Mature Class Study, teacher Leslie Crain.
Paul had a genuine concern for the Philippians and their needs. He was specific about their needs. The focus of this study is gentleness, practice and shining.
Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
In verse 5, Paul said to let their moderation be known to all. According to Clark’s commentary, moderation is mildness, patience, yieldingness, gentleness, clemency, unwillingness to litigate or control. He quoted Doctor McKnight, “Moderation means meekness under provocation, readiness to forgive injuries, equity in the management of business, candor in judging of the characters and actions of others, sweetness of disposition, and the entire government of the passions.” Moderation covers many situations. Paul said to let your moderation be known wherever you go, in every circumstance.
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds…
Gentleness is the word that most impressed Leslie in the definition of moderation. She said gentleness is not her strong point. She indicated she’s pretty blunt and black or white. It can and has caused problems. She needed guidance on how to be gentle, to let the rough edges be made smooth. She needed to dig into what being gentle looks like, and how to grow in that way? When we approach others, are we easily approachable? When she brought a small animal to children, she told them to be gentle because a quick, rough movement would cause a problem. If they used a light touch, it prevented problems with a new animal. We have more responsibility than just coming to church and going home. We have to do more and reaching out is really hard for Leslie. She’s not comfortable and feels very awkward, even in small groups. God has answers for us and knows the type of person we are when we’re saved. He loved us to save us and bring us to the truth so we could learn how to serve him. He is gentle to each of us.
Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
God is the god of gentleness. Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit that starts growing in us when we’re sanctified. We don’t want any of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) to be stunted, moldy, and eaten up by bugs. We need fruit– love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, or temperance to be heavy in that garden so it’s ready to share with someone who needs it. There’s no law against showing the fruits of the Spirit. There’s no time or situation that we should set aside the fruit or limit showing the fruit to voice our opinion or idea. There’s no discrimination of race, creed, age, or appearance that we don’t show the fruits of the Spirit.
Philippians 4:5 (Amplified Bible) Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near.
What comes to mind when you think of gentleness? A common misconception is that gentleness is weakness, passiveness, or having no backbone. True gentleness requires great strength and self control. It takes lots of strength to keep our mouth closed when people are coming against us, falsely accusing, or going against what we strongly oppose. God’s gentleness is patience, mildness, readiness to forgive, tender judging, and a sweet disposition. It comes from humility. We won’t be gentle if we think we’re better than somebody or look down on someone. A person who lacks gentleness is often prideful, easily angered, and vengeful. Being gentle is the opposite. A gentle person is seeking God in their life every day and wants to help others, even if they’ve been treated wrong. They set aside their feelings of “that’s not right” or “that’s not fair” and overcome those feelings. Life is not always fair or just but we can always keep a right attitude toward people. God’s way is perfect and he gives strength to make our way perfect and great.
Psalm 18:30-32 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the Lord?…It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
God’s answer to us in time of need lifts us up so we can be great in his eyes. We’re given God’s greatness, strength to endure, compassion for others, strength to control our mouth instead of speaking our mind, giving advice, or being sarcastic. We can call on God at anytime when we need his gentleness.
Psalm 18:35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.
We need practice thinking continually on right things. We decide in our minds how we’re going to be before we do things.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
We need to take time when we respond to things, how to think, and to do, and to practice these things every day. Do what is honest, pure, lovely, of good report, and is virtuous.
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
Do our actions, words, thoughts, desires bring praise to God? We are to shine – not in self righteousness but in humbleness, meekness, and compassion – not just a checklist of things to do. We want to do to others like we want them to do to us – not like the Pharisee in Luke who bragged about all he was doing and looked down on the publican. We can shine like a candle wherever we are placed. The house was full of light when Leslie opened all the windows, took down all the drapes and blinds, and turned on the lights in her house. It shined out of the house. Some will keep something in a safe place until they die and never use it. Friends are disappointed because you didn’t use it and were saving it for a special occasion. Are we waiting for a special day to let our light shine? “I’ll testify when I feel the Spirit is really moving me.” Or “I can’t greet the new one at church because I might say something dumb.” Are we protecting ourselves or reaching out to others so our light shines? Are we covering our windows and doors from the inside so no one can comes in or goes out, then the light goes out?
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
God has blessed us with light. It isn’t a prideful thing to let our light shine. Lord, help us to lean on him so we shine and people see glimpses of light – of hope, healing, and light showing the way home – shining out of us in this dark world!
Matthew 5:15-16 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.