“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Philippians 4:5 (ESV)
Occasionally when I read the word of God, I can find an exception to His truth. Take for example, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (ESV)
I might know that truth but only choose to love God with my mind, full of head knowledge, and yet my heart can behave as though it doesn’t know who God is at all. On some days, my soul might cry out to know God, but my mind will struggle with unbelief. Left to myself, I’m pretty tricky.
There is no exception to this truth. The truth is that my heart, mind and soul need to be aligned together in service and devotion to the Lord. In my human nature, I have a hard time keeping these three things all balanced at once, behaving as if there is some exception to this rule. But there are no exceptions to this. It is clear and concise. I need to let my reasonableness be known to everyone!
Reasonable To All People
However, the one truth that I really struggle with is my ability to let my reasonableness be known to all. The NIV translates Philippians 4:5, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”
I have created quite the exception to this rule. I find that I am selective when it comes to who will receive a reasonable, gentle attitude from me. Surprisingly, I have a lot of grace for my children. I suppose it is really God’s grace in my life and theirs because he has allowed me to develop a fairly consistent gentle spirit with my kids. When I am in public, I am a fairly reasonable person as well. I enjoy small talk with clerks, attendants, cashiers, etc. Even when I am inconvenienced, in large part, I am able to remain composed, kind, and gentle. The trouble is that God’s design for my life is that I would be reasonable to ALL people. This is where the truth begins to unravel and I notice some ugly inconsistencies in my behavior.
My mother is a victim of my unkindness. She loves me unconditionally and somehow this gives me license to lose my temper, say rude things or become irritated with her over basically nothing. Sometimes I behave as if I have no sense at all!
Then, there is the matter of my husband. Too often, I decide that I am too tired, too irritable, too hungry or too stressed on any given day to control myself before him. I can let a myriad of things create an excuse so that a short temper, cross word, or heated rant becomes justified in my mind because my dear sweet husband will love me no matter what, and he can be the exception to the rule for that day.
Reasonable All The Time
God does not ask us to be reasonable on days when we get adequate sleep, alone time, enough exercise or a second cup of coffee. He does not say be gentle only to those who deserve it. The truth is that gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
The Holy Spirit does not discriminate, grow weary, or have a bad day. The power of God is present and accessible to all Christians, every day of our lives, in every circumstance, and for every person. While our flesh may fail us because weariness and irritability are real things, abiding in Christ and submitting to the work of the Holy Spirit redeems our flesh and allows the love and gentleness of Christ to shine through us, no exceptions.