Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 20, 2011 … Am I Gentle?

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 4: 1, 2 – [see focus in underlined/bold portion] As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

My Journal for Today: Okay, … John MacArthur, in his devotional, Strength for Today, is driving home a point about humility and meekness (or gentleness) with all this redundancy highlighting Eph. 4: 1 – 2. I accept the point that we, who call ourselves “Christian” and, according to the mandate of Phil. 1: 5 toward Christlikeness, must be aspiring to the attitudes and character qualities of Jesus, especially those He ascribed to Himself (again see Matt. 11: 29). However, the pragmatic question arises, “How do I know if I have the humility and gentleness that Christ exhibited so that I can be worthy of His calling on my life as a disciple of Christ?” Well, MacArthur asks several diagnostic or self inventory questions to help us do just that. And they are these …

# 1: Am I self controlled when confronted or challenged; or am I immediately defensive, especially when accused of being wrong? In other words, as spoken of in Prov. 16: 32, does God rule my spirit?

>>> SCRIPTURE: Prov. 16: 32 Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

# 2: Does my anger arise at the right times and for the right things? In other words, do I get angry ONLY when God is dishonored just as Jesus was our model of righteous anger? [If you have them stored somewhere, note my discussion of the last two days – Jan. 18, 19 – or go to those dates in Strength for Today.

3: Am I a peacemaker at heart? In other words, do I have a drive to seek peace in the midst of discord and strife as exhorted by Paul in Eph. 4: 3 [the verse right after our target text for today]? …

>>> SCRIPTURE: Eph. 4: 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

# 4: Do I exhibit Christlike peace when I’m confronting sinners or the unsaved? We see this when we read Gal. 6: 1 and 1st Peter 3: 15

>>> SCRIPTURE: Gal. 6: 1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.
>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st Pet. 3: 15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, …

If I could give an unqualified “YES” to these questions, then MacArthur would say that the fruit of meekness or gentleness (in the spirit of humility) is being reflected in my life, much in the same way that it was described by Paul in 1st Timothy 3: 2 , … from the qualities Paul listed for Christian leaders …

>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st Tim. 3: 2 Now the overseer [elder, pastor, bishop, teacher, etc.] must be above reproach, …, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, …

MacArthur writes, “Remember that …‘a gentle and quiet spirit … is precious in the sight of God’ … [quoted from 1st Peter 3: 4] which should be the attitude and demeanor to which we (as Christians) continually aspire.” And, when I review these self-inventory questions, as I wrote in journal entries past, I’ve got some growing to do in Christlikeness!

What about you?

My Prayer Today: Again, Lord, … it is my sincere desire, … to be gentle like You! Amen

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