“Walk . . . with all . . . gentleness” (Ephesians 4:1-2).
To become more gentle, begin by looking closely at your attitudes.
We’ve determined that gentleness is essential for those who want to walk worthy. How can you tell if you’re gentle? I’ll give you some practical questions so you can evaluate yourself honestly.
First of all, are you self-controlled? Do you rule your own spirit (Prov. 16:32), or does your temper often flare up? When someone accuses you of something, do you immediately defend yourself, or are you more inclined to consider whether there’s any truth in what’s being said?
Second, are you infuriated only when God is dishonored? Do you get angry about sin or when God’s Word is perverted by false teachers?
Next, do you always seek to make peace? Gentle people are peacemakers. Ephesians 4:3 says they are “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” If someone falls into sin, do you condemn or gossip about that person? Galatians 6:1 instructs us to restore sinning brothers “in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Gossip and condemnation divide believers; forgiveness and restoration unite them. Gentle people don’t start fights; they end them.
Fourth, do you accept criticism without retaliation? Whether the criticism is right or wrong, you shouldn’t strike back. In fact, you can thank your critics, because criticism can show you your weaknesses and help you grow.
Finally, do you have the right attitude toward the unsaved? Peter says, “Always [be] ready to make a defense to every one who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15). If we’re persecuted, it’s easy for us to think, They can’t treat me like that—I’m a child of God. But God wants us to approach the unsaved with gentleness, realizing that God reached out to us with gentleness before we were saved (Titus 3:3-7).
Consider carefully your answers to these questions, and commit yourself to being characterized by gentleness. Remember that “a gentle and quiet spirit . . . is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4).
Suggestions for Prayer
If any of these questions have pointed out deficiencies in your gentleness, ask God to strengthen those areas.
For Further Study
- Paul was often criticized by those who wanted to usurp his authority over the church. Study Paul’s response to such people in 2 Timothy 2:24-26.
- Think about this passage’s application to events in your life.
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur