Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.
- 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
“Gentleness is often equated with weakness, but nothing can be further from the truth. Imagine a strong man lifting a piano and setting it gently down on the floor, with no damage. That is gentle strength. Today’s verse [1 Cor. 16:13] speaks of such strength and courage to guard against the devil’s schemes, defend the faith and to act in love.
“The next verse reads, ‘Let all that you do be done in love.’ Love can be warm and welcoming, but it also can be tough as nails. Defensive tactics can be an act of love. Not letting someone do wrong is an act of love. Protecting the innocent from harm is an act of love. Christians are to be strong and courageous standing up for God’s Word. This kind of courage comes from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it’s hard to take a stand when everyone else is standing against God and His principles.
“Believers are to stand for Him with a Christlike attitude. Jesus described Himself as ‘gentle and lowly in heart’ (Matthew 11:29). And He also drove money changers out of the temple (John 2:13-16). Stand strong in the Lord. Pray for boldness to keep the faith and live for Him.”
- Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
The night before our younger son was born six-weeks early, we were still convinced that we were going to have a girl. We already had a boy. Why not? But my wife and I got concerned that if we were wrong, we needed to be prepared. Our first son had a Biblical name and then a middle name that was Scotch-Irish in nature. So, we went with that theme. We chose Benjamin for his first name.
When I was at Ole Miss, one of the first black football players was an All-American, Ben Williams. He would become the “Big Man on Campus” (BMOC), being elected to the role of “Colonel Reb” one year (changed to Mr. Ole Miss in 2013). His nickname was “Gentle Ben,” gentle off the field, but a terror on the field. He was a defensive lineman, and he went on to play in the NFL, and in the Pro Bowl one year. But even so, the nickname came from a television show, a show about a boy and his bear.
The quoted devotion tries to illustrate that concept. We need to be gentle and loving, but we also need strength to stand up for what is right and to withstand the persecution that may come our way.
Our son became a “Gentle Ben” of his own. He is a loving father and a loving music teacher, but he is also an imposing force if needed. It is very hard to find a balance between the gentle side and the strong side. Our son shows it in his music. With hands so large that they could crush things, he doesn’t just move the piano that is mentioned in the devotion, but he sits at the bench and plays beautiful melodies. That takes the gentleness illustrated in the devotion a step further.
But what if you are not physically imposing? What if you shrink in times of danger? There are many ways to show God’s strength. We do not all need to tower over others to show our strength. God can use us in our weakness and meekness to fell the strongest foes. In fact, our chief enemy, Satan, can be sent scurrying away by one word, “Jesus.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.