Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Philippians 4:5
The word Paul uses for “gentleness” is an adjective which gives the idea of being fair and reasonable. We should relax our overly strict standards in order to keep a spirit of fellowship between one another. Instead of just demanding the letter of the law, we should apply the spirit and intent of it when dealing with others. The noun form of the word is used when speaking of Jesus in 2 Corinthians 10:1 –
“Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ…”
By Paul’s direction, this gentle spirit should “be known to all men.” What this means is that our outward conduct is to apply equally to both the saved and the unsaved. If we have an overbearing attitude towards the lost, they will certainly remain lost. If we cannot be fair and reasonable, why would anyone want to then join together with us? And if we treat the unsaved with such care, how much more should we act in this manner towards believers.
How often it is that Christians tear one another apart instead of seeking harmony! And such an attitude towards one another does not go unnoticed by the unsaved.
To finish the verse, he says, “The Lord is at hand.” He uses a Greek translation of the Aramaic term Maranatha which means, “Lord come!” In this, he is probably referring to the imminent return of the Lord, meaning that there is no time when we should not expect Him. At the same time, he very well could be indicating that the Lord is near, being present at all times for those in His church. In either sense, the thought that our conduct is being monitored and will be judged, is clearly evident.
Life application: Our conduct towards others, both the saved and the unsaved, needs to be carefully considered. How we act can lead to eternity-changing decisions for those who see our behavior. Let each of us remember this, considering that we too were once lost, but have been given the blessing of coming to know Jesus. Let us not be the cause of any to not have this same opportunity.
Lord God, help us to conduct ourselves in such a faithful and gentle manner that others will be drawn to You, not driven from You. The message of Christ is one which means salvation and restoration. But if all others see is a bitter attitude in us, why would they want to come to know You? Rather, may they see the joy we possess because of the hope which is in us, and desire it as well. Amen.