An able man shows his spirit by gentle words and resolute actions (Chesterfield). He is able because he has been taught (or learned in some way). His words are gentle because he is secure in who he is, not threatened by others around him, thus no need to have harsh words. He has resolute actions because he knows what is right, will see it through to the end or be brought to an end trying to see it through. That which Chesterfield said, I am sure, came by experience and observation. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58, KJV). RT
A BRUISED REED AND SMOKING FLAX
Matthew, an apostle of Christ, said of Jesus, “A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory” (Matthew 12:20). This statement is part of a larger quotation from Isaiah 42:1-4, and Matthew’s use of it is the only time this particular prophecy is quoted in the New Testament. (Note: Flax was a plant from which linen and other products were made.)
In context, both Isaiah and Matthew are talking about Christ as God’s Servant, “My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased,” the One upon whom God would put His Spirit, the One who would “declare justice to the Gentiles,” and the One “in [whose] name Gentiles will trust” (Matthew 12:18-21). In short, it is a text relating to the redemptive work of Christ, not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles. Continue reading
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” Philippians 4:5.
Every parent has probably come upon a heated exchange between his or her kids and, instead of charging in, has listened to gather facts and see if they will work it out in a good way. Often, it is the aggressor who finds that the other is not being the pushover that he had hoped and, upon seeing the parent, immediately pleads for help and intervention.
Wrong-spiritedness is common among adults too—and sadly among brothers and sisters who are supposed to be imitating Christ, who was the gentle Lamb led to the slaughter.
Just a few verses before this, Paul pleads with two Christian sisters, “who had contended at [his] side in the cause of the gospel” and may have not have been bearing the spiritual fruit of gentleness with each other. But Paul is not the parent here but only the brother who is saddened by their ungentle spirit.
Oh, how the rest of the body is affected as well as our message to a lost world when we are harsh with one another! But, more than that, Paul appeals to our heavenly Father who “is near” and always watching.
Is the spiritual fruit of your gentleness evident to all?
Plattsburgh church of Christ
author of Kin of Cain
a Christian historical fantasy