Justice, Mercy, Humility:
"In everything set an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." (Titus 2:7-8)
We're all called to act honourably, walk humbly, and be a beacon of the Holy Spirit's light shining bright within us. Don't stutter over words or portray a doubtful and discouraged outlook. Instead be bold in the confidence of Christ, speak with the authority the Holy One has given to you. Most importantly, walk in the path of Christ's footsteps. Follow the way that's paved with His kindness, humility, mercy, passionate compassion, and righteousness.
"He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." (1 John 2:6)
"For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." (John 13:15)
Mercy, forgiveness, and humility can often feel like mountains that we must climb, and on our own we do not posses that achieving strength. There's only One Way to overcome the hurdle of hurt and forgive our trespassers. There's only One Way to slay the beast of brutality. Jesus is the Way. Only One Saviour can redeem us from our boastful haughtiness. Jesus humbles and renews.
"Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”" (1 Peter 5:5)
There's freedom in confession. When we admit that we can't climb these mountains on our own, God sees our genuinely humbled hearts and deposits a fresh supply of grace. He gently pulls us into His healing arms where He can remove the needles that others had lodged in us, and replace the brokenness in our hearts with streams of mercy and kindness. God forgives us and frees us to forgive others.
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (Ephesians 4:2)
The steps to becoming more like Christ are written right there in Ephesians 4:2. It goes like this:
•Step 1: ταπεινοφροσύνη (tapeinophrosynē). This Greek word for "humble" in Ephesians 4:2 is the word for humility and a lowly esteeming of oneself. That is, not considering oneself to be superior to others around him, but recognising that all humanity direly needs a Saviour.
A man that possesses the trait of ταπεινοφροσύνη is very unostentatious. He accurately views himself as an undeserving man made of dust. One who is unworthy to be lavished with God's immeasurable mercy, but can receive it by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
ταπεινοφροσύνη is the precursor to a humble repentance, because it's the attitude of humility that breaks the chains of pride off of the heart of stone.
•Step 2: πραΰτης (prautēs). The next character trait we're discussing, πραΰτης, comes from the word "gentle." This word means meekness. This doesn't just imply that a man with the characteristic of πραΰτης is emollient in his approach with other people, but also deep within his own soul.
You may be wondering what it means to be emollient inside you soul. What this means is that in your own, very personal walk with God, you accept His spiritual pruning with a certain grace and gentleness, not becoming quickly vexed by the discomfort of the pruning.
πραΰτης means carrying yourself with tenderness, yet still acting in authority. In other words, don't misuse a position of power, but rather use it as a platform to pursue godly deeds that are pleasing in the eyes of the Lord Himself.
•Step 3: μακροθυμία (makrothymia). The last word I wish to highlight today is μακροθυμία. This word is translated as "patient" and for good reason. The word μακροθυμία is used to depict forbearance, restraint, and temperance.
Let's say a man in authority finds out that one of his employees has not been very faithful in his duties and is slacking off. Of course this employee's actions have caused chaos for the entire working atmosphere, because he is so behind on his tasks and obligations.
Now, the man in authority has a choice. He could become completely enraged and blow his top with anger about how disorganised and ruffled the entire team is, and inflict malevolence upon his employee. On the other hand, this man could display the attribute of μακροθυμία and, though he does surely hold every right to be upset and all means by which he could rancorously retaliate, he could lavish long suffering upon his employee.
μακροθυμία is the utmost manifestation of two fruits of the Spirit, patience and self-control. The combination of these two qualities works together to create an atmosphere of peace, honesty, trust, and togetherness.
There you have it! Ephesians 4:2 is really communicating to us how we are to live as examples of Christ. First, walk in humility and lowliness. Lowliness doesn't mean you think of yourself as a garbage, but it does mean you are aware of your desperate dependence on God and therefore use that humility to minister to others' despondency. In this way, pulling them out of the pit of depression into the Light!
Secondly, we're called to be gracious in dealing with others as well as in our private walk with God. Pray for grace and attentiveness to the Holy Spirit's nudging inside your soul, and the strength to accept and endure victoriously His pruning within.
Last but certainly not least, we must combine the two merciful fruits of the Spirit which are patience and self-control. By the power of the Holy One working within us, we're able to confront chaos with a cool head and quieted temper. The combination of those two fruits produces a benignant effect within us that tenderly graces over all those with whom we come in contact.
Remember today, friends, to always at all times call upon the Lord and His Holy One that lives in you. Whenever a mountain comes up on your path, don't fear! God is always near. By His power we can confront the battle, climb the heights, and victoriously stand up and claim His faithfulness over our lives! What a way to start this day! We have all we need from the Holy Spirit to live as reflections of Christ and all His tenderheartedness. Go and face the mountains boldly in the Name of Jesus!
-The Introverted Evangelist
Photograph Taken By: Jon Courville