At the start of this month I made the mistake of choosing gentleness instead of goodness as our spiritual fruit to look at. I forgot the proper order of the list (goodness should have been next!), but when I came to this weeks verse and realised that it coincided with Easter weekend I knew it was no mistake. God had wanted us to look at this specifically before Easter.
Easter is a time to share our faith
There are very few times of the year when people are willing to openly talk and accept Christian views as general conversation, but Easter is one of those. We can share pictures of the cross and talk about Jesus rising again with a bit more confidence that it will be socially acceptable!! But that doesn’t mean that we can be stupid and arrogant about it. Our verse this week says:
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that your have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15
Although we should be ready to share our faith (with those who ask!), it says we should do this with GENTLENESS AND RESPECT. The message version says the “UTMOST COURTESY“. I wanted to dig a little deeper into why and how we do this this week and share how we can grasp opportunities to share the amazing news of the gospel, but in the right way.
Without gentleness and respect
I firstly thought about how things would look if we weren’t spiritually mature in our way of sharing the gospel. Without the Spirit helping us in it, it becomes more about us than about Jesus and the good news. It becomes more of an argument, a desire to say the right words and get the right outcome at the end. Perhaps we wouldn’t be prepared, so our words would be meaningless. Perhaps we would be accosting everyone we meet, rather than waiting for them to enquire like this verse says. We would be arrogant in our approach and turn people off to the idea of the gospel – we would not be showing the love of Jesus.
With gentleness and respect
When we accept the Spirits help in sharing the good news of the gospel, then we are happy to wait for the Spirit to lead us to the right moments to share with others. We are in sync with the Spirit to hear His promptings and to use His words of love to speak into the situations in other people’s lives that we cannot possibly know about. When we speak gentle words to help the other person understand rather than trying to achieve our own agenda, that is when they see the power of Jesus’ love and understand that they are not just a number to be added to church attendance, but a valuable and loved person.
How to do it the right way
Evangelising in the wrong way can do so much harm, and telling the good news with gentleness and respect can confirm people’s views that Christians are big headed and arrogant. Instead, we should be drawing closer to God, growing in understanding of His Spirit and learning how to listen to His gentle and quiet promptings. How? By switching off our own agenda and praying that God will use you or His purposes instead. When we are happy to let God use us, willing to wait for His timing and confident that He will give us the right words, that is when we will grow in gentleness.
Naomi will be helping us to understand this next verse about gentless:
“Brothers and Sisters, if someone is caught in sin, you who live by the spirit should restore that person gently” Galatians 6:1
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