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9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit (9) Fruit of Gentleness
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쏝ut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23 ...
       
 
  
 

A Beautiful Heart

Manmin News   No. 120
8328
June 08, 2008


"... Jesus said to her, 'Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father' ... Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord,' and that He had said these things to her" (John 20:15-18).

Prior to meeting Jesus, Mary Magdalene had lived a miserable life. From illnesses, she had been unable to take care of herself and was abused and held in contempt even by her family. No one loved or comforted this hopeless woman. Meeting Jesus, however, was a turning point in Mary Magdalene's life.
Having received God's answers to her problems in the body and in the spirit, Mary Magdalene came to understand the true purpose in life and received from Jesus the kind of love of which this world does not know. In an unceasing effort to reciprocate Jesus' love, Mary Magdalene devoted herself to the moment Jesus breathed His last and following His resurrection, Mary Magdalene was honored to be the first person to see Him.
Many people say they have received a new life on account of the grace of Our Lord and confess, "The way Mary Magdalene did, I will love the church and serve the shepherd with all my life." Among such individuals are people who have a misconception of Mary Magdalene and cling to God in a fleshly manner and say, "I desire Him the way Mary Magdalene desired God." There are also those who are unable to discover themselves and unreasonably say, "I am close to the spirit," which hinders them from making spiritual improvements.
What kind of heart must we harbor in order to become as beautiful as Mary Magdalene who had never forgotten the grace of Our Lord?

1. A Heart That Does Not Misunderstand

Most people want to be loved as much as they have devoted themselves; otherwise, they misunderstand and become disappointed. Mary Magdalene sought to reciprocate the grace she had received from the Lord with all her life and loved Him without a change of heart. Keep in mind that Jesus did not love Mary Magdalene exclusively. As He was surrounded by His disciples and large crowds wherever He went, at times it appeared as though Jesus was inattentive or negligent of her. Nonetheless, Mary Magdalene never became disappointed, thinking, 'Oh, He speaks to Peter that much' or 'He smiles with such warmth to that woman.' Nor did she ever become discouraged, asking herself, 'I have served the Lord and His disciples with the wages I've earned from needle work, but why am I not loved as much?'
Mary Magdalene always made sure that Jesus could carry out His public ministry with ease. Her love for Jesus was earnest but she did not get the wrong impression of Jesus even when she did not have a chance to speak with Him; she had already received the life-giving love and trusted Jesus, and there was nothing that could shake her trust. No matter what Jesus said or did, Mary Magdalene could understand Him. She and Jesus had given each other their heart not just in fleshly thoughts but in spirit as well.
People say they "connect" when they are truly in love and close to one another. They already know what the other person is thinking just by looking into their eyes or at facial expressions. It is truer in spirit. People in spirit can serve one another from the heart without expecting reciprocation, and they do not misinterpret or become disappointed in each other. Even if there are differences in opinion, people in goodness put themselves in the other's shoes first and can even fathom the other's intention and heart.
Mary Magdalene was the same in her serving Jesus, His disciples, and the accompanying crowds. She did not boast, saying, "Jesus and I are close," or break any peace. She was not interested in quarreling with anyone else or putting herself above others. Mary Magdalene always felt she was merely doing what she was supposed to do and did not expect to be commended for her work. When others were loved and commended, she rejoiced as she knew the Lord also rejoiced.
Moved by the grace they receive, some people confess to God, "God, I love You with all my heart. I trust You completely no matter what You say," but when they face their limits, that love and trust are diluted. When they feel that they were not loved in the way they had expected or not loved as much as others, they become discouraged. Such individuals are quick to become dismayed, telling themselves, 'I have devoted myself and loved more than others' or 'I guess I will not be loved or receive any recognition no matter how hard I try.'
There is no misunderstanding in true love. Even if one is rebuked in front of many people, he will not consider it a problem or a hindrance if he possesses true love. Instead of becoming disappointed when others are loved and recognized more, he can rejoice.
For Mary Magdalene, Jesus' joy was her joy and Jesus' desire was her desire. If Jesus gave to others a precious gift she had given to Jesus, do you think she would have thought to herself, 'Doesn't Jesus know how much trouble I went through to prepare that?' She was grateful, knowing that Jesus used it at the time of His choosing.

