“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5, NKJV)
Gentleness is another word for meekness and is part of the fruit of the Spirit we must bear in our lives (Galatians 5:23). It is a companion of humility and longsuffering in Colossians 3:12, indicating the condition of heart that expresses moral strength in the face of trials, while maintaining a quiet spirit in the face of provocation. Gentleness or meekness is not cowardice, nor is it indecisiveness. It is moral strength which is properly directed to help those who falter, while bearing with troublesome times (Galatians 6:1-2). Gentleness is a humble and kind demeanor in the face of another’s anger. The spirit of gentleness is the soothing quality of gentle conduct that combines with spiritual poise and strength. Gentleness refuses to be harsh or obnoxious in the face of unkind remarks (Numbers 12:1-3). It is the character of Christ Himself (Matthew 11:29). Let us endeavor to imitate Him. Our gentleness will be seen by others and it will be rewarded by the Lord, who is near.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:4–6, NASB95)
Christians have the ability to live in joyful gladness under the most stressful situations. The character of gentle forbearance couples with remembering the Lord’s approaching judgment to form two reasons we live in joy instead of anxiety. The third strand of the three-fold cord of joy is prayer. The thankful requests of prayer strengthen our resolve to rejoice in the Lord because we know God hears and answers us. With a gentle spirit, generous prayers and respect for the Lord’s presence and power to judge, Christians refuse to abandon joy for anxiety, especially in the face of temporary trials. Though Paul was imprisoned in Rome for his faith, he set this example of always rejoicing in the Lord. Today, remember Christ rules from heaven and sees all things. Keep a gentle spirit toward others as you petition God with thanksgiving for His great and constant care. By doing so you can, and will, “rejoice in the Lord always”.