Is having a gentle and quiet spirit an impossible standard to set?
How does having a loud personality fit with having a gentle and quiet spirit?
“… the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:4.
I sit looking at these words, tempted to be discouraged. I know without a doubt that I am not a gentle and quiet person. I have a loud voice, an abrasive laugh, and a tendency to sing at the top of my lungs. Whatever I do, I do it conspicuously. I am not a subtle person who slips by unnoticed.
This is not intentional. This is the personality that I was born with. I’m not saying that I pride myself on being this way; in fact, a lot of times I am pretty embarrassed when I realize that once again, I’m laughing louder than anyone else in the room. Actually, I often wish that I was not so “in-your-face.”
So, what do I do about the fact that it’s written that I should have a gentle and quiet spirit? Am I not precious to God because I am a loud and impetuous person? Should I try to change my personality? And would other people also prefer that I were less … me?
God didn’t make me “wrong”
I don’t believe that God created me wrong. He made me the person that I am, and He gave me my personality for a reason. So, where is the actual problem here?
But now I notice that it doesn’t say “a gentle and quiet personality.” It says, “a gentle and quiet spirit.” That gentle and quiet spirit needs to be my inner self, my connection with God. If in my spirit I am quiet and always listening for what God wants to speak to my heart, then I will hear when He tells me that the way I am acting right now is not right – that there is some sin tainting what I am doing.
Sin is what makes something wrong. Where there is sin in the way I do things, that’s when it is displeasing to God. If I’m being loud and boisterous and it’s making life hard on the people around me, then I am being selfish and thoughtless, instead of blessing and making life good for people. God shows me when I am seeking attention, trying to have the last word, being rude, disrespectful, proud, thoughtless, opinionated, or egotistical, etc.
I need to always be judging my actions, thinking about how and why I am doing things. I shouldn’t act thoughtlessly thinking only of my own interests with no regard for how my actions affect people around me. My actions should be dictated by love. Then I create life and peace around me wherever I go, whether I am raucous or retiring by nature.
“… to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6.
God can use my personality to bless!
Being self-centred and thoughtless is not a permanent condition! These things can be eradicated when I use the power available from God to overcome. I can become caring and thoughtful and mindful of the best interests of the others, and my actions will reflect that. Then my personality is purified, without changing who God made me. When I listen for God’s voice, then I learn what is right and what is wrong, and I am sensitive to when it is the right time and the right place for being bold and assertive, and when the right thing to do is to keep silent.
What is precious to God is my desire to hear His voice and seek Him in my spirit, always keeping my ear open to hear what He has to say to me in every situation, so that I can do His will and not my own. That’s the gentleness and quietness that He is looking for. And yes, sometimes a flurry of outward activity keeps me from hearing that, so then I have to make sure that I am not drowning out His voice. (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
But there is nothing wrong with being assertive. As long as I am always on the alert for sin, in whatever I do. When I listen for God’s voice speaking to me, then He is able to always guide all of my steps, and He can use me for whatever work He has prepared for me to do. He can use me, as He created me, to accomplish His will on earth. (Ephesians 2:10)
That gentle and quiet spirit is not impossible. Rather, it’s incredibly encouraging to know that I can have that no matter what my personality is, and that through it God can guide my life perfectly. He can show me the way to become completely free from sin and self-seeking. I can still be me, but the purified me, the way that God intended that I should be.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.