2. A Selfless Heart

One cannot reciprocate grace when he is only seeking to satisfy his greed. Here, "greed" refers not only to material possessions but also all selfish motives and interests such as looking after himself and his family, his reputation, pride, authority, and comfort. When one has selfish motives and interests, he is bound to expect something in return.
Among the followers of Jesus were those, in greed, who hoped to gain something on His coattail as He manifested great power and was loved. There were others who sought to enjoy wealth and prosperity when Jesus would establish a kingdom in this world. There are still others who wanted to be seen as important to Jesus and having close ties to Him.
Mary Magdalene had no interest or desire to enjoy good things or be loved under the umbrella of Jesus' glory. She had always kept herself close to Jesus as His shadow but completely humbled herself and served Him so. She never said to Jesus, "The twelve disciples manifest great power and do marvelous work of God and receive your recognition. Establish me as an apostle, too." Without expecting any compensation, praise, or honor, Mary Magdalene only sought to be a source of joy for Jesus and comfort Him. At times, Mary Magdalene also sacrificed her food and that to which she was entitled not only to Jesus but also to His disciples.
Some people may have desire to do or enjoy certain things but when events do not transpire the way they have hoped or expected, they become upset. They are disappointed, thinking, 'It is unfair for me not to be given that task when I have enthusiasm, faith, and ability People do not recognize me.' If one possesses such ability and faith, he merely has to do everything in his power to be faithful in his current position. A sign of greed in an individual is evidenced merely by thinking, 'People do not recognize me or my work,' or becoming upset when a task is not assigned to him.
There are even those who say that they are in the spirit and attempt to wield authority or influence as such. They implicitly tell others, "I am a man of spirit whom the shepherd recognizes. Heed my words." All such thoughts and words stem from a heart to seek one's own glory and fame. If he desires to reciprocate the grace he has received, he will love and serve without expecting anything in return and without selfish motives.

3. An Unwavering Heart

Even in this world, people say "true friends" are those who remain friends even in times of one's difficulty. When one faces difficulties or if the difficulties prolong, we see how even the loved ones around that person change. For Mary Magdalene, however, no circumstances or environment could play a role in her love and service to the Lord.
Even when Jesus manifested God's works in front of large crowds and received glory, Mary Magdalene served Him to the end without ever distinguishing herself. When Jesus grew weary from His exhausting ministry, she quietly stood by Him. Mary Magdalene clung to Jesus even when He was flogged and hung on the cross. She could not get past the spears and the shields of the troops but Mary Magdalene never left Jesus' side. She could have easily been a target of persecution had she been captured by the angry crowds but Mary Magdalene was not afraid. Instead, if possible, she wanted to be crucified in Jesus' stead.
The same can be said of Ruth from the Old Testament. She did not look for a way to live comfortably by herself after abandoning her helpless mother-in-law. Despite all the troubles that were to come her way, in her love for her mother-in-law Ruth stayed with Naomi. When there is truth in one's heart, no circumstances could alter that truth. No affliction or agony could in any way alter love.
1 John 4:18 tells us, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." No matter what may come our way, there is no change of heart.
Have you ever complained or grumbled amidst your trials, "I cannot stand this. I can no longer do this. Must I go through even this?" and even said at least to yourself, "I want to take a break from this assignment. I'd like to be gone for a while." This is also far from the truth, a sign of a change of heart. When filled with the Spirit, you might have gone as far as to confess, "I will carry Your cross!" but, burdened by even the smallest of trials, you have had a change of heart. The love and passion some of you may have had for the Lord might have cooled, replaced by the worldly greed.
Please keep in mind that Our Lord desires of us an unwavering heart that is like gold, true, and does not change even after a thousand years.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, may each of you come forth as a blameless and spotless bride of the Lord by accomplishing a beautiful heart like that of Mary Magdalene, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray!


 

 

 
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