Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV)
The Spirit of Tenderness 4/6/14
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2 KJV)
This verse speaks about Jesus, written about 700 years before His birth. The words "grow up" means to rise up or to ascend.
We as a church are growing - how we grow is as important as growing in itself. Jesus Himself had to go through a process of growth. We too have to go through a process of growth; we cannot become spiritual giant over night. To grow means to rise up, to ascend, to climb up. The Bible speaks about how Jesus grew from Mary's boy-child to the Son of Man. the process of growth was as a tender plant. The word tender in this verse means with full of inward love, the imagery is of a nursing child. If the nursing baby is unable to be tender and is rough, the baby will not be able to grow up in the fulness it was intended to.
You can't grow up as a rough, wicked Christian that is like a rose with thorns. You need to have tenderness in three areas:
Tenderness in relation to the Word of God
Tenderness in relation to the Spirit of God
Tenderness in relation to people
1. Tenderness in relation to the word of God
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (1 Peter 2:2 KJV)
You must grow DESIRING the sincere milk of the Word. The moment a baby cries you know that he/she is desiring milk. But the moment you find a Christian crying, it is because they have a need in their lives, not because they are seeking the sincere milk of the word. If you want to grow, you have to start as a baby. You have to come back to base. Unless you sit like a little child and listen to the Word, you will not grow. You have to receive the word in tenderness without stubbornness.
A mother's milk has no added substance to it. The content is pure without additives. You need to desire this type of sincere milk which needs to be absorbed with tenderness. Be tender so that you don't bite your teachers, when you are tender you are not difficult to teach.
The opposite of a tender heart is a stony heart:
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. (Mark 4:16, 17 KJV)
Another type of heart without tenderness is a heart that is like a cactus:
And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. (Mark 4:18, 19 KJV)
If you have a stony or thorny heart, you need to replace it with a tender heart so that you can receive the milk of the Word and grow.
2. Tenderness in relation to the Spirit of God
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (Matthew 3:16 KJV)
The Holy Spirit descended like a dove, lighting upon Him. God lights on people he delights. If you want the manifest presence of God to light your life, you have to have tenderness. The Spirit delights in a tender heart. For everything you need, you don't have to pray for - a lifestyle of tenderness attracts the Holy Spirit.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:30-32 KJV)
We grieve the Holy Spirit through bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking. These are the opposite of a tender heart. As you grow in Christ in tenderness, these things no longer fit in with your life. Put away things that grieve the Holy Spirit so that you will grow like a tender part.
3. Tenderness in relation to people
In your Christian life if you cannot master your relationships with people, it will affect your relationship with God. People have a lot to do with our connection with God. It's easy to worship and sing praise to God when people aren't around.
Moses spent 40 days alone on the mountain with God. But when he came down from the mountain, he had to face his people who had built a holy cow (golden calf) to worship. His attitude towards his people affected his relationship with God:
And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? (Numbers 11:11, 12 KJV)
In life we will meet a lot of difficult people. We must treat them