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Gentleness

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Bill Gaither wrote a beautiful song about Jesus, the Good Shepherd:

Gentle Shepherd come and lead us
For we need you to help us find our way
Gentle Shepherd come and feed us
For we need your strength from day to day
There's no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day
Gentle Shepherd come and lead us
For we need to you to help us find our way


It’s winsome and hopeful to picture Jesus as the gentle, Good Shepherd. We do not want to picture God as overpowering or harsh. It could be because we instinctively know the Living God of the Bible is so sovereign and powerful, if He were to exert His power we would be overcome and undone. We would have no choice. He would Master us and there is nothing we could do about it.

Perhaps we secretly hope if Jesus is gentle, then He is weak. Then we can have our way in our lives. Then we get to call the shots.

Here’s the thing. Gentleness does not mean wimpiness.

The water that comes out of the spigot of our house comes out under the pressure applied by the town water supply. With a nozzle on the hose, I can dial the spray from a gentle mist to a powerful stream. The same water with the same power can be dialed down to a gentle mist. It is power under control. That is a Biblical way to see the spiritual fruit of gentleness.

Gentleness is taking all the power of my life and channeling it through the love of Jesus Christ that inhabits my heart so the outcome is gentle. With the love of Jesus controlling my will, I can exert all my powers to help someone else instead of forcing my will on them. I can be gentle with people because I love them.

But the spiritual fruit of gentleness goes even deeper. With the Holy Spirit of God transforming my heart and will, I can be gentle with others not only because I love them, but because Jesus loves them through me.

Yesterday I pulled off a two-lane road onto a four-lane road behind a pickup truck that was accelerating slowly. I pulled into the other lane and started to pass. He sped up and made getting up to highway speed a race. I wanted to win the race, but there was a check in my spirit from the Holy Spirit. I didn’t need to be ahead of the pickup truck. I didn’t need to accelerate my heart to some mild form of road rage. I didn’t need to tempt the other driver to prove he could drive faster than me. Gentleness kicked in, and I backed off and let the pickup truck go on ahead. I set my cruise control and had a quiet drive to the destination. By God’s Spirit I was able to dial down the power I had and drive safely on.

Gentleness is power under control.

I can exert self-control and practice gentleness, and I can allow the Holy Spirit to exercise control of my wild spirit so every action is controlled by the love of Jesus. That love is far from wimpy—it is the most powerful force in the universe.

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us…

Posted by Mike Dominick with 0 Comments

Faithfulness

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God is always faithful. I am not.

Behind God’s faithfulness is His unfailing, unconditional love. God loves us, and so God holds on to us, even when we are unfaithful.

Behind our faithfulness is our love for God. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Our love for God and for others is, unfortunately, not unfailing and unconditional. Our fallen sin nature gets in the way, and sometimes we are selfish. Utterly selfish. Sinfully selfish.

An utterly selfish man married a loving, giving wife. Just a few days into the marriage, he gave her a list of chores he expected to be done every day when he got home from work. The house was to be cleaned. Dinner was to be cooking. His newspaper and slippers were to be arranged neatly at his chair. She was to be neatly dressed with makeup in place and fresh clothing. Everything had to be just so.

The wife did each chore every day because it turned out the man had an ugly temper. But she grew to hate that list. Finally, the utterly self-absorbed man left her and chased another woman.

After a time of healing the woman met another man. This man was kind and loving. He respected her and treated her well. They were married, and began to make a life together.

One day, several months into the new marriage, the wife moved a couple of magazines on an end table and something fell to the floor. It was the list. The list of chores she was required to do for her first husband. Immediately anger and fear welled up inside her as she picked up the dreaded list. But as she looked at it, she realized something. She was doing everything on the list for her new husband, without even thinking about it. She was serving him because she loved him.

Faithfulness to God comes from the best and truest place when it comes from our love for Him. The more we are filled with the self-giving love of Jesus, the more we love—freely and joyfully. The more we love Him. And the more we love others.

Love changes obedience into a gift. When love is the driver, there is no clenched-teeth obedience because we must. There is joyful faithfulness to God’s commands because we want to.

Because of the Cross. Because of forgiveness. Because of new life. Because of answers to prayer. Because of God’s blessings, we love Him. And because we love Him, we want to honor Him. The stronger the love, the greater the faithfulness.

And here is the best of all. God’s list of commandments is not given to us for His benefit. The commands of God are given to us for our benefit. Receiving grace and living holy lives to honor Jesus bring us the joy and purpose we were meant to live in as image-bearers of the living God. The best way to a joy-filled, satisfying life is to live out loving faithfulness to God by the grace of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I want to strive for that. How about you?

Posted by Mike Dominick with 0 Comments

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