we must accept the discipline of the will of God until we are so meek we experience this gentleness. Paul is prescribing that we accept God’s will for our lives. His prescription here is “Don’t pull against or fight the will of God.” The peace of God will sometimes return because we realize that God could have prevented our challenging circumstances.