By Mary Dean Stone
Recently as I was cleaning out my parent's house for sale, I came across an old 1984 cassette tape. The label read First United Methodist Church "Gloria by Vivaldi" soloist Genie Pounds. As my sister and I played the tape, I was able to pick my mother's voice out of many choir members singing. I felt like I had found a treasure.
We listened, and when we heard her sing her solo, I felt a sense of comfort. I could hear her voice one more time. It was clear, strong, yet gentle. I thought to myself, this must be how we hear Jesus.
He is a familiar voice calling tenderly, softly, gently for us. You see, I want to be so familiar with Him that I can pick Him out of all the distractions of the world. As I pondered throughout the rest of the day playing the tape repeatedly, I could see Jesus as the good shepherd, calling His sheep, and the sheep know His voice.
Isaiah 40:11 states:" He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom and GENTLY lead those who are with young."
That, my friends, is the perfect picture of what gentleness looks like.
WHAT DOES A GENTLE SPIRIT LOOK LIKE? Gentleness is defined as the quality of being kind or mild-mannered. It also shows humility and thankfulness towards God and polite, restrained, and compassionate behavior toward everyone else. That is a lot to try to do, especially in this world, today. As I started the Thrive study, I became aware of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I understand that gentleness is a gift because it is part of the character of the Holy Spirit. We have been given the Holy Spirit. God’s fullness dwells in us through the Holy Spirit. We do not need to beg for gentleness. We have all we need. The people who have had the most significant impact on me did so in their actions by kindness, gentleness, openness, and ability to sincerely connect
Do You Hear His Gentle Voice Calling?
and show love. In today's world, this may be viewed as just another average person. But, in my mind, they are the ones who carry strength-God's strength.
My son had a third-grade teacher that was very strict, had control of her class, and taught respect for her and other classmates. To this day, she has remained his favorite teacher of all time. ( not just to Billy but to many of her students). I realized her secret. It was while she demanded a lot, she showed love to each of her students. She did not have to yell, she simply loved them, and they knew it. Her gentleness and quiet Spirit came out in her love for her students.
Gentleness is genuinely inseparable from all the other fruits. Jesus connects gentleness to humility in Matthew 11:29 when He says:" Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Gentleness can also be translated as meekness, which we must not confuse with weakness. Meekness is the quality of having controlled strength. As parents, we learn how to have meekness but at the same time be disciplinarians. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:1, "I myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ- who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent."
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH US ABOUT GENTLENESS? Jesus is the true example of gentleness. His gentleness is equal in His power. In Revelation 5:12, we see Jesus as the worthy lamb who was slain. Jesus went to the Cross quietly and willingly for you and me, an unworthy sinner.
Revelations 5:9 states: “Whereby HIs blood He ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
Do You Hear His Gentle Voice Calling? Jesus is also the conquering lion of the tribe of Judah. He punishes evil and commands us to follow Him. Jesus is 100% Lamb of God and 100% Lion of Judah. We need His gentleness and compassion, but also His resurrection power. HOW CAN I HAVE A GENTLE SPIRIT? A true gentle spirit demands something from us: intention. How can I be intentionally kind, compassionate, and humble towards others in difficult times if I don’t practice love, kindness, goodness, patience, and self-control? James 3:17 reminds us:” But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, humble, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” In 1 Peter 3:4 states:” but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”
Can you remember the moment the Lord spoke to you, calling you to come to Him through Jesus? When we answered that call and took up Jesus' yoke, we experienced the Holy Spirit moving into our Spirit, soul, and body. I like to think of it as washing His character over me day by day. His gentleness flows through me along with all of the fruit of the Spirit. We can feel His love giving us the strength to do all that He has called us to do. This is walking in His Spirit. He desires to be gentle with us, just like a mother cares for her new baby. "But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children." 1 Thessalonians 2:7.
Do You Hear His Gentle Voice Calling?
When we remember that we have been given the Holy Spirit, we find Jesus' strength to live out all the fruits in our lives. They are available all the time. We do not have to ask for them daily. We need to renew our minds over the fact that we have the fullness of God that dwells in us through the Holy Spirit. I have a spirit that can pause, meditate, reflect, and revel in God's glory. I can't do it on my own will, but I can always count on the Holy Spirit to carry me through it. BELIEVE IT!
How do you hear His gentle voice? Is He gently calling you to come to His table? Bring it all to His table? He will change you and give you the desires of your heart. As you change, your desires become His desires, and you wake up and feel His gentle Spirit guiding you in everyday life.