“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV)
There are so many lessons to be learned about life and living if we will just open our eyes, our ears, and yes, our hearts to all that give credence to the goodness and graciousness of our Lord!
Watch a young mother tenderly holding her new baby closely, swaddled carefully, rocked gently, and clearly held by the mother with a deep sense of love and gratitude for the priceless little one.
Or even the burly and clearly strong father, carefully holding on to and gently whispering and patting. That is ‘tenderness!’
When you see these beautiful scenes unfold … you’re watching “gentleness” in real time! And the fact of the matter is … our Lord wants us to be living in such a way that others are able to see Him through us (1 Peter 2:21-25).
It must have been that way to a great extent throughout most of the ministry of Christ. Oh, I know the scenes described vividly of Him chasing the moneychangers out of the Temple. And I know He looked His enemies in their eyes and called them out repeatedly for their hypocrisy.
But I also know of just how often He was moved “with compassion” and looked into the hearts of so many who were lost and unsure of who they were or what they were supposed to be doing in life. So many in our world are discouraged, hopeless in far too many cases “without God in this world” because of their unbelief!
“Gentleness” is also translated “meekness” and it reflects the quality of possessing a “quiet and humble” attitude in one’s heart. Its precious presence in our hearts and lives is demonstrated in patient reaction to offense while harboring no sense of revenge or retribution.
Interestingly enough, we find the use of this word being descriptive of three distinct attitudes:
- Colossians 3:12, where the inspired words are being applied to a child of God’s heart, soul, and mind that has been surrendered to Him. Having “put off the old ways of sin” they were “putting on the new ways of spiritual life” that was to be “modeled” after the divine pattern drawn up and lived by Jesus Christ Himself.
- James 1:21, where the brother of Jesus by inspiration uses this word to describe the disposition of being teachable, which by the way, is why Jesus in His invitation of our text, says, “Come … learn of me …”
- Ephesians 4:2, where the Apostle Paul by inspiration employs the use of this attitude with reference to our mindfulness and our consideration of others!
Collectively, this quality of life that produces the fruit of humility in our hearts and then shows in our lives enables us to live a better and balanced life. We learn to see ourselves in a better way and in the way we see those around us.
When this disposition of heart flourishes … we are able to see the greatness and the goodness found in our God … and become better equipped to see the good in those around us … people … people who need other people … who can become better by just being around us!
There is no room in kingdom of God for God’s people to be selfish, self-serving, self-promoting, hardnosed, stubborn, and generally a difficult kind of person to be around or to try to get along with.
People today long for love and kindness and God is calling us to provide it. But the Lord wouldn’t ask of us something that He Himself didn’t exemplify and practice daily!
“Gentleness” along with the other “fruits of the Spirit” provided by the inspired words of Paul are appropriately identified this way because as Jesus repeatedly pointed out … “He is the vine and we are the branches” and He was very clear in His wording, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4)
It is only when we come to the awareness of the genuine “compassion” of Christ He displayed daily that we are able to penetrate that dense and hardened crust that can over time form around our possession of self-centeredness!
Our lost and dying world doesn’t need more stuff … or even more of what is only temporary … our world … our neighbors … our co-workers … our family … we are all in need of the “fruits of the Spirit” found only in Jesus Christ. The only way to find eternal rest and peace!
Bill Fairchild, Jr.