Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Gentle Spirit

Philippians 4:4-5
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.”

What do you think of when you think of the word rejoice?  If you’re like me, you think of upraised hands and shouts of joy.  Exuberance, perhaps.  So I find it interesting that this verse follows an imperative command of “Rejoice!” with “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.”  Rejoice and gentle don’t typically go together in my mind.

Yet it didn’t take much more thought to consider what it is to experience the Joy of the Lord.  It is - in a word that doesn’t truly sum it all up - contentment.  Paul describes various practices of contentment before coming out and saying it in verse 11 (that he has learned to be content no matter his circumstances), but they are certainly all linked in his logical line of thought.

Joy and contentment are interesting things; they each tend to bring out the other.  As I considered my practices in my marriage, I realized that I am learning more and more how to be joyful and content within it.  When I practice biblical submission to my husband, my gentle spirit encourages him and I feel content in that role - it is God’s calling on my life and that brings me joy.

I rejoice in the Lord that He has taught me to have a gentle spirit.  I thank Him for His grace in those times that I choose differently - as well as my husband’s grace.  May I come to understand what it is to have a gentle spirit all the more as time goes on, and thus increase my joy.

When I let guilt at my sins enter the equation, my joy falters.  Guilt traps me in sorrow that leads nowhere.  Conviction leads me to confession and repentance, from which point I can move forward in the Lord.  When I accept God's grace, I can rejoice in God's gift even of grace itself.

Is there something in your marriage that you have allowed to stifle your joy in the Lord?

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