13 January 2015

Highway (CC: Alex Osaki)

The need to be discerning and put this teaching into practice

Click here to read Matthew 7

Discussion questions

  • Is there a danger of judging others by their actions, while judging ourselves by our motives?
  • Why is the road that leads to life ‘narrow’ compared to the road that leads to destruction? What do you think verses 13 and 14 are talking about?
  • If Jesus is the rock, then what might the sand, rain and wind represent?

Share your thoughts below, or tweet with the hashtag #boundlessbible.

Going Deeper – From 'Words Of Life'

Some Bible translations use the word meekness rather than gentleness as a fruit of the Spirit. Whether meekness or gentleness, there's great strength implied. Jesus was both gentle and meek in spirit, telling us to come to him when we're weary, when we have heavy stuff going on in our lives. For in him we'll find complete rest:

'Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls' (Matthew 11:29).

How can we live our this gentleness in our life?

  • Share Christ with others. As we do so, let's do it with a gentle spirit. Not with force or disrespect; but with optimism and hope.
  • Minister in a gentle way. Be an encourager. We need to fellowship with each other and be there for each other, with a gentle spirit.
  • Cultivate a gentle disposition. Demonstrate gentleness in all we say and do, in order to attract others to Christ.
  • Build wholesome relationships. Gentleness needs to be evident in all relationships - marriages, parent-child, friendships.

The final fruit of the Spirit is self-control. I wonder why Paul left this until the end? Because it's probably the most difficult? The American preacher and author Stuart Briscoe speaks of self-control as it relates to freedom - and staying on the right path:

Freedom is like a highway, with a ditch on each side. One ditch is called legalism and the other licentiousness. Legalism limits freedom by carefully defined structures and restrictions, licentiousness celebrates freedom and encourages the enjoyment of it to the point of excess, which eventually destroys the very thing it celebrates.
from The Fruit of the Spirit by Stuart Briscoe © 1993 Harold Shaw Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, USA

To stay on the right path, there needs to be a healthy balance, in order to have self-control within the boundaries of freedom in Christ. 

Gentleness. Self-control. The fruit of the Spirit. Let's embrace them all, living them out to the full - so others will see Christ in us.

Beverly Ivany
Highway photo by Alex Osaki, used under Creative Commons licensing

Tags: Matthew