Rejoicing in God Makes Us Gentle
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
This is similar to I Thes 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
And in our passage, Paul will next turn to prayer as well. And all of these “always” activities are extremely important for the development of Christ-like character. That is what the gentleness statement is about. When we are focused on rejoicing in the LORD, then we will be inherently gentle. Let’s look at why!
- Rejoicing in the Lord When Experiencing Good
- The good things in my life come from God
“The Lord is near!”
James 1: 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1: 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Temptation is a perversion of a desire for something that is good!
- God is behind every good circumstance
“The Lord is near!”
This means that you can find Him! This will ground you in humility and keep your source of joy sound!
Marriage: His idea:
Proverbs 19: Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
Social beings: created by God. Even our basic definition as humans: God created “man” male and female! What is a human being? You cannot express the answer to that question without discussing both sexes, and we cannot continue as a species without the participation of both sexes. Family is key. And then cooperation with neighbors in working makes life much better. And we cooperate in many ways!
Taxes, government, military, police and fire departments, schools, etc.
Personality talents and gifting:
Psalms 139: 13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
I Chronicles 29: 10 David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.
13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
Deuteronomy 8: 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.
Wisdom and understanding.
Proverbs 2: 1My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
The place and time that we live
When we pursue life from this perspective, then…
- This creates a clear understanding of life
It avoids the corrosive experience of comparison. Like little children, we can easily complain about the fact that life is not fair.
This guards against pride and boasting Eph 2:9 Lest any man boast. Boast in the Lord:
I Cor 4: 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us!
I Cor 1: 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
This guards against forgetting God and attributing His work to someone or something else. This is the root of idolatry! We have a very strong preference for what we can see!
Romans 1: 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
II Rejoicing in God When Things are Bad
“The Lord is near!”
- Joy in trials
Psalms 34: 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Ecclesiastes 7: 14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.
Why tell people this? Because we are not at the mercy of circumstances! But, we are at the mercy of a Good God! But we knew that all ready!
Job 2: 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
What are we saying by saying this? Really we are saying that God is sovereign and we cannot make Him do anything. His will is best, His character is best and I must submit and believe that this is true in the midst of a world that is twisted and broken and where a God who is good and loving chooses to intervene or not without consulting me. If you accept this, then you can rejoice.
CS Lewis: We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
- Joy in God’s ability to redeem
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
- Joy in fellowship with Jesus
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
I Peter 4: 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. … 16 , if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
III. Rejoicing Makes us Gentle?
“The Lord is near!”
- Gentle because we believe God is at work
I don’t have to rage and fuss and spit and cuss. I can rest in the knowledge that God will allow those who trust in Him to mount up on wings as eagles.
- Gentle because I rejoice with you instead of competing
I can celebrate your blessing instead of coveting it and being jealous and whining that you do not deserve God’s grace and mercy! Like I do! Idiot!!
- Gentle because I am not steeped in pride
I can have compassion on others even when they are not behaving well because I know that it is only by the grace of God that I am not a complete wreck myself. And I am not taking credit for what God has done, so I don’t have to be self-protective. I can share, I can love freely.