I just learned a humdinger of a lesson from God’s Word today and am so excited to share it with you! (I have been waiting for an occasion to use that word, and now I’m happy… I feel like my Grandpa )
Have you ever stopped to think about the effect that your attitude has on the people around you? And did you realize that we as Christians should take great care to be sure that our attitude reflects God’s goodness? Do you do that?
Gulp. Guilty as charged!!
In Philippians 4:4-5 Paul says
“Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
As I read these words today, the words “let your gentleness be evident to all” jumped out at me. And here are two of the less embarrassing examples that played out in my life this week. I’ll spare you the really bad ones, but I assure you, I have some that I am not proud of…wink!
- Yesterday I was a passenger with my 15 1/2 year old daughter behind the wheel. Right as we were about to turn into the Target parking lot, my Phone rang. On the other end was my cousin. I answered and heard, “Hey Ang!! I just passed you and you should have seen the look of terror on your face!”
Instead of teaching my daughter with gentleness, I’m often yelling panicked instructions at her. How will she even learn if she has to be defensive at my bad attitude?
And bonus lesson…you NEVER know who is seeing you, even when you think you are pretty inconspicuous in your car!
- And last week in church, I was completely distracted by someone around me whose nose was making a funny noise. I allowed it to get to me, and I’m sure there was not a look of gentleness on my face. As much as I tried to hide the fact that the high decibel ear piercing squeak didn’t get to me, it showed.
How is that showing grace?
The last part of the verse tells us that the Lord is near. Not only is He near in the sense that we look forward to His second coming, but I always try to imagine that the Lord is physically near.
- That if I knew He was sitting in the chair next to me in church, would I allow a little nose whistle stop me from worshiping Him? (Although, I giggle at the thought that maybe, just maybe whistling noses are a result of the fall of man, and therefore are justifiably annoying…. just kidding! I digress )
- If I knew He was sitting in between my daughter and I in the car, would I teach her in a panicked tone?
Not at all! Because if I KNEW that He was there all of the time, I wouldn’t have to worry about her driving, because I’d KNOW He had it all in His care.
And if He were next to me in church, I’d be fumbling for pieces of my broken spirit to pour out in worship of a God who I at times feel unworthy of.
But friend, let me remind you of something huge…
He is there. All of the time. Even when we can’t see Him, even if it feels like He is thousands of miles away, He is always there.
So rejoice, Christian, Rejoice!!!
And when you find yourself like me, sharing a less than gentle attitude to the people around you, remember that your attitude should reflect your gratitude to the One who you worship.
When you pivot and change your annoyance to compassion, great things can happen.
If you change your anger to grace, great things will happen.
- If you change your jealousy to gratitude for what you do have, your heart will change.
What if we consciously changed just one interaction a day to one person? If we changed our reaction from a negative one into a positive one, imagine the impact that could have on multiple people through a ripple effect!
These are the moments when a little light goes on in my head and I realize “Whoa! God really knew what He was talking about when He wrote this!” And I get so excited to put it into practice!
-If you keep reading in Philippians 4, in verses 6-9 Paul also gives us a list of attributes that should be evident in our own character to put this into practice. Open up your journal and list these attributes.
-Use this list of attributes each night for one week as you reflect on how you treated others that day. -Take a minute and really think about relationships in your life where you could offer a little grace. -Where you could turn anger into grace, or annoyance into compassion. Where has your heart been hardened to the pain that another person is feeling because your own anger is just too thick?
-Write down one instance where you went against your own negative feelings and instead chose gentleness. I think you’ll start to see these attributes in your own life very quickly.
Are you with me?
Will you start with a conscious change in just one interaction a day?
Are you ready to watch things in your life change and possibly see relationships heal? Because I’m ready to try and would love to have you join me!
I can’t wait to hear how God works through your heart this week. If you want some accountability, comment below and tell me you are ready to start. I’m here, ready to cheer you on in your endeavor to show gentleness in all that you do!
Each week I ask you to write in your journal. What if you don’t have one? No worries, I have one you could use to get started! They are just the right size to tuck into your bible or carry in your purse. So you can always have it handy.