Paul writes to the Philippians, “Let your gentleness be known to everyone” (Phil 4:5). Paul’s encouraging advice is one among a string of reminders about how the followers of Christ ought to approach life in a challenging world: “Rejoice…Be gentle…Don’t worry…Let your requests be made known to God.” The list reminds me of things that parents might say to a child while dropping her off on the first day of school.
Just as we send children out the door with final instructions, in the hope they’ll remember our words when things get tough, Paul writes these reminders near the end of his correspondence, making them easier for his first readers and hearers to remember long after the letter has been shared and put away.
We still need Paul’s reminders today. We need these reminders because the world teaches something other than “be gentle.” In worldly terms, ruthless power wins—particularly the kind of power that despises difference, demands compliance and devastates opponents. But that is not God’s way.
This message is adapted from “A gentle strength” written by Audrey West in the April 2016 issue of Gather magazine.