Gentle Giant

7.27.23 Devo Image

Be completely . . . gentle . . .”—Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

Gentleness, in addition to being among the characteristics the Holy Spirit desires to produce in the life of every Christian, is something of an enigma. On the one hand, we applaud gentleness when it comes to certain things. We want our facial soaps, baby products, and antacids to be gentle. There’s also a special place in the hearts of many for the gentle grandmother who knows how to soothe our every sorrow. 

On the other hand, our culture doesn’t widely celebrate or encourage gentleness. When it comes to those we choose as our favorite athletes, entertainers, influencers, etc., gentleness isn’t much of a priority. That’s because we instinctively elevate strength, and gentleness can often appear to be the absence or total opposite of strength. If given the choice between strength and gentleness, we’re almost always going to choose strength. 

However, we don’t need to choose between the two because they’re not opposites of one another—they are compliments to one another. Gentleness isn’t weakness. Rather, it’s controlled strength. It’s the ability to master one’s might in a manner that makes one fully approachable and accessible to others. 

This can be a challenging concept for us because we don’t see a lot examples of this around us. But we do have one perfect example of this balance of gentleness and strength . . . Jesus.

Now, without question, there’s never been a more powerful person to walk this planet than Jesus. Consider His role in creation as the eternal Son of God, and that by Him all things were made and how nothing can exist apart from Him holding it all together (Colossians 1:15–17). Think about His miraculous ability to tame the natural elements and demonic forces that overwhelmed everyone else, not to mention the fortitude it took to oppose and upend the social structures and systems of His day. Without a doubt, Jesus is the Giant of all giants when it comes to strength.

It can also be said that nobody has ever been more gentle than Jesus. His strength was so restrained that we don’t get a hint of anyone being intimidated by Him in the slightest. As a matter of fact, Jesus was so gentle and approachable that people from the lowest levels of that society came right to Him. Blind beggars, lepers, women of immoral reputation . . . they all sensed and leaned into the gentle nature of Jesus. He was so unintimidating that protective mothers even trusted Jesus to handle and bless their precious children. Truly, the gentleness of Jesus looms large over all He was and did!

Again, gentleness and strength aren’t enemies, they’re allies. Strength is never stronger than when it’s used in the service of others. But a strength that only intimidates others can never fulfill its true potential, no matter how strong it is. Gentleness breaks down this barrier and creates a bridge that allows for powerful connections that can transform lives. This is what we see in the life of Jesus, and it’s what the Holy Spirit wants to see in us. The fruit of gentleness is what He produces and uses to make this a lived-out reality in our lives. 

Pause: What are some common misconceptions about gentleness and how should it be understood? 

Practice: Consider a time when you’ve witnessed the balance of strength and gentleness at work in your life. 

Pray: Lord, I come to You confessing that I need to grow in gentleness and to exercise it as You did. May Your Spirit’s presence in me produce the kind of quality that invites and draws others into the good work You’re doing in our lives. May I be approachable and accessible to others so I can be used by You in other’s lives. Amen. 

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.