The theme of our readings this week, and discussion in the Growth Groups, is ‘Gentleness’. The chapter for study is 1 Corinthians 8 where Paul addresses one of the issues that affected the church.
Reflect on the attitudes of the various groups in the church and how gentleness helps to sustain better relationships when problems arise
v 29. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Jesus made lots of ‘I AM’ statements, and you will well remember some of them; ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’; and then ‘I am the Bread of Life’ – just how many more can you remember? However, this one is a description of His character. ‘I am humble and gentle at heart’. This is amazing – the One who called the universe into being and rules the far reaches of space describes himself as ‘Gentle’. And this gentle Creator invites us to be yoked up with him, and to become our teacher – our model for life.
This gentleness, which is linked with humility, is not weakness. It is strength and power fully under control; it is strength that brings assurance and perfect rest in the face of all circumstances. Humility is an inner quality that expresses itself in gentleness. When you read the stories of Jesus you see this gentleness in his dealings with all kinds people; the lepers, the lame and the blind all experience his gentleness. He answered his critics in a straightforward fashion challenging them to rethink their impression of him, and even when he was himself a victim of violence at the crucifixion he prayed for those who abused him. I can never picture Jesus shouting and waving his arms about, even when he overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the Temple. His anger may have been evident, but it was not the uncontrolled temper of a violent man.
This is the character of Jesus that God is at work to reproduce in each one of us.