Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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25. Growing in Gentleness – Part 2

Matthew 11:28-30

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

As we think about the fruit of gentleness that the Holy Spirit wants to cultivate in our lives we are reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30. It is here that Christ calls us to come to Him, and bring our heavy burdens and exchange them for rest because He is humble and gentle at heart. As we think about sharing God’s gift of Gentleness Jesus in three short verses reveals 8 powerful principles that He not only preached but modeled and called us to put into practice. The first is that we need to:

  1. Rely on the Savior not on self

Jesus starts with an invitation, to stop trying and start trusting, to trade our weariness for His work. This is what David discovered in Psalm 23 when he declared “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He restores my strength.” So let me ask you who or what are you relying on today is it the Savior or self. When it comes to our interactions with people many of us are responding from a place of weariness instead of responding out of a place of rest. Because we are not trusting Jesus and therefore we are relying on self-strength. As a result instead of being gentle with people, we are often short and gruff. Are you relying on our limited strength instead of the Lords unlimited? The only one who can germinate the seed of gentleness in your life is Jesus. But before you can model gentleness you have to be molded by gentleness. That’s why Jesus is inviting you to come to Him, to rest in Him. Have you responded to the invitation to rest or are you still running? Until we respond to His rest we will always interact with others out of a place of unhealthiness, which leads to us being hurtful instead of helpful. Second Jesus calls us to be:

2. Be humble not hurtful

Jesus doesn’t just invite us to come and rest but to hand Him the hurts of our life so He can heal our hearts. He does this so that we can not only serve out of a place strength as a result of rest but wholeness as a result of healing. Many of us are working out of weakness and woundedness and instead of helping others we are hurting them. Jesus invites you to trade your burdens for blessings, but many of us are gruff instead of gentle because we are still carting around our baggage. We are living in the brokenness instead of the blessing. One of the key evidences that your heart has been touched by the hands of the healer is a humble heart. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less because you are busy thinking more of others. Have you responded to Jesus invitation to trade your burdens for His blessing? Don’t hold onto your hurts or you will get hung up on them and they will harden your heart. Jesus wants to teach us God’s Word because only the truth of God’s Word can tenderize the tough areas of our lives and heal our hardened hearts so that instead of being gruff we can be gentle. What about you are you responding out of hurt or healing? Third He calls us to:

3. Give Grace not judgment

To be a gentle person is to be a person who gives grace to others. Grace is “unmerited favor,” which means we shouldn’t try to make people pay for or try to earn our gentleness. Ephesians 4:2 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Only God is perfect, look your spouse will disappoint you, your family will fail you and your friends will let you down. Your church will disappoint you and drop the ball and your pastor isn’t going to meet all your expectations. The time will come when you will have a legitimate complaint, you will be right and they will be wrong. This is the crossroads of gentleness. Which path will you take? Condemnation and the cold shoulder, or grace and gentleness? Before you make that decision, remind yourself how gentle Jesus is toward imperfect people just like you. We can choose to live our lives in disappointment, being angry with everyone around us, or we can be free to forgive because we are filled with the fruit of God’s Spirit. God can use us to heal hurting hearts when we share His gift of gentleness with others. When we see people stuck in the deceitful web of sin, the Bible challenges us to not talk about them but to go and talk to them. Even though we may be really upset about what they’re doing, we won’t win them over by harsh words. Gentleness is to be used to restore others. Galatians 6:1 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” Take a moment and ask God to reveal to you the name of someone who has been slipping into sin who you need to gently come alongside and help. Gentle words have the power to penetrate hard hearts. When writing to Timothy about how to handle those who cause problems in the church, Paul gives some very practical advice in 2 Timothy 2:25: “Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.” What about you, are you judgmental or gentle toward those who sin differently than you do? Sadly some of us are about as gentle as a cheese grater. Fourth:

4. Be Accepting not Rejecting

When someone accepts Jesus as their Savior they don’t just become part of our fellowship they become part of our family, the body of Christ. As we just talked about none of us are perfect but we need to accept one another. Nothing feels worst then being rejected and nothing feels better than being accepted. Romans 15:7 says: “Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” Remember Christ invites us to partner with Him in His church, and He does this not when we have it all together but when we are weary from carrying the baggage of our brokenness, He accepts us where we are. This is not a call to like and tolerate sin but to love sinners. Whenever you feel tempted to judge and reject others, just pause and reflect on how much Jesus has forgiven you. So where are you at, are you relying on the Savior or on Self? Are you being humble or hurtful? Are you giving Grace or being judgmental? Are you being accepting or rejecting?