We live in a world today where there is increasing pressure upon the church. We can give God thanks for the enormous freedoms that we have in the United States. We’ve been an island of freedom for over 200 years, but make no mistake, there are many places in the world where the Christian faith is not welcome.
Things are changing, and there is a hostility to things that Christians have confessed and believed for 2,000 years. That hostility is growing. The temptation, when that happens, is to withdraw or take revenge. Paul tells us instead, “let your gentle spirit be known to all men.” (Philippians 4:5)
Develop a reputation for gentleness.
Notice that this verse says “to all men.” Paul instructed his friends in Philippi to be gentle, not just within their place of worship, but also among outsiders.
He may have had in mind their opposition, the authorities who were putting pressure on the Philippians. To paraphrase, “let there be a public knowledge of your gentleness.”
The meekness and gentleness that we are to show in this world are not an indication of weakness; rather, retaliation is the mark of someone who has a weak will. Strength is needed to stand firm with gentleness.
Let your gentleness point to Jesus.
We want the world to see the meekness and gentleness of the followers of the one true God. Let your life be oriented around the person of Jesus Christ. Let your gentleness be known to all.
If you do this, “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) This peace will be deeper and better than anything you can comprehend.
Let the Lord care for you.
Next time you feel panicked or afraid, remember Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 6, and don’t be anxious about the things He’s promised to provide:
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
Don’t let fear control you. Instead, with prayer and thanksgiving, keep your heart and mind under the discipline of the Lord.
The previous was adapted by Rachel Motte from a sermon featured on Dr. Sloan’s radio program, A Higher Education, on August 2, 2013.