Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Handmaiden of the Lord, Post #3

A Handmaiden of the Lord is...

...gentle.

"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil." ~ Ephesians 4:26-27

"Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, and the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." ~Philippians 2:14-16

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:7

"...To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men." ~ Titus 3:2

"For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." ~ James 1:20

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law." ~ Galations 5:22-23

"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

"Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom." ~ Proverbs 13:10

"Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in anywise to do evil." ~ Psalm 37:8

"They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that is went ill with Moses for their sakes: Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips." ~ Psalm 106:32-33


Gentleness. What do you imagine when you hear that word? What is a gentle woman like?

I was really a little amazed when I began looking for Bible verses that mention the topic of gentleness. There are many similar qualities a woman of God is supposed to have; submissiveness, humbleness, love, joy, peace...

...but they all seem to be involved in this trait, as if it is the outflow of the inward parts. A girl can't be gentle without being loving, or peaceful. Gentleness ties many other things together.

Unlike some spiritual qualities, this one transfers to the physical world very nicely and very obviously. I don't mean that love, joy, peace, and patience aren't shown in the natural world - they are. I just mean that being gentle takes a lot more bodily control.

We have all seen the girl or woman who is not gentle; she is harsh with children, noisy in her movements, and quick of temper. She is rough. Her voice is often raised, and people around her must walk as if close to a lighted fuse.

Not all folks who lack gentleness are this obvious. Some manage to hide their lack of it pretty well. Their body is as graceful as a ballerina's, and their voice controlled - most of the time. But every so often a leak is sprung, and their inward self bubbles out, all the more stinging for being pent up for so long.

The girl or woman who is truly gentle is that way only because the Spirit of the Living God has done a work in her heart. The deeper you dig into her heart, the more gentleness you find. There is no cover-up here; she is genuine.

If she becomes angry, she controls that anger, and does not say or do things she will be sorry for later. She does not use arguments and complains to try to change things. She just refuses to brawl. Her motions are controlled and purposeful. She does not lash out. Everyone thinks of her as gentle - and they know where she gets that from.

But how? How did this fruit of the Spirit blossom so beautifully? Why do I have such trouble with it?

I don't think the gentle woman's gentleness is something she works at "putting on." Can you imagine going into your kitchen and saying, "Hmm, I sure wish this room smelled like freshly baked cookies. What can I do to imitate that smell?"

Honestly. Just bake some cookies! Then the good smells will be a natural outcome.

Likewise, peace and contentment, and joy and security in a woman's heart will make her naturally gentle.

The area of gentleness I struggle with the most is with my family. When Mom asks me to do something I don't want to do, or my siblings are trying my patience, those are the times I want to blow through the roof. If I'm going to raise my voice or (yikes) stomp my foot, those are the times I'm going to do it.

And I always have a good explanation. "He really was being difficult!" "She was totally unfair!" "She was downright rude to me!"

The verses that help me the most with this problem are Psalm 106:32-33. Here, the Bible refers to the time Moses disobeyed God, lost his temper in front of the whole nation of Israel, and therefore was punished by not going into the Promised Land.

And do you notice what it says? Moses was provoked. The people really were being awful. He had, as we would say "every reason" to loose his temper.

So he did.

And God punished him.

When that first struck me, I felt horrible. I knew that this meant that God didn't look at how big the provocation was - He expected me to obey anyway. And His Word does command me to be gentle. I was thinking that if I had a good reason, I could blow my top. He was saying that the reason had nothing to do with it.

A gentle woman is so beautiful. Just to watch her live is a pleasure. She really shows the love of Christ. And a gentle woman is what God tells me to be. It is a high standard. But by the grace of God, we can become gentle handmaidens in the midst of a perverse and crooked nation, among whom we will shine as lights in the world.



(To read more "A Handmaiden of the Lord" posts, click here.)

Rules for Participation:

Each of you ladies - old and young - who read this blog have insight that you can contribute for the edification of the rest of us. Particularly those of you who are older in the faith...but even younger sisters can have words of wisdom. I would like to humbly request your active involvement in this series.

In the comment section of each post, I would like each of you to do one of two things;

~ 1: If you do not have a blog, please leave your thoughts directly in the comment section.

~ 2: If you have a blog, please go there and write a small post containing your thoughts on
whatever quality is under discussion here. Make it Biblical; share verses the Lord has used in your heart. The world is full of opinions - we don't need more of that. We need more of the Lord.

Then come back here and leave a link to your post in the comment section. (To make it easier for us to find the right post, please link directly to the post, not your front page.) If you would like to, please direct your blog readers here so that they can find more discussion, from other readers.

This is only a small corner of Blog Land, and I know that I don't reach many ladies - at least not as many as I would like. But this topic - becoming a better Handmaiden of the Lord - is so important that I wish we could talk to thousands. If we start linking to one another, perhaps the word will get out, and we can reach more and more women who care about the Lord.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gentle.

Someone who sends you on your way with a genuine smile.

Someone who continues to have a warm smile, one that comes only from inner peace, even after a rough day.

Someone who kindly repeats the same conversation over and over again with a forgetful older person.

Someone who calmly and quietly brings sensitive issues to one's attention that no one else will address.

And the list goes on ... and on ... and on.

-Amy in NY

Marie said...

Thanks for your thoughts on gentleness. Here is a link to my post on this subject.
http://musingsbymarie.blogspot.com/2008/10/gentleness.html

Amber said...

Thank you for adding your thoughts, ladies!

Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing this post, Amber! This is an area that I am striving to grow in so was quite blessed by what you had to share.

Last year, I did a study on the quality of a gentle and quiet spirit . . . it ties in a bit with this topic so I thought I would share it with you. :) I am not sure how to insert a link to it in a comment, but you can go to our blog (followinhissteps.blogspot.com), click on the 2007 archives and then scroll down a bit. It is titled "A Gentle and Quiet Spirit" (there are two parts.) Anyway, I just thought I would share! :)