April 23: Quietness of Spirit

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(Continuing with more from Matthew Henry’s The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit.)

“In a word, quietness of spirit is the soul’s stillness and silence from intending provocation to, or resenting provocation from, any with whom we have to do.”

That’s a pretty tall order, wouldn’t you say? In order to keep our mouths shut when we want to tick someone off or when someone ticks us off, we must practice, practice, practice. And of course it is the Spirit who by His grace fills us with the means to exercise authority over our own hearts and mouths.

By practice I mean that we have a lookout for all those daily provocations we habitually react to with anger or peevishness, cool silence or other displays of annoyance. Others no doubt see us reacting this way. Practice means that we ask the Holy Spirit to open our own eyes to these things so we can see what we need to change. Change doesn’t come naturally or easily, but it won’t come at all unless we set ourselves to be on guard against all those things that disquiet us.

Henry uses these examples of quietness: when the air is quiet from wind, when the sea is quiet from waves, when the land is quiet from war, when a weaned child is quiet from fussing.

If you’ve ever seen a lake in the early morning that is still as glass, that is what quietness of spirit looks like. No ripples, no waves, no froth, no foam. When our hearts are quiet, they are not churned up by taking offense at others nor by dishing it out. Quiet spirits are not worried and anxious because they are submitted to God’s wise providence over all things.

Quietness is a real creature-comfort, because we can’t enjoy the outward comforts we have if our spirits are all disjointed with anger or bitterness or worry.

“The conquest of an unruly passion is more honorable than that of an unruly people, for it requires more true conduct. It is easier to kill an enemy without, which may be done at a blow, than to chain up and govern an enemy within, which requires a constant, even, steady hand, and a long and regular management.”

In other words, “Go,fight, win!” Rather than being at war with others around you, set yourself to fight and conquer your own tendency to anger. God has given us the means to do this in Christ.

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11 thoughts on “April 23: Quietness of Spirit

  1. I love your “quiet” picture. I struggle with the “cool silence” when I’m upset. I didn’t used to look at it as a problem but a few years ago, the Spirit showed me that it’s as much a problem as opening my mouth.

    Thanks for your post!

  2. I have so been convicted by these devotions taken from Matthew Henry’s book that I think I’m going to have to actually read the entire thing. Thank you so much for this.

  3. Wow. Just what I needed to hear this evening after a day of “foaming and frothing” at my children, husband, and feeling constantly provoked. I was feeling desperate for understanding and wisdom and that is what I have found here. Thank you, Lord, for your mercies which are new each morning!

  4. This is what I needed right now. I also read this morning in Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
    Someone has hurt me and made me angry but I will fight and conquer my own anger and leave the rest to God.
    Thank you for these posts!

  5. Thank you for this this morning…..stopped in on Femina this morning to take a breather before cleaning up/ dealing with the glass patio table that was just smashed due to the reckless shenanigans of two pint-sized merry men. I will be applying this….. :)

  6. “Quietness is a real creature-comfort, because we can’t enjoy the outward comforts we have if our spirits are all disjointed with anger or bitterness or worry.”

    This is such a great word Nancy!! I have been pondering how this works lately. A constant prayer of mine over recent years has that I not miss out on joys and thanksgivings for what I have been blessed with, by the work, or time, or uncertainty those blessings cause. : )

    I have found this to be deeply true in the area of anxiousness. Missing out on joy and thankfulness because of worry or frustration is a tragedy. We miss so much of Gods blessings when we are ruled by these passions. Not that the blessings aren’t there, but worst, we are too worked up to appreciate them.
    Praise God for changing us if we will only listen. I am really enjoying these inspirations you are working off of from Matthew Henry’s book. Great stuff!

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