November 1st, 2023 – Wednesday Early Evening
“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” ~Philippians 4:5
This is another one of those easily interpreted, yet often difficult to apply, verses (I suppose that is true of basically all of Scripture…we are without excuse for our disobedience). Indeed, the passage is quite straightforward, with a few small mentions: First, the word translated “gentleness” also can have the idea of being mild, equitable, fair, moderate, and patient. Second, while the word “let” is an addition to make sense of the sentence in English, the idea is that others (all people) should come to know or be acquainted with our meek and mild disposition and dealings. Third, “The Lord is at hand” means “The Lord (Master/Owner) is near” – in position and place. Finally, our gentleness and the Lord’s nearness are connected in the verse – perhaps to fuel our obedience through our understanding of the Master’s righteous judgment or to remind us of the gentleness of our Possessor towards us or both.
All of that together translates to this: The Philippians (and all believers) were to be known by everyone as gentle and fair. They could take joy and hold firm in obedience because of the reality that their Lord was near – to hold them accountable, strengthen them, encourage them, care for them, and act on their behalf. Their lives were to reflect the gentleness of Christ to all people, not only because that is a result of knowing Christ, but also because it was Christ Himself who was at hand.
So how do we let our gentleness be known to all men? Quite simply, actually: Be mild, fair, and gentle in all ways, at all times, with all people. How do we do that? By knowing, studying, and thereby, reflecting the gentleness and humility of Christ more and more; He is the standard of what it means to be mild, fair, equitable, and gentle. The more we know Him (and not just know more about Him), the more our lives will begin to emulate His; that is the very purpose of God for us as His children, and it is what He is working to accomplish through His Spirit and power (see Romans 8:26-30). It is also one of the reasons He has given us His Word – to learn, know, and imitate His character through the enablement of His Spirit and grace.
Beloved, the Lord is still near and His call to obedience still stands. Let us let our gentleness be known to all men and let us rejoice and reverently rest in the reality that our Master is at hand!