GENTLE STRENGTH

The Belgian and the Clydesdale horses are both huge beautiful animals that are bred for heavy work.  Of course, the Clydesdale horse was made world famous by the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company.  The Budweiser Clydesdale horses effortlessly pulling their heavy load through snow and down city streets is a familiar scene on American television.

These teams of beautiful animals are housed in many places throughout the States at the Bush Gardens amusement parks.  I recall one Saturday morning visiting Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, Missouri, the home quarters of Anheuser-Busch Brewery.  It was there I met Milton.

Sitting alongside his trusty Dalmatian companion, Milton steered the team of raw horsepower as he willed from the wagon’s driver’s seat.  Milton’s life-long dream was that of a horse jockey.  But alas, he always weighed in just over the allowable limit.  Too small for most other sports he was relegated to the seat behind these wonderful creatures.

With two leather straps in his hands, a mere pull to the left and all 16,000 pounds of power turned to the left.  His right hand yielded the same powerful influence.  But how could this be?  Anyone knows that the power of these magnificent horses could override that of Milton’s at any moment.  You see, they had been harnessed in such a way as to do the will of Milton.

While this is far from a perfect example of what it means to have the character quality of meekness, it does give some visual imagery to what it means to have your will harnessed to do the will of God.  This story does example living in such a way where a mere, light tug from His Spirit would drive you in the direction of the Cross and God’s perfect and holy will.  The attitude of meekness is synonymous with gentleness and what it means to walk humbly with your God.

Jesus asks us to learn from Him.  Specifically, He asked that we become like Him in meekness and to be humble in heart.  Jesus describes Himself this way:  “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Matthew 11:29)

The Greek word “praus” translated means gentleness. However, it is difficult to translate this word exactly.  Generally, when used in the Scriptures it is not referring to weakness but rather to exercising God’s strength under His control.  It is demonstrating His power and authority without exhibiting undue harshness.

The “fruit of the Spirit” called gentleness is much more than an outward show of humility.  The proof of possessing this fruit is in a heart attitude.  A person can put on a show of humility but still have a heart that is full of pride and arrogance.  Jesus said that “…those who are “poor in spirit” would have the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

It is the truth of God’s word that ‘prescribes’ our behavior, that gives meaning and purpose to who we are.  God’s Word points to “…the way, the truth, and the life.”  It is the gentle, the spiritually poor person that finds self-awareness on the humble path of following the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is not only gentle and humble but, aggressive and brave as well.  Gentleness doesn’t eliminate strength or power. Neither does humility cause one to lose their courage.  Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  He rules and leads His church with gentleness and humility.

Being gentle and humble in heart secures relationships without controlling them. Gentleness can only come to the one that is willing to be led by the Holy Spirit of God.  That person is able to walk with confidence in their relationship to God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus asks us to learn from Him.  But, what are we to learn?  We will know who we are, we will have the fullness of self, when we know who God is.

Man’s wisdom cannot give a clue as to what is meaningful.  Only “the wisdom that comes from heaven” can bring to life a lasting purpose.

There is purpose and balance to all things, even in this present life.  Just as there is a time to die, there is a time to live.  Just as there is a time for sorrow, there is a time for joy.  Life takes on significance in the enjoyment of living for God.  You can find eternal joy and happiness by acknowledging the Creator’s purpose for you and obeying His will.

To be gentle, to walk humbly with God requires that we take His yoke upon us and harness our wills to His.  We must pray for His guidance rejecting harmony as the cheap imitation of true intimacy with our Saviour.  We find self in that orbit of intimacy with Jesus as we collide with His majesty in gentleness.  For you see, gentleness is love’s humility.

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