Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.Philippians 4:5(NASB)
Both the extended greetings at the beginning of Paul's many epistles and the lengthy farewells at the end, give us a wealth of information on God plans and purposes for His Church and teach us much on living the Christian life, in the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace.
As Paul starts to draw his Philippian letter to a conclusion, he implores certain of the sisters there to be of the same mind and to live in unity of spirit, one with the other. He urges certain elders in the congregation to help these women and others in the Christian community to live in peace and harmony with each other.
He encourages all believers to live in peace with one another and to give encouragement and help to all who are members of the Body of Christ, because he himself knows that the joy of the Lord is our strength, Paul calls on his brothers and sisters in Christ to rejoice in the Lord and to keep on rejoicing together in harmony of heart.
The next exhortation from Paul to this community of Christians is: "Let your gentleness be known to all men – the Lord is near." Gentleness is one of the fruit of the Spirit that is manifested in a life that is abiding in Christ, walking in the Spirit, trusting in God, demonstrating His love to others and obeying His Word.
The fruit of gentleness is an attribute that should be evident to all people – both those that are saved and the unsaved. It suggests one who is kind and considerate, tender-hearted and compassionate, merciful and forgiving, good-natured and sweet-tempered. It suggests an inner calm that is not adversely affected by the fluctuating emotions of other people and identifies one who demonstrates an understanding and peaceable spirit, when maligned or misunderstood.
Paul gives a reason that the spirit of gentleness should be evident to all "because the LORD is near." As believers we have the indwelling Holy Spirit who is a Listener to every conversation, an Observer to our every action, a Guest at every mealtime, and a Guide and Comforter for every eventuality that life may throw at us.
Jesus is not only near in the Person and work of the Spirit in our lives, but His physical return in the clouds to take us to be with Himself at the Rapture, or resurrection of Church-age saints, is also nearer than when we first believed. As His children we are called upon to watch, be ready, redeem the time, finish the race that is set before us, and work the works of God in our lives in spirit and in truth – in gentleness of heart and in a quietness of mind.
Both joy in the Lord and gentleness of heart are attitudes that should permeate the soul and spirit of the righteous, for we are called upon to: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God," knowing that when we do so, "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus," in a deepening knowledge of Jesus Christ, our gentle God and gracious Saviour.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many epistles of Paul and the wealth of information, teachings, and training that they contain. Help me to walk a walk of watchfulness, knowing that You are returning very soon. Enable me to stand fast in this evil day, to live in the light of Your presence, and to let a spirit of gentleness be evident to all with whom I come in contact. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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