Day 10 – Cardio Training

Today we will be looking at Philippians 4:5

We talked about being full of joy in the Lord last week, and Paul connects that idea with being gentle in this week’s verse.

Philippians 4:5 (NIV)
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

When we are truly rejoicing in the Lord, we will be gentle. When we are connected, experiencing His presence in our lives, gentleness will be a result. It is hard to be selfish and rude when you are experiencing His new and living way. Both rejoicing and gentleness demonstrate a focus on the eternal over the temporal. Gentleness means, at times, losing arguments, giving up so-called rights, foregoing last words, letting others get their way.

Gentleness has gotten a bad rap on our culture. In this verse the word means to be gentle, patient, and moderate. In our culture, however, people often think that gentleness is a sign of weakness.

Gentleness is rarely considered a virtue in a society today that has lost its general civility. We tend to see being right as giving us the right to behave badly–to manipulate, to be rude, to be offensive.

Our culture is wrong about gentleness being weakness. Take for instance this encounter that Elijah has with God.

1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV)
11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

And that was God. God is gentle. With all His power, power that has made all the universe and holds all things in being, there is nothing in all the world so gentle as God is.

We see the gentleness of God modeled in the life and ministry of Jesus. He cares for the lost, the down and outers, the broken, the sick…He sees them, and brings the Kingdom to them and shows them how they may enter. He is the picture of gentleness in a broken world. On the sermon on the mount He teaches His disciples about the importance of gentleness:

Matthew 5:5 (NIV)
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Let’s move into our message today by talking about the first part of the verse, “blessed are the meek” and then we will touch on the inherit the earth part at the end of the message. Blessed are the meek could be said “joyful are the gentle”. So, what does gentleness look like in practical ways? Here are a few ideas.

1. How you treat people

Romans 12:9-10 (MSG)
9 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. 10 Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

How do you treat people? Are they simply part of the scenery and machinery of your life or do you see them as people that God loves extravagantly? In your mind, are these people there just to make your life work? If there is a problem, or things seem to take too long, do you take your frustration out on these people? How about the people you work with? Do you take time to get to know them at all? How about the people in your inner circle? Is your relationship with them about you or about them? One of the best ways to answer that question is to take a pulse of your frustration level? If you are frustrated with the people around you, your relationships are more about you than them. When you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath and refocus. It is not all about you. Let your gentleness be evident to all because the Lord is near.

2. How you handle what you know (or think you know)

Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Are you teachable or do you think you have everything pretty much figured out? Do you have an opinion about almost everything that you feel the need to interject all the time? Do you think it is important to always prove yourself right? Do you ever stop and consider that you might be wrong? Do you ever think about what is more important, proving that you are right, or trying to see where the other person is coming from? Can you walk hand in hand with someone even if you don’t see eye to eye? Can you agree to disagree and still maintain relationship?

3. How you look at the world

1 Timothy 6:10-12 (NIV)
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Are you more focused on temporary things or eternal things. What do you treasure? Your relationships or your stuff? Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 that where your treasure is, there your heart will be.

These are areas that we can all practice being gentle in. There is not much gentleness in the world around us. Most people are either angry or afraid because they have not yet connected with Jesus. Which brings up the second half of our verse today, that the meek will inherit the earth.

Gentleness brings with it the promise of inheriting the earth. This is kind of interesting. What does it mean to inherit the earth?

The definition of the Greek word for earth here is this: from a primary word; soil; by extension a region, or the solid part or the whole of the terrene globe (including the occupants in each application)

Our inheritance is the earth, including the occupants.

Our inheritance is the heart of our mission as a church. The attitude of gentleness is a necessary part of fulfilling the mission. Look at this verse.

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
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,

We are to be ready to give an answer for the hope we have, but it needs to be presented with gentleness and respect. We have to see people around us not as scenery and machinery, but as our inheritance. One More lost child that needs to be brought home to Dad. Gentleness, strength under control, being yielded to the Spirit of God, will allow us to keep the focus off of us and on Him.

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