Thursday, January 20, 2005

Being a Better Blogger
or Taking Valerie’s Advice

In the comments to the previous post the question was raised as to whether I would enlighten my dear readers with regard to the outcome of my little devotional talk at last night’s MOPS meeting. Since one dear lady came to me afterward and told me it was just what she needed to hear, I will take that as a sign that at least one person received a blessing from the Lord and will share with you what I said. Otherwise I’d’ve just ignored Valerie’s question. ;-)

The overall theme of Mothers of Preschoolers this year is the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control - and I was asked to speak on gentleness. The first thing I wanted to make clear was that the fruit of the Spirit is not about personality or temperament traits. In real life, I come across as a fairly mild, phlegmatic person, and people regularly say to me that I seem so peaceful and patient and so forth, but the fact that God put me together in such a way that I tend to express myself quietly does not mean that I don’t need the fruit of the Spirit just as much as the next mom does.

I have read that gentleness is strength under control. Now, I have a beautiful piano that was given to me, and it’s huge. It’s a one hundred year old upright and must weigh more than five hundred pounds. When we moved, it took four big burly guys to get that piano loaded onto the moving truck, and they did it gently, which doesn’t mean that they touched it lightly and gingerly so as not to hurt it. Gentleness is not weakness or wimpiness, and it took a lot of muscle to get that job done.

A tamed horse is often used as a picture of gentleness. In fact, we say that a horse has been gentled when it has been tamed and its strength has been brought under the control of its master. In this same way, our Master gentles us by teaching us to yield to him - to yield to him in both his sovereign limits on us, and in his sovereign provision for our lives in all of our circumstances.

I have a special needs child who often requires a lot of patience on my part, but if I'm truly yielded to the sovereign Lord from whom all good and perfect gifts come, I'll remember that this little boy is my heavenly father's good gift to me, and I'll treat him in a way that demonstrates my thankful submission to the Lord, that is, I'll treat him with gentleness. So the grace to yield to God's will, meaning that the Holy Spirit is growing the fruit of gentleness in my life, reveals itself as gentle behavior toward others.

As we've been studying the various aspects of the fruit of the Spirit this year, one thing that has caught my attention is the fact that these are not fruits that are independent of one another - they are all connected. They're all part of the same fruit. Treating a person with gentleness means that you are patient and kind to them, that you are resting peacefully in God's sovereignty, and all of that is joyfully done through love, faithfulness and self-control.

One of my favorite Psalms, the 37th, demonstrates this interconnectedness of the fruit of the Spirit. "Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity." See, it's talking about yielding to the sovereignty of God. "Delight thyself also in the LORD... Commit thy way unto the LORD... Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself... Cease from anger, and forsake wrath... the meek [that is, the gentle] shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."

When we are truly yielded to our heavenly father, he brings us that peace that passes understanding.

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