THE GENTLENESS OF CHRIST

 

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

“I’D RATHER SUFFER LOSS”

It was in that very spot, sir,” said a working shoemaker, pointing to a place in his little workshop, “Yes, in that very place, sir, six years ago, that the Lord spoke peace to my troubled soul; and how good and gracious He is.” Such was almost the beginning of our happy and profitable intercourse on paying a visit to this dear servant of the Lord Jesus. . . . .

After talking generally together, and having had sweet fellowship in the things of our precious Savior and Lord, and we were about to leave, he said, “I should like to let you know something about the exercises of soul I have been lately passing through.” To this we readily assented.

He then said something like this: “When I was converted to God, and knew the Lord Jesus Christ His Son as my Savior, I thought I shall now surely prosper in my little business; but in this I was sadly mistaken, for my earnings very soon fell off. The first year I earned three shillings a week less, the second year three shillings a week less, the third year four shillings a week less, and of late my earnings have been so little that I thought I must give it up, and seek some other employment, though I have so enjoyed the Lord’s presence with me in this little place. Accordingly, knowing Mr. M. to be a kind christian man, and that he held a good situation in a large factory near this, I asked him if he thought he could procure me employment of any kind in his place of business, and he promised to let me know when there was a vacancy.

But after this I became deeply exercised before the Lord as to what I was about. Is this that I am seeking according to my own will or the Lord’s will? Is He bidding me to give up my present calling and seek another? for I have had much of the Lord’s presence, and enjoyed His sweet company when working alone in this corner. And just then the Lord seemed to say to me, Which will you have? Will you go into the factory, and mix with the ungodly multitude with large wages, or remain in this corner and enjoy my presence with small earnings; which will you have? I assure you, sir, it was a serious moment. I turned it well over in my mind. I considered how weak I am, how easily turned aside, and began to think that if I went into that factory to work, I might soon be drawn away, and lose my blessed Lord’s sweet company. So I said, ‘Lord, let me have Thy company even if it must be with small earnings; I’d rather suffer loss, than not enjoy Thy presence with me.’ From that time I became perfectly settled, and told Mr. M. not to think anything more about procuring a situation for me. Now, sir, it is remarkable that from that time work began to come in more than for a long time before.”

We could not help thinking that the result was just what we should have expected. We believe that one of the greatest hindrances to souls is their being so taken up with desire for worldly prosperity. The consequence is that the Lord has not got His rightful place in their hearts; and, however many excuses they may make, the question really is, “Am I seeking earthly gain, or the enjoyment of the Lord’s presence? Is communion with Him the uppermost desire of my heart?” Perhaps no point is of more importance for us really to settle in the presence of God. If

worldly advantage, to say nothing of the accumulation of wealth, has the first consideration, let it not surprise us, if such go further and further away from the Lord; but if we are willing to suffer loss, and to lay aside everything that hinders our enjoyment of His sweet company, then we may be sure that He will not forsake us as to food and raiment. We believe the scripture is as true as ever,

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

We do well to remember that to the believer it is said,

Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake (Phil. 1:29).

Things New and Old 25:330-332.

Articles from Things New and Old 377

2 TIMOTHY 4:7……Paul

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”  2 Timothy 4:7
This faith was to be fed and nourished amongst the saints, and it was also to be published abroad in the world. Timothy was to do the work of an evangelist. Love never fails. It cannot be enfeebled by apostasy, it cannot be killed by treachery, it cannot be crushed by opposition, it cannot be frozen to death by neglect; it withstands the severest winters, the most biting frosts, the fiercest tempests, the most destructive storms of snows and hails and rains. It has melted the hardest hearts, it has broken the most stubborn wills, it has humbled the haughtiest, subdued the most obstinate, and won the most intractable. It is omnipotent, invincible, inviolable. It is self-neglecting, self-denying, self-sacrificing. It is life-imparting, life-preserving, life-nourishing. It is infinite, changeless, eternal, divine: for GOD IS LOVE.
In the power of this love Timothy was to carry on the work of the Lord among the saints of God, and among the nations of the earth. He was to care for the people of God, and he was to preach the gospel to those still unconverted. The great Apostle of the Gentiles was about to put off his armour, and depart to be with Christ. To Timothy he looks for a continuation of that work that had been for so many years carried on by himself. He had found in his pathway of service for Christ much the same character of things that had beset the path of his Saviour: persecution from the world, desertion by his companions, carelessness regarding the interests of Christ. But he had found the Lord Himself all-sufficient. The Lord had stood by him when all had deserted him; and he had the confidence that He would still be at his side, in all the tribulations through which he might yet have to pass.

The Lord’s Testing and Love

A number of years ago a Christian blacksmith who suffered much was challenged by an unbeliever to account for it.

His explanation was this: “I don’t know if I can account for these things to your satisfaction, but I think I can to my own. I am a blacksmith. I often take a piece of iron and put it into the fire and bring it to a white heat. Then I put it on the anvil and strike it once or twice to see if it will take temper. If I think it will, I plunge it into water, and suddenly change the temperature. Then I put it into the fire again, and again I put it in water. This I repeat several times. Then I put it on the anvil and hammer it, and bend it, and rasp and file it, and make some useful article which will do service for many years. If, however, when I first strike it on the anvil, I think it will not take temper, I throw it into the scrap pile and sell it for a few cents a pound.
“I believe my God and Father has been testing me to see if I will take temper. He has put me into the fire and into the water. I have tried to bear it as patiently as I could, and my daily prayer has been, ‘Lord, put me into the fire if You will; put me into the water if You think I need it; do anything You please, Lord, only don’t throw me into the scrap pile.'”
Our life is like the face of a clock. The hands are God’s hands passing over – the short hand of discipline and the long hand of mercy.
Slowly and surely the Hand of discipline must pass, and God speaks at every hour; but over and over passes the Hand of mercy, showering us sixty-fold of blessings for each stroke of discipline and trial; and both hands are fastened to one secure pivot – the great unchanging heart of a God of love.
“. . . The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).
{Grace & Truth, 215 Oak St., Hillery, Danville, Ill. 61832.}

QUOTE

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will
flee from you.”  James 4:7
“If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And
ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8: 31-32
“It is not wickedness to be harassed by bad thoughts if you resist them.
It is satan’s effort to get you to adopt them, and thus you are sifted.
You will find, if you keep near the Lord, that you are more established
after an assault of the kind than you were before; and the only way
to combat satan’s attacks is by the Word…If satan can lead you to
become indifferent to these assaults, then they will lead you to great
damage; but if, on the contrary, they urge you to be more dependent
on the Lord Himself and on His Word, they will eventually cease, and you
will be ‘settled.’  J. B. Stoney
After you have suffered awhile make you perfect [mature], stablish,
strengthen, settle you.”  1 Peter 5:10

PRESSED! Author Unknown

Pressed out of measure, and pressed to all length;
Pressed so intensely it seems beyond strength;


Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul;
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll;


Pressure by foes, and pressure by friends;
Pressure on pressure till life nearly ends.


Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod;


Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for impossible things;


Pressed into living a life in the Lord;
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.

LOVE OF THE WORLD?

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world*, the love
of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world*, the lust of the flesh and the lust of
the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God
lives forever.”  1 John 2: 15-17
(*contemporary culture)
“May we find our joy in Him, not pursuing a life of our own hearts, but a life of His grace
and goodness, and may He keep our hearts fixed on Him and on a crown with Him.”
(J.N. Darby, First Epistle of John)
“They (some believers) want the so called deeper life but they want the world, too…  let
them find out.”  Miles Stanford