On the Quiet Spirit

From Matthew Henry:

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…

It is for want of meekness that we are so impatient of contradiction in our opinions, desires, and designs; that we must have our own saying, right or wrong, and everything our own way; that we are so impatient of competitors, not enduring that any should stand in our light, or share in that work of honor which we would engross to ourselves; that we are so impatient of contempt, so quick in our apprehension and resentment of the least slight or affront; and so quick to imagine injuries where there are none or none intended…In a word, the wilful doing of anything to disquiet others, slandering, backbiting, whispering, tale-bearing, or the like, is too plain an evidence that we are not ourselves rightly disposed to be quiet.

The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit

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11 thoughts on “On the Quiet Spirit

  1. This book has changed many many things for me in the last four months. Thank you for telling me to read it.

    If you have a chance it would be appreciated if you can say something about what a quiet and gentle (or meek and quiet) spirit looks like in someone who usually has a lot of energy or spunk, versus say, someone who is naturally more quiet and even-keeled? Can a spunky, highly energetic person have a gentle and quiet spirit?

    Matthew Henry makes it clear towards the beginning of the book that just because someone doesn’t say much or is outwardly quiet, that does not necessarily mean they have a quiet and meek spirit on the inside. So I’ve been wanting to know this for years. What does a REAL gentle and quiet spirit look like? I know the best answer is Jesus but I suppose I am trying to find out how it looks like for women. Does that make sense?

  2. Hello!

    I am a very quiet person and I am sure there are others that think I am a stuck-up person although I am not. (At least I don’t think so?) I wish others would approach me because it is hard for me to walk up to others and strike up a conversation.

    I have found you should never judge someone on how they seem at first glance.

    I was wondering how you deal with gossip of others? I know by being on the receiving end that it hurts very badly. Although I believe everything happens for a reason:) I am sure God can use gossip for His Good and our Glory.


  3. Luma,
    Let’s say there are two women. One is vivacious and the other is introverted, and neither has a quiet spirit because both women worry and fret about everything. One worries out loud and the other worries internally. One gets angry and gives way to outbursts of temper, and the other gets angry, cold, and withdrawn, seething inside. When God intervenes with forgiveness and changes both women, the vivacious one will be less given to anger and outbursts, restraining her tongue; and the introverted one will deal with her internal passions, and become friendlier, kinder rather than withdrawn. This does not mean that both personalities will meet in the middle so they are identical, each hitting the perfect standard of sameness. Rather, as both women grow in their sanctification, each will become more of what God intended for her in the first place. The good soil of sanctification will produce two different kinds of flowers, both beautiful.

  4. I’ve been thinking about what you wrote all day, since I read it this morning. Thank you, your example helped tremendously.

    “Now the way prescribed for the attainment of meekness is to seek it. Ask it of God, pray for it. It is a fruit of the Spirit; it is given by the God of all grace, and to him we must go for it.”

    And almost at the end of the book he says, “Pray to God by his Spirit to work in you this excellent grace of meekness and quietness of spirit.”

    It is all from Him, through Him and in Him. We can’t fake it, we can’t do it in our own strength; all we can do is beg of the Lord to give us this grace and indeed, it is a grace.

  5. I’m a bit thick, so I’m finally starting to get that quietness of spirit isn’t the same thing as quietness of tongue. That’s a relief! Thought I’d never overcome that one! (There are a few books on my shelf with painfully tiny type that I obviously have yet to read…)

    So for clarification, can I give some examples and ask a few questions?

    Example A: Husband is in “work mode” and doesn’t have the most pleasant expression on his face. The quiet spirited wife recognizes he’s working and that’s the cause of the expression. The dis-quieted wife has to ask, “Are you upset with me?” because she worries that the expression might mean something? Would this be a fair example?

    Example B: Jackie asks Sally if Sally’s son will be going to kindergarden in the fall or waiting a year. Sally responds that they’ll be homeschooling and will start in the fall, but if it takes 2 years for kindergarden, that’s okay. Jackie asks why homeschooling. Sally responds. Jackie examplifies a quiet spirit if she respects Sally’s reasons, but not if she takes offense b/c she doesn’t intend to homeschool her own children? Would this be fair? Providing that Sally’s reasons aren’t attacking those who hold differing opinions?

    Thanks in advance. I’m sure I could make up plenty of other scenarios, but that’s enough for now. 🙂

  6. Not to be a pest, but are these fair examples of a quiet spirit vs. a not-quiet spirit? Or am I getting this wrong? I want to understand, but not sure I do. I grew up in an environment where meekness and quietness of spirit weren’t valued, so I’m still trying to “get it.” Thanks!

  7. I think the best example of a gentle and quiet spirit is the character of Fanny in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.

  8. Dear Billie,
    I’m afraid I just found your questions and I’m so sorry, didn’t mean to ignore you.
    I think a quiet-spirited wife could ask an honest question just so long as it wasn’t accusative. The husband shouldn’t feel jumped on because he was absorbed in his business. The essence of that quiet spirit is one that is not easily troubled. So, with your other example about the homeschooling vs. Christian schooling, if either woman is defensive or prickly about the conversation, it could be evidence that she is not quiet at that moment. She may have been going along quietly and someone bumped her boat and jostled her. A quiet spirit can take the bump and keep herself steady. Hope that is helpful.

  9. Dear Nancy,
    That’s quite alright! My questions were neatly hidden, (or not so neatly explained, as the case may be!) and you’re a busy lady! 🙂
    Thank you. That does help. I think I’m trying to make sense of different sorts of disquietedness –contentiousness and worry, but really the remedy for each is repentance and faith. I need to look to Christ, and not do that morbid introspection stuff. I particularly appreciate that you said, “…she is not quiet at that moment.” It is encouraging that while we may get jostled, by God’s grace, we can learn to be quiet and steady. I pray that He’s changing me; I’m afraid it is slow work! Many thanks, again!

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