Be Reasonable

8 Sep

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. –Philippians 4:5 

Sandwiched between a call to joy and an entreaty to not be anxious, Paul makes this interesting statement: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. Various translations interpret “reasonableness” as gentle spirit (NASB), moderation (KJV), gracious attitude (ISV), and humility (Aramaic Bible in Plain English). With these multiple definitions for the term, what’s the right answer?

The common theme in all of these translations is an attitude of careful thought for others. Avoiding pride and arrogance, the Christian should be known for empathy as well as patience. I think graciousness is a good reflection of what Paul is encouraging here. First, we rejoice no matter what our circumstances. We have nothing to be anxious about when we walk with our Lord. Because of those realities, we can be reasonable in the sense that we stay positively calm in the midst of a messy and hostile world.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “reasonable” as

            Having sound judgment; fair and sensible; moderate.

This definition reminds us that we are to think through the spiritual realities that are ours when we align our lives with Jesus Christ. He provides perspective, purpose, and peace, and these allow us to rejoice and be free of anxiety.

Tacked on to the end of verse 5 is the simple reminder – The Lord is at hand. We can be gracious, patient, and reasonable when we know He is by our side. He gives us confidence to stand firm, not be swayed by the turmoil around us, and be gracious to those whom He places in our path.

How can you be reasonable today?

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