“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in loveeager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” — Ephesians 4:1-3
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” —Philippians 4:5
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” —Titus 3:1-2
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” —Matthew 11:29
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…for I am gentle and lowly in heart” Jesus said. A yoke is something that a beast of burden has fastened around its neck so that it can be driven and guided by someone else. A yoke is for one who serves the purposes of the other. That is the character of Christ. He lived to serve. He bore the yoke of His Father, carrying out the work that the Father directed Him to do. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19). Christlikeness is servanthood, letting Him direct our every movement. And that is manifested in gentleness.
A common misconception is that gentleness is weakness or passivity. True gentleness, however, is just the opposite. It requires great strength and active self-control. A gentle heart comes from having love for others, a desire to serve the other and to minister to his or her needs. This is shown in our thoughts and in the way we interact with those around us. Gentleness comes from a state of humility, a lowliness in heart. It is a willingness to lay aside our agenda and look to the needs of those around us. That is not something we can do in our fallen nature. We need to be remade in the image of Christ. We need to become Christlike. Through prayer, we can ask God to give us a spirit of gentleness and take away any feelings of self-righteousness. We can ask Him to reveal ways we can show gentleness to others so that we may reflect His character.
Paul tells the Church at Ephesus in the verse above that we are to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,with all humility and gentleness…” Worthiness is not something that we can attain by effort. To be worthy is to be in the One who has ultimate worth. The word worship comes from the Old English word “worthship”—showing worth. To be “worthy” of the calling requires us to be in relationship with God who is the One who is worthy of our worship. When we are walking in our calling then, we are in right relationship with God, worshiping Him, and in right relationship with our neighbor “with all humility and gentleness.”
As we rebuild the walls, in gentleness we accept the yoke of Christ and allow Him to place us where He determines we belong. And in gentleness we accept God’s plan and work closely with those who are around us. This is what Paul was emphasizing when he said that we are to walk in our calling, “bearing with one another in loveeager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The walls of Jerusalem will stand only when we are at one with God and with one another.