A COMBINED VIEW
You may wonder why we picked the banana as a visual for this particular characteristic. Simply put, it is a very unassuming yet calming fruit with many benefits hiding within it, like humility. And since we felt that there was no one way to view this gentleness, we decided to discuss at least two important perspectives to help demonstrate its practicality in marriage. So, take a quick break to enjoy this fruit.
A Bird's Eye View:
In my research of this particular word pertaining to this scripture, I was amazed at my discovery of what this truly meant, and even more so perplexed at how to demonstrate this to my spouse. I always believed that I handled him gently when it mattered most (because I do not always get the timing correct). In addition, I had no idea that the word gentleness doubled for humility. “How so, Lord?!”
Having a cheerfulness that is calm.
This says to me that I need to maintain my emotions in handling my spouse. Things that he says and does should not cause me to respond or react irrationally. Meaning, the response should not match the offense, but my love for him. It’s that moment when I pull from or tap into God’s peace that passes all understanding to defend our union against the wiles of the enemy. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. Not defending your position or character in times of disagreements is the work of Holy Spirit, not of human will. Let Him drive so that we can maintain a cheerfulness that is calm.
Joy received from you.
During my time as a student, we were given a word study assignment for joy. Without reliving the entire assignment, I will shorten the experience by sharing that I learned a particular meaning of joy that I never, in all my years of walking with the Lord, ever heard of. Here is how it played out. I always had an internal struggle with the scripture James 1:2-3 that says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” So I decided to use that definition of joy to do my concordance homework. Oh boy! Did you read what I said in having a cheerfulness that is calm? Yep! That was there. Yet, it had a twist. My revelation was this. I do not have to react to my circumstances as if my God is dumb, deaf, blind, or even dead. My joy is a calmness because I am sure, certain, and beyond doubt that He will respond to my situation. So my joy is not stolen during warfare. Therefore, I can share this disposition with my spouse when they are troubled or not able to pull from God’s peace when tribulations knock on our door. We, through joy received from one or the other, can stand firm and see the salvation of the God of our union.
To be well. Thrive.
If we can accept in the natural that stress depletes our health and can even contribute to an early death, how can we continue to live without a cheerfulness that is calm? See how we keep coming back to the first description? Count it all joy so that we can be well and thrive in good health; first in your spirit and it will begin to control your natural mind. Trust me. It doesn’t work the other way around. Trying to act out what you are struggling to believe or may have misunderstood in definition is a recipe for failure. To live well and thrive, one must first understand what it is you believe and then work within that understanding. God wants us to thrive (grow or develop well or vigorously; prosper, flourish, succeed, advance). It is a testament of His love for His people. After all, our lifestyle (not our words and deeds) is the biggest witness to others of who God really is.
A Deeper View:
Ah, this one. Many of us believe we understand humility and are its foremost practitioners. We have raced to the dictionary and have seen that the definition is "freedom from pride and arrogance". We then perform a quick check of our behavior in marriage and note that we did apologize to our spouse that one rare time we were wrong and carry on to the next part of the fruit.
However, as I looked further into the concept of humility, I discovered that the true test of my humility was not the concept I once believed it to be. My understanding was that humility was something I best displayed to my spouse when I was wrong. At that point I was meek and soft-spoken, not daring to say anything, because the error I made was still glaringly obvious.
A closer look at my motivation at these times indicated to me that my humility when proven wrong was false. It was not that I was free from pride and arrogance, but that my pride and arrogance did not want my errors to be pointed out repeatedly by my spouse. I was not truly walking in humility, I was disguising my pride as humility in order to protect my reputation. I was actually displaying the very opposite of the fruit. I determined that something had to change.
This was the start of a difficult and ongoing change in my approach. Instead of attempting to silence my spouse with loud apologies, I tried to understand the damage my mistakes had made. I learned that my version of the narrative had omitted her thoughts and feelings. Even when I was right, my decisions and actions had caused pain and distress to the one I loved. My entire life had been filled with pride, and I had ignored it under the guise of false humility. So how was I to find real humility?
My search took me to the place I should have started, The Word. A fairly in-depth search of humility took me to Colossians 3: 12-13 (So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you). My humility was not a function of how I acted when in the wrong, but in being compassionate when I was right. I was to be patient with my spouse, forgiving her minor transgressions with the same ease and speed that I wanted Christ to forgive me.
This meant that I couldn’t keep score, I couldn’t rub her nose in failures, and I couldn’t be haughty and high minded when I was right. I was to act with the same level of meekness when I was right as when I was wrong. I was to be as soft-spoken in my rightness as when I was wrong. In some ways, this was more difficult than I thought. My being right was to be pushed aside, as I focused on the One who is always right. However, as I did this, I realized that my focus turned more to my marriage than to who was right and who was wrong. It became more about us being unified than proving who had a higher percentage of correct decisions. In short, I started to become a better husband. As I did, my marriage improved, and I was reminded that this was the goal after all.
In conclusion, let’s summarize this by way of example. Many of us struggle with the need to be the one who is right for various reasons, good or bad. The truth is, the reasons exist. Simply put, this is a defense mechanism. Needing to be the one who is right is a lack of humility/gentleness and can put us into attorney mode. According to society, being a lawyer is great and has many financial benefits that symbolizes success. However, for believers it is a trap. Having all of your evidence to bring into the argument is keeping record of wrongs. Presenting your evidence is siding with the Accuser of brethren. Finally, the whole motive of an attorney is to have the best interest of his or client as priority. If you are not careful, if you become the attorney in your marriage, YOU can quickly become your own client. Therefore, your entire defense is about you. When you feel the need to go into attorney mode, make sure that your client is your marriage. Walking in humility and gentleness will help us to keep that in perspective. Defend your marriage that it will have a cheerfulness that is calm, a joy received from either of you so that your marriage will THRIVE.
Warmest regards and heading to the deep,
Bird & Fish
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Just a little birdy and fish about the Father's business. Helping to better the world one blog at a time.