Sunday, September 18, 2005

praotes - inward grace of the soul

I was doing my Beth Moore bible study (Living Beyond Yourself) this morning, which is on the fruits of the spirit (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23) and the topic is gentleness. In Greek gentleness is the same as meekness and is the word praotes. She cites a description of this word (Spiros Zodhiates, et al. eds. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, Chattanooga, TN 1992) that is so powerful to me.

"It does not denote outward expression of feeling but an inward grace of the soul. Praotes encompasses expressing wrath toward the sin of man as demonstrated by the Lord Jesus....This meekness does not blame God for the persecutions and evildoings of men. It is not the result of weakness... but the activity of the blessedness that exists in one's heart from being angry at evil....That virtue that stands between two extremes, uncontrollable and unjustified anger, and not becoming angry at all no matter what takes place around you."

I found this so powerful because its true to my own life right now. I also have often said I don't like flapping jaws. In my opinion too many people sit around and complain about things going wrong but don't take action to change the things they complain about. We can't do everything but we can do something. And those things in our path that we can do, we should do something about. Hold a candle to the darkness and it can expose some ugly truths, but its better than sitting in darkness.

In all the difficulties I have faced over the past few months as I cry before my beloved God, I often say to Him, Lord if my pain and frustration is going to help someone else see you more clearly, than I will take on this pain. I can handle it with your strength. I know that there are lessons to be learned in every painful circumstance, and I don't mind the difficulties so much as I get frustrated at not knowing what choices to make or what direction to go. And the fear of uncertainty, which I know is related to lack of faith. I often feel like the man who says "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24). In the same breath we can express deep faith and deep doubt. Recognizing it is the first step to overcoming it.

By the way I went to the video filming of this bible study weekly last year, and she is absolutely amazing - so full of the Spirit and so wise. I haven't watched the videos (since I saw it live) but I may be in the audience on the video somewhere since it was filmed over several weeks!

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