Word for Today – Philippians 4:5

Let Your Gentleness Be Known

My age may show with this question, but do any of you remember the television show Gentle Ben?  It chronicled the adventures of a boy and his bear, Ben. The obvious hook of this family program was the premise of a potentially vicious animal displaying the gentle nature of a pussy cat.

We are captivated by people or things with reputations contrary to what we expect, like a bear known as Gentle Ben. The word gentle is no stranger to Scripture, and despite its innocuous impression, it is a powerful force.

“Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5 NRSV).

This exhortation is easily overlooked. One reason could be the fact that it is sandwiched between two very well-known and oft-quoted verses; we tend to skip over it. Another reason could be that our culture tends to laud aggression over a more gentle approach to life.

As Christians, we cannot ignore the fact that this simple verse not only encourages us to be gentle, but includes the phrase “The Lord is near.” One conclusion we can draw from these thoughts joined together in God’s Holy Word is this: when we display gentleness, God is in the vicinity. To many, believers and non-believers, a gentle God is as much of an anomaly as a gentle bear: they equate the Lord more with wrath, rulers, and regiments, than the concept of “gentle.”

  • Wrath – He’s gonna get us!
  • Rulers – Watch out, God’s gonna slap our knuckles if we step out of line!
  • Regiment – Do this, do that…or we’re gonna burn in Hell!

Truly, this is the image of God seared in many people’s minds. Sometimes it is hard to sort out the reality of our Holy God among the wrathful perceptions floating around the world. Yes, there was a point in time when God was harsh, but for those who search the pages of the Old Testament, there are plenty of examples of loving gentleness sprinkled all over the era ruled by the Mosaic Law.

However, along with the advent of Jesus and the New Covenant of grace, God’s benevolent character was fully unveiled. This subject goes much deeper than space allows for me to cover, but suffice it to say, we serve a very gentle God.When we extend a gentle touch to others we reflect our one of the best things about our heavenly Father.

If Christians are known for their gentleness, people will know God is near. Let’s work at captivating others, especially non-believers, in the same way that wild, yet gentle, bear captivated a generation of TV viewers so many years ago.

Word for Today: Show people that God is near, let your gentleness be known.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 at 3:49 pm and is filed under Philippians, Word for the Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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