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