2 CORINTHIANS 10:1 – I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!”
THEME OF THE DAY: HOW DO WE HANDLE PEOPLE? I want to make a little change in today’s nugget theme. It should read “How Do We Handle All People.” The “all” is important because we are people prone to the sin of partiality. Allow me to illustrate. Think about the people in our lives. Are there any “difficult” people that we find hard to love? Not that we would treat them poorly, but we just seem to have to endure them, not enjoy them. On the other hand, there are people that simply are refreshing to be with, and we have no difficulties treating them well, and are quite comfortable being in their presence. Friends, if this describes us, there is a problem. And here it is . . . we represent the Lord Jesus in all circumstances and all relationships. Yes, even in the difficult ones.
In today’s scripture, the Apostle Paul is writing to a church full of difficult people. And even beyond difficult. He loved them, and yet, many in the church at Corinth turned on him. They questioned his apostolic authority. They slandered him. They handled him harshly. Yes, they would be those folks we try to avoid, even on a Sunday morning. Yet, notice how Paul states he would treat them – by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.
If we are to be effective for the Lord Jesus in our relationships, then we must be like Christ in those relationships. And two of the most important qualities in the Lord Jesus we are to have developed in our lives are His meekness and gentleness. These qualities, combined, come from a heart that is not only under the control of Christ’s love, but is bathed in the one virtue that will defuse all relational conflict, and enable us to treat all people like the Lord – humility. Now I am not saying all conflict with people will be solved by our humility. It will be from our perspective and responsibility, but remember, we cannot change people or be responsible for their responses. But when love and humility control us, we will do our part in any tense relationship.
So, if this is the standard for treating all people, with Christ-like meekness and gentleness, how we do get there? Two ways. First, admit we cannot. This is a work of God’s Spirit in us. Such qualities are “other worldly” and beyond human effort to produce. All spiritual growth begins with admission of inability that leads to dependency on God to do the work we are incapable of doing. Remember what Jesus said, “Without Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
The next way to grow in Christlike meekness and gentleness that shapes and directs how we treat people is not new or even profound. Make the number one priority in life knowing Christ. Not about Him but knowing Him in a real and personal way. Let the testimony of the Apostle Paul be ours – that I may know Him, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10). And pursue Him with gusto and with the greatest of effort we may possibly put forth, remembering the promise found in the prophetic book of Jeremiah – You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).
You may be asking, “How does my seeking the Lord produce meekness and gentleness in my life? The answer comes from the Apostle Paul – And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). The more we are with the Lord in Word and prayer, discovering or beholding Him, the more we are changed into His image – meek and gentle. May the Lord do this work in us so we may treat all people as He does!
PRAYER: “Father, may I not only talk about Your Son but model Him in how I handle people, all people.”
QUOTE: “Our likeness to Jesus will have far more influence on people than our many words about Jesus.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,