“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (Ephesians 4:2 NLT)
Having addressed the fearful, it is only appropriate to look at “the other side of the coin.”
There are those who do not have much of a problem with fear – they are bold to a fault. They are like the proverbial “bull in the china closet.”
How do they roll?? Steam-roller. Heaven help you, if you are in their path.
They are in your face about every issue and flaw. Their favorite colors are black and white. And their favorite phrase is: “get right… or get left!”
You might have a few of those folks in your life. You may know a few, personally.
But you are not really close to them (unless you are just like them!) because they always seem to push people away (with all their righteous rambles). Righteousness is their thing… not relationships. But they take solace in the fact that they point people to what is right… even if they have to grab them by the scruff of the neck, and force them to see it.
As with the naturally fearful, most of these folks come by this approach naturally. They are just born with a “bee in their bonnet” and a “burr in their saddle.” They just can’t help themselves… or so they think.
But that is just the thing. The natural you is the old you. The natural you just can’t help but be what you are (Remember the beagle nature…) So whether it is naturally fearful, or naturally brash, it is your old human nature showing.
One of the best things about the new you is that the new you balances out your natural approach. It takes your make-up and personality, and brings it in line with the image of God’s nature. The person God made you to be, is refined and refocused to reflect His nature.
So what is God’s nature?
Jesus showed us. And He put it this way: “Let me teach you… because I am humble and gentle at heart.” (Matt. 11:29) Jesus had every right to be bold and rigid about being right – because He was always right! But that was not how He approached us. That fact should surprise us!
God is gentle and humble at heart because that is HOW love must approach those who are prone to flaw and failure. With God, His immutable truth is always balanced (and extended) by immeasurable grace. And as Romans 2:4 reminds us, it is not the truth that leads us to change, it is God’s tender kindness. His kindness, humbly and gently, leads us to see, and embrace, His truth.
In our verse for the day, the ultimate “steam-roller” guy (the apostle Paul) is inspired to admonish us all that we must all practice humility and gentleness. This does not happen by taming the “lion” within us – it happens because we live by the new nature (God’s nature) that He has given to us. God’s nature is humble and gentle… at heart!
So how do the bold and the brash access this new nature?
The same “steam-roller” guy said: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Col. 3:12)
Imagine that. Take off the old, and put on the new.
It needs to be said. God is not trying to make us all the same. That is not what it means to be Christlike. He is trying to take the person He made us to be, and clothe us with Himself. If you are naturally bold, He has some “clothing” for that – that will make your assertiveness useful to Him.
And that is always the goal… that God could use us to impact the world with His love.
Prayer focus: God, help me to clothe myself each day with Your humility and gentleness.