Thursday, June 28, 2007

Food for Thought

From my devotional time today: "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers (and sisters), whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.... I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength." Philippians 4:5-8,13

How many of us really live out these verses?

"Let your gentleness by evident to all." Sadly, gentleness isn't always what we Christ-followers project to those around us. I see a lot of Christians "pushing" their viewpoints, seeking retaliation for hurts suffered, speaking maliciously of others........I ask, is that being gentle? I think gentleness is a forgotten and misunderstood trait in the body of Christ today. Too many people see gentleness as weakness, willingness to be a doormat, permission to be abused, or acceptance of sinful practices.

Truth...."The Lord is near." Thank you for this promise, Lord!

"...the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I am definitely grateful that although I don't understand it fully, the peace of God is guarding my heart and my mind.

".....think about such things." If anything enters my mind that does not fall into the categories of: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy, I should NOT be thinking about it. Wow, I think we'd all have a lot more mental free space if we stopped spending our time thinking about things that don't fit the above criteria. I know this is a growth area for me, and I praise God that I am catching my faulty thinking much more quickly as I mature in Him.

"I can do all things through HIM who gives me strength." It is only through HIM and his grace, but I can do ALL things HE has for me to do. So much of what I think I need to do is not what God is asking of me, so I must live in vital union with HIM so that I clearly sense what is from HIM and what is from my own expectations for myself. My standards for myself are so high that I often feel as if I'm failing, but when I wait on Him and obey HIS voice, He promises that I can do all He has for me through HIM and HIS strength. Thank you, Lord!


Mari said...

I enjoyed your food for thought and I'd like to add to the menu -- “[Doing Good to All] Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”- Galatians 6:1
It seems (at least in my experiences) that christians sometimes think that they must rid others of their sins, by pointing out the error of their ways, all too often using harsh tactics all in the name of being good christians. At times even as harsh as banning the person in question. I want to take note of the word "gently". And remind myself that no one is perfect, we are all sinners on the path and hopefully as you point out in your title, moving in the same direction. We are all becoming and imperfectly at that!

Gena said...

Good point, Mari! I so appreciate your thoughtful response and instruction. I think that we sometimes do the same thing (use harsh tactics) with ourselves, so it is a good reminder that although we need to recognize our sin and repent (truly turning from the sin), we don't need to beat ourselves up over and over again for past mistakes! I would like to say that I am good at that, but I am in the process of learning how to be gentle with myself. I think most of us need to learn that lesson with the Lord's help.