2. Become Gentle in Spirit
I always laugh when I read the story of James and John asking Jesus if they could call down fire on the Samaritans. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus naturally rebuked them, saying, “you do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:54-55).
There’s a reason why Jesus nicknamed these two irascible bash brothers the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17). It wasn’t a badge of approval. He created the nickname to remind James and John of their aggressive and impulsive nature which He was working to transform.
These were all qualities found in the Twelve that Jesus overcame. These are qualities Jesus is still overcoming in the hearts of men today.
What nickname would Christ give you to remind you of the man He is seeking to transform?
Many in Israel, particularly the zealots, were convinced the Messiah would reclaim Israel from the Romans. They were prepared for a violent revolution. What they got was a revolution of the heart.
Jesus challenged His followers to take on His yoke and learn from Him, “for I am gentle and humble in heart,” He said (Matthew 11:29). Paul later wrote to the Ephesians, “be completely humble and gentle: be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
Gentleness is evident in how we interact with others (Philippians 4:5), and it can only be shaped by the Spirit at work within us. As Jesus said, “for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45). What kind of spiritual fruit do you bear? What kind of soil is being tilled in your heart?
Are you quick to forgive or easily offended?
Are you patient with others or short-tempered and cross?
Do you promote peace or stir up anger and tension?
Is your ultimate goal to restore and rebuild others or seek retribution?
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Remember that Christ called you to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). He didn’t call you to prove others wrong or win at all costs.
It takes strength to forgive and courage to love. The soft-spoken and gentle man of God is not weak.
Tenderness is as masculine as tenacity.
Remember, David was as much a giant-slayer as he was a harp-player. Both are attributes of the man after God’s own heart.
Our God is great and powerful, and His power is evident in both the strength of the lion and gentleness of the lamb (Jeremiah 11:19).
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