Gentleness – Mild and temperate in behavior. Tender. I used to watch a TV show years ago called Kung Fu. It showed a young boy who had been brought up under the watchful eye of a Kung Fu Master. This master trained the boy in the movement of Kung Fu, as well as, the temperament of the graceful martial art. He also showed him the heart of Kung Fu and explained that it wasn’t about fighting, but strength from gentleness. Of course, then someone would provoke him beyond what he could stand, and then he would “clean house.” I liked the last part. You know the part where he takes all the bad guys can dish out and then he uses his Kung Fu skills to dominate them physically. I would almost stand up every time and help him fight from in front of my tv. At the end of the fight I would say, “Good moves Butterfly.” I got the fighting part, but I missed the reason behind the Kung Fu part. You know, the part where you have to learn to control your mind, actions, and reactions? That part I missed. I missed the Gentleness part.
Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit as written in Galatians 5:23 where it says, “gentleness and self-control, Against such things there is no law.” Paul knew all about gentleness, because he was constantly put down, lied about, physically beaten, and falsely accused. Why? Because he proclaimed the message of Christ. Amazing that he would be picked out of a crowd of thieves, adulterers, shysters, and murderers as the one who should be put in jail. Just because he proclaimed hope, peace, and eternal life with God. In all the times he was persecuted, he still kept the heart of who he was in tact and came across as one who truly lived and believed the message he spoke. Paul encouraged all followers of Christ to grow in their relationship to the point that we would mirror the gentleness of Christ. To his son in the ministry Timothy, he said in 1 Timothy 6:11, “But you , man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love endurance and gentleness.” Flee from what? From acting and reacting like those who don’t know Christ and start act and reacting with Godly character. Boy is that tough! I still have to deal with the old Kung Fu mentality of my early years and want to see us Christians get a break for a change. But what does that break we get do? Not much in the scheme of eternity. That victory is only temporal and fleeting like wealth and popularity. It is God’s desire for us to acquire much more precious things in our lives and one of them is definitely “gentleness.” We have the greatest message to proclaim and we know it personally and that message must be shared wherever we go, but it must be done with gentleness and tenderness. The power of the message itself is so powerful that we don’t have to put any bells or whistles to make it “pop” more. It pops enough on its own. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” I also remember in the Kung Fu TV show where the student challenged the master, thinking he was weak in his gentleness. Where upon, the master squelched his attempts with ease and respect. Then he would say, “you have much to learn” and walk away. Our Heavenly Father has such wisdom in this area for all of us who would listen and learn, and we should never doubt the strength of not only the message, but the lifestyle derived from the message. Put your ear to the ground and hear the rumbling of the power of God coming down the tracks. Put your nose to the air and smell the sweet aroma of the Spirit of God giving hope and peace in a world that is falling apart. Put your eyes set toward the one who gives us wisdom to see the world as it truly is. Put your hands up and feel the breeze of the movement of God among His people. It’s time to consult God for the answers of life and allow Him to balance this whole thing out.
In the balance of life there will always be those who want to fight as a means to get their message across. There will always be those who want to use Christianity as a club to prove their point. There will always be opportunity for any of us to use aggression and not gentleness, but Christ is gentleness and that is our foundation. In Philippians 4:5 Paul wrote, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Christ is in us and working through us and His gentleness should be one of the things that keeps our lives in balance in a tumultuous world. We don’t consult some art form for our answers when that art form is only a facsimile of the true source. We consult the maker of it all. When you come to know Jesus everything else becomes Kung Phooey. God! Has your heart become hardened? Have competitive schemes become the norm for your thinking? Is your life witness filled with victories at the expense of others? Time to change. Time to rearrange. Time to listen Butterfly. The Master is speaking.
The Pilgrimage continues….