It will not be disputed that true humility can only spring from brokenness of will; and that where the will has been practically set aside through discipline there also will be meekness, that patient [lack of resistance] in thepresence of evil which accepts every cup of sorrow and trial from the Lord’shand, and displays gentleness of spirit and demeanour towards all. Thisis that contrite and humble spirit with which God loves to dwell; or as Petersays, that “meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” [1 Peter 3:4].
If we understand this, as applied to believers, we shall comprehend more readily what Paul terms “the gentleness of Christ.” He came to do the Father’swill, He was always in complete submission to the Father. He lived by reason of the Father, never moved or acted excepting at the Father’s word, and thus He ever did the things that pleased Him. He did nothing from Himself but what He saw the Father do; “for whatsoever things He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” [John 5:19]. Hence when in the presence of evil and of the overflowing of Satan’s power, He could say, “The cup which My Father giveth Me, shall I not drink it?” He was gentleness itself in the face of unrestrained violence. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers…so He opened not His mouth. [Matt. 27]
What is seen in Christ should be exemplified by His people. The same apostle writes to the Philippians, “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” This word “moderation” is the same as that which is translated “gentleness” in the passage under consideration. The form then which gentleness would assume towards men would be that of never insisting on one’s own opinions…or rights, but seeking with a chastened [subdued heart] to retire and to take the lowest place in the presence of others, yielding everything to those around excepting where faithfulness to God and to His Word requires firmness. And what a powerful motive is given for the cultivation of gentleness in the words, “The Lord is at hand”!
In view of His coming we may well be content to leave everything that affects ourselves to the adjustment of that day. If then the gentleness of Christ is to be reproduced in the believer…How is this to be effected? The hindrance to it is plainly in the character of the flesh in us, its impatience, impetuosity, its obstinacy and willfulness. It is essential before the gentleness of Christ can be displayed, that the character of the flesh should be experimentally learned; that discovering, if through painful discipline, is no good thing in it, we may hail with gratitude the glad tidings of grace—that it has already come up before God for judgment in the cross of Christ, and has passed away from before His eye forever. A new state will then be entered upon and enjoyed—the state of being “in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” Thereupon there will be liberty for occupation with Christ, the One who loved us, and gave Himself for us; divine affections will be formed within us, so that seeking forever growing intimacy with Christ, He, formed within us, will ever more distinctly be manifested through our walk and conduct.
All would admit that our wills are the difficulty in the matter of gentleness. It would, therefore, help to the removal of this obstacle if it were but seen and confessed that our wills are evil and nothing but evil. “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin,” for the body governed by our own wills canproduce nothing but sin. If Christ be in you—what a thought! If He be, surely we desire that He would take the entire control, and then His blessed will would govern us for His own pleasure. We shall then delight in the One who has become the object of our hearts, and then, constrained by affection to seek the intimacy of His company, we shall be daily conformed to His likeness; and thus His meekness and gentleness, will be formed within us and revealed in our ways and conversation. The words of the apostle must be recalled in this connection, [2 Cor. 4:10]:
“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”
(The Christian’s Friend: 1898)
edited by lkp