I took a personality test this week. No, not a quiz on Facebook, but a legit psychologist-made test. This particular test assigns your typical behaviors and responses to four animals: a lion, an otter, a golden retriever, or a beaver.
I'm a lion. Hear me roar.
My strengths? Problem solving, leading, and excelling in competition.
Annnnnd, that's where the compliments end. The lion's weaknesses are many: impatience, too direct, impulsive, insensitive, not a good listener. And my favorite? "Cold-blooded."
I also did a series of devotions this week on the Fruits of the Spirit. This morning I read about gentleness.
These two things do not coincide well.
If you're like me you've got some Mama-Lion in you. We see injustice, we fight against it. We see a wrong, we try to right it. There is not a thing wrong with having the boldness of a lion.
So why then does God say we should be gentle when many times I feel nothing of the sort. How can a hurricane be a mist?
My sweet husband is a golden retriever (not literally). He is warm, loyal. A peacemaker. He carries gentleness like a mantle. So does he then carry the Holy Spirit more than I do?
Friend, I'm here to tell you today that we misunderstand what it means to be gentle in the Lord. I Peter 3:4 says, "Your beauty...should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
But, Father, I'm a lion. That Doctor Doolittle test told me so, and quite honestly, I could have told you that without it.
A gentle and quiet spirit is not exactly what we think it is. Let's look at it this way: my spirit is the eternal part of me. It has direct connection with the Holy Spirit. This communion is the catalyst for all the good Kingdom work we do. I show gentleness when I am the first to be compassionate and kind. When I am quick to love and encourage. This may come with a lion's boldness, but it still is evidence of a gentle heart. I show a quiet spirit when I am neither troubled nor scared of an uncertain future. I am not a lion on the attack, but one who sits in peace by the water.
A gentle and quiet spirit is precious in God's sight. Precious, in its original Greek, means "worth a great price." Your spirit's faith in God is worth much to Him. And a God who gave up His only Son knows what a great price is worth.
I was thinking of our bold Biblical counterparts:
Elijah who called fire down from heaven.
Noah who built a boat the size of a cruise ship.
Jacob who wrestled an angel.
Esther who approached a king.
John the Baptist who announced the arrival of the Christ.
Paul who stepped out of darkness and gave his life to the light.
They all had a gentle and quiet spirit even though their outsides spoke differently. Their covers read of action and drama, but their pages were sweet poetry. They intensely loved people with the great compassion of God and believed in the promises set before them. Their hearts beat loudly; loudly yet untroubled.
Dear one, roar and lead. Be competitive and be direct. Be bold, my friend. But don't worry. There's a gentle heart inside you.
I am an oxymoron in the flesh. A lion, king of beasts, ready to pounce, but whose heart has been stilled by the King of Peace.
Father, create in us a heart that is both bold and gentle for Your Name, helping us to discern the right time for each.
If you'd like to take the Doctor Doolittle test, you can find it here. It's free, quick, and easy. I'd love to hear in the comments what animal you are!