Thursday, August 03, 2006

Strength and Gentleness in Philippians

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:5
I am not a gentle spirit. It is one of the fruits of the spirit that God is still cultivating in me. Yet, it's important--so important that Paul is reminding his followers that they should let their gentleness be evident to all. Why? Because the (day of the) Lord is near. Since the day of the Lord is near, we should be pointing others to His work on the cross. And nothing causes us to stand out and shine like stars like a gentle spirit. Look at the first definition listed at dictionary.com:

1. Considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender.
2. Not harsh or severe; mild and soft
3. Easily managed or handled; docile: a gentle horse.


If we are considerate, kindly, amiable and tender, won't people want to know our "secret?"

I was at our ladies' retreat last spring, and the speaker talked about meekness--how there was nothing wimpy about it. She compared it to a brick wrapped in velvet. The power and strength and boldness of Christ is the brick. The gentleness and humility of putting others before yourself is the velvet. The perfect integration of these is a velvet brick.

I always think of my friend (who we now refer to as the Velvet Brick) when I think of a gentle spirit. I know some people who come by it honestly, but I think that the reason that I value it so highly in Lee is because I know that it's Christ's work in her, and she just exudes it. I didn't know her before she began to follow Christ, but she has enough spirit and individuality in her that I wouldn't guess that she would have described herself as gentle by nature. I told her at the retreat that I thought of her immediately with the description of the velvet brick. I added that I might have to classify myself as just a brick, and our friend Nicole assessed that she was probably just velvet.

The amazing thing is that in Christ we all have that power--the power to be tough and bold when we need to, and yet the power to give up all of our rights as well. I think that even though the third definition above uses a horse as an example, it suits those of us who aspire to be trained by the Lord. If I let Him break me, just as a horse must be broken to be tolerant of a rider, then I will become more useful to Him and to those around me as well.

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This is fifth in a series on Philippians. Come back all this week for more.

Day 1: Praying from Philippians
Day 2: Parenting in Philippians
Day 3: Standing Out in Philippians
Day 4: Self Confidence in Philippians
Day 5: Strength and Gentleness in Philippians
Day 6: Peace in Philippians

Day 7: Showing Concern in Philippians

5 comments:

Laurel Wreath said...

the power to give up all of our rights as well...

I have not probably being the brick, it is the "give up all of our rights" that I struggle with. So many times I want to yell "but I have a right to be this, or do that, or feel this way..." but I know in order to truly be useful and open to God's word and leadings I need to give that all up. And in doing so he gives me the strength.

Great post. Love reading it.

Laurel Wreath said...

I mean "I have not problem".... sorry for the typos... mind was going faster than the hand.

Dianne said...

I'm enjoying this series very much. Love that book!

e-Mom said...

Fantastic post! Exactly what I've been thinking about... and plan to post on! I'll link back to you. Obviously, you live this way (or try to) or you wouldn't be able to articulate it so well. Mature gentleness is all about other. GB.

Keziah said...

A velvet brick? I'd never heard of this picture before but I love it! We are studying biblical womanhood with my bible study group at the moment so have been talking about how some words have taken on such opposite meanings to those meant in the Bible, like submission and meekness. I'll definitely be sharing this with them.