Only the Strong Are Truly Gentle

Dr. Tony EvansBy Dr. Tony Evans4 Minutes

One of the greatest Kingdom virtues is gentleness. However, many people have a wrong definition of what gentleness means.

Gentleness does not mean to make yourself a pushover. Neither does it mean to become a wallflower. Instead, gentleness involves strength. It involves the wisdom of how to use your strength strategically. Gentleness is actually strength that is directed for a good use while under control. For example, when you are watering your plants in your backyard, it’s the difference in power between spraying a water hose with the spout wide open or directing the water into a single funnel.

When Jesus urged His followers to live a meek and gentle life, saying that doing so would bring about blessings (Matthew 5:5), He said this at a time when the Jews were under Roman domination. He said this to a group of people who wanted to rise up in full force to topple those who oppressed them. The Jews were being oppressed and wanted nothing more than to get the Romans off their backs. They wanted freedom from the stranglehold of Roman rule, and because of it, they were looking for a leader who would set them free. Thus, Jesus offered them an effective strategy contrary to what they could think up on their own.

The Greek word for meek or gentle is praos. It describes the necessary balance between using power and avoiding harshness. If you’ve been to a circus, you know what this looks like with some of the strongest animals around, such as tigers and bears, or even elephants. When a professional trains one of these animals, they do not strip the animal of its power. Rather, they instruct the animal on how to contain its power in certain scenarios.

The concept of gentleness never refers to the loss of strength. Gentleness refers to taming power so that it can be surrendered to the overall goals at hand.

You no longer have to try to force things to go as you hoped. You can yield the outcomes to God, who is far stronger and more capable than you, and allow Him the freedom to work things out for you. Far too many of us actually get in the way of God showing up and working things out in our lives because we lack this virtue of self-control. We feel like we have to figure things out. We have to solve things. We have to muscle our way through. We have to let our voices be heard. Whatever the issues are that we are facing, we often get in the way of God intervening on our behalf because we are seeking our own way rather than His way. But living with the value of gentleness opens the door for God’s power to work for us and through us for His glory.

One of the most exciting things in life is to watch God work stuff out for you when you didn’t have any idea how it could possibly work out at all. But that is not an experience everyone gets to have. That experience belongs to the meek. It belongs to the gentle. It belongs to those who humble themselves under God and align their lives under His rule. It is reserved for those who are committed to Christ and the will of God.

Excerpt from Kingdom Values Devotional by Tony Evans, provided by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright 2023. Used by permission.

Click here to learn about Dr. Tony Evans’ show, The Alternative, and when to watch it on Inspiration TV.