Faith to Feeling: Emotions Under Control

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5)

When we read the word gentleness, I think a lot of us imagine fawns and fields of wild flowers and cradling newborns. Are Christians supposed to walk around like timid little rabbits all of the time? No. In fact, we’re called to strength.

ftf_350The idea of this word “gentleness” – which shows up in other versions of the Bible as “reasonableness” or “moderation” – is that we should be strong enough, in fact, to avoid extreme reactions to what’s going on around us. Yesterday, we saw that even the worst circumstances shouldn’t steal away the inner joy of those who know God as Father. Today’s verse says that steadiness should carry over to our outward emotional responses.

In other words, we should be able to build a reputation as people not controlled by our emotions. When we fly off the handle in a rage or melt into a pool of instant self-pity or even lash out at others in fear, disgust, or ignorance, we’re demonstrating a lack of faith in our God.

If he is in control and taking care of us – and if the “near” return of Jesus and the eternity that follows is what we’re living for – we’ll find the strength to control our emotional reactions.

Think: Do you sometimes think of gentleness as weakness? Do you buy the idea that it takes strength – and faith in God – to keep our emotions from taking us over in the heat of the moment? Why or why not?

Pray: Ask God to help you to let your gentleness be evident to all.

Do: Make a quick list of five of the strongest gentle Christians you know.