Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

We've recently been reading The Quiet Way Home as part of our Before Five in a Row. As we read the book, we remembered I Peter 3:3-4,
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great
worth in God's sight."
We talked especially about the fact that a gentle and quiet spirit is beautiful to God. And, even as I attempted to explain what that meant in terms a two and four year old could grasp. I wondered how I could grasp it.

These pictures somehow speak gentle and quiet spirit to me. They quietly go through the seasons and just do what God created them to do willingly and quietly. Yes, trees do not have a will that could choose otherwise - but just looking at them reminds me of a gentle and quiet beauty.

What does it mean to be gentle and quiet of spirit?

Some thoughts/ideas that come to mind are:
* gentle - makes me think of a soft touch, taking great care with something fragile, soft, light, careful, quiet
* quiet - sweet, thoughtful, content, peaceful, humble, wise, self-control/restraint

This all prompted me to think of what a gentle and quiet spirit is NOT:
* the opposite of gentle: harsh, rude, rough, uncaring, heavy handed
* the opposite of quiet: loud, obnoxious, boisterous, selfish, proud, foolish, rash

I asked David and he said being kind to others, content, one who does not complain.

Then, I wondered what else the Bible had to say on the ideas of gentleness and quietness.

Gentle:
1 Kings 19:12 ~ Elijah hears a gentle whisper and it is God's voice speaking to Him.
Proverbs 15:1 ~ A gentle answer turns away wrath.
Zechariah 9:9 ~ Prophecy of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. Describes Him as gentle.
Matthew 11:29 ~ Jesus describes Himself as gentle and humble in heart.
Acts 27:13 ~ a gentle wind made for easier sailing
1 Corinthians 4:21 ~ Paul reminds the Corinthians that God's kingdom is not just talk and words. It is the power of God! He puts it to them in a question, "Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?"
Ephesians 4:2 ~ "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
1 Thessalonians 2:7 ~ describes gentleness as the way a mother cares for her little children
1 Timothy 3:3 ~ opposite of violent; requirement for one in authority at church
2 Corinthians 10:1 ~Paul appeals to the Corinthians in the "meekness and gentleness of Christ"
Galatians 5:22-23 ~ part of the Fruit of the Spirit: gentleness
Philippians 4:5 ~ "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."
Colossians 3:12 ~ God's people are to clothe themselves with "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
1 Timothy 6:11 ~ gentleness is a quality we are to pursue
1 Peter 3:15 ~ We are called to be ready to tell others why we have the hope we have, but challenged to do it with "gentleness and respect."

Quiet:
Isaiah 30:15 ~ there is a strength in quietness
Isaiah 32:17 ~ "The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever."
1 Timothy 2:11 ~ specifically a characteristic God's women are to pursue: quietness
Genesis 25:27 ~ Jacob was described as a quiet man
1 Chronicles 4:40 ~ Family of Simeon was looking for new land and found a place described as, "rich, good pasture, and the land was spacious, peaceful and quiet."
1 Chronicles 22:9 ~ Israel would be granted a season of peace and quiet during Solomon's reign
Job 6:24 ~ a spirit of humility, a teachable spirit. One who is willing to be quiet and admit wrong when necessary.
Psalm 23:2 ~ The Lord, our Shepherd leads us by quiet waters
Psalm 83:1 ~ a prayer requesting God not to keep silent and quiet
Proverbs 17:1 ~ A peaceful, quiet - yet, modest home is to be desired over many possessions with quarreling and strife.
Ecclesiastes 9:17 ~ listen to quiet wisdom over loud foolishness
Amos 5:13 ~ knowing when to keep quiet shows prudence
Zephaniah 3:17 ~ God will quiet our hearts with His love
Mark 1:25 ~ Jesus commanded quiet from the evil spirits
Mark 4:39 ~ Jesus commanded quiet from the weather
Mark 6:31 ~ Jesus encourages His disciples to come with Him to a quiet place to rest
Luke 19:40 ~ If all of God's people are required to keep quiet, even Creation will cry out
1 Thessalonians 4:11 ~ "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life..."
1 Timothy 2:1-2 ~ "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kinds and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."

A couple of things that jumped out at me as I read and looked up all the above Scriptures are the connection between prayer and quietness, having a teachable and humble heart, the respectfulness of having a gentle and quiet spirit and really what strength is displayed in this humble attitude.

So, in the end - I have come up with this definition for myself of a gentle and quiet spirit:

The pursuit of a gentle and quiet spirit is part of my calling as a child of God and brings great pleasure to God in its beauty. It is an attitude of humility, respect and peacefulness. It requires and models great strength to live this kind of life. Trust in God and His Word are foundational to this attitude and way of life. And, to pursue the true qualities of gentleness and quietness means we will be modeling our lives after Jesus Himself ~ therefore, drawing closer to Him and modeling His love to those around us. I must want to live with a quiet heart before Him so that I can hear His whisper of the way to walk humbly but with purity and holiness before Him.
Lord, the things described in Your Word about gentleness and quietness are so beautiful and evoke a desire in me to have a gentle and quiet spirit. Please do give me a quiet heart before You so that I can hear Your leading, follow Your example and live out these desires You have for me. Please cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit in me ~ a heart at peace, filled with Your strength and filled with genuine humility and respect. Thank You, Lord for teaching us about these beautiful characteristics and desiring them for us.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen

Now, I'd love to hear your thoughts on a gentle and quiet spirit!

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

How very timely. Yesterday after another situation at work, I had decided I would no longer sit back quietly while the office bully did her usual deeds. I didn't say anything then, but decided that I would the next time something happened. I woke up this morning with a horrible headache after dreaming about the situation all night long. I don't want to be the one handling this situation and person. I want God's help. I was just thinking that being bold in a situation like this didn't feel right. At all. Then I read your post. I needed the reminder. I should already know better at this season in my life. But, I forgot. Thank you so much for your reminder my little sister in Christ.

Blessings to you and yours!

Valerie

Anonymous said...

This has long been a prayer in my own heart (i wish i were further along in it :-) )! Some thoughts, this is a choice we make. It does not mean that it is a natural part of our personality. Pursuit of the attitude of Christlikeness, gentle and quite, requires pray, God's word and focus on that pursuit. The Lord will try us in these areas to build the character in us. We must continually pursue. It is a process. A wonderful book is Matthew Henry's Quest for meekness and quietness of spirit ~ it is SO VERY good!!!!tammyp ~ still in pursuit :-)

Anonymous said...

I am sorry ~ this was/is a beautiful post Monica ~ thank you.tammyp

Danielle said...

Thank you for sharing this study. I really liked all the verses on "gentle"

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

This is beautiful, timely, and thought-provoking, Monica!

Thank you.

Mrs. JP said...

This is such a good post and really refreshing and encouraging. I noticed how easy it is for me to see the opposite of gentle and quiet spirit. One word kept going through my mind - simple. Not simple in mind but uncomplicated. I can be so complicated sometime, it's really unsettling for those around me and my home.
I have two models of this in my life. My mom and a lady that goes to church with us. Thank you for sharing these verses and helping me realize these important qualities. I want to model these.

Elise said...

Love this post, Monica!! I made a framed thing{similar to your Worth project} for my Mother in law with that verse about having a gentle and quite spirit. I think another thing, for me, is to just live at peace with everyone. I have had to keep that verse in mind several times when I could have gone off on someone.
Elise

Angelia in TX said...

I appreciate your passionate pursuit of our God. Thank you for sharing your personal studies, thoughts and even prayers... this is delightful to enjoy the treasures.
It is my heart's desire to be tamed in Christ w/ repose and to learn the peace that comes from a calm Godly confidence.

Thank you for these blessings of God's truth. Smiles, Angelia

Anonymous said...

Monica,

I have always thought that you personify a gentle and quiet spirit. All who know you would probably agree.

Love,
Heather

Robert said...

Thank you, thank you for this post! It was a much needed reminder.

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica:

Yes, I do agree with Heather. You do personify a gentle and quiet spirit. I wish the same could be said about me.

Beautiful post. Thank you!

I love you, Grandma

Rachael said...

Wow, thanks Monica, I need to go over this with my girls :-)

CLee said...

Ah, the Lord is speaking to me this week!! Last night I mentioned this to my husband, how this used to be my prayer daily, and it seems to have been pushed by the wayside. Thank you for this, what a great source of encouragement. I feel I am the antithesis of having a gentle and quiet spirit, but I am a work in progress!

Thank you!

Zebu said...

Monica,

Your post made me think of my great grandma. I never knew her, but my grandmother described her as a patient and loving woman. She had 10 children to raise during the depression; she had a husband who had suffered from depression and was put into an institution; she had a son, who at 21, died on the operating table because they didn’t have the up-front cash to pay for his surger. Grandma had nothing but praise for her mother.

This shows to me what great diligence, loyalty to God, patience, and long-suffering this woman, my great-grandmother, must have had. She passed a goodly amount on to my own grandma, who I myself have tried to emulate and hope to be able to do so.

Thank you for your thoughtful post, and blessings to you.

Alexia said...

I'm truly surprised that no one mentioned this book: Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell.

http://tinyurl.com/cbep7c

Its an awesome read. and has helped me a lot as I attempt to be more gentle and quiet..... I'm no where near where I want to be, but (thank God) I'm also not where I was. :-)

Momofsix said...

Hello- ugh it took me forever to form an answer to this post- but I did it. Hurray- I added it to my blog,
www.helpmeettosam.blogspot.com

Angie

Wife of Rob said...

Monica

That was an exquisite post! What wonderful verses...it would be fabulous to commit all of these to memory. I thank you for the "gentle" reminder to all of us of the importance of our countenance!

Have an incredibly blessed Easter weekend!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I googled "a gentle and quiet spirit" and found your post. I'm saving it in my "favorites".
Gina

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed what you said about having a gentle and quiet spirit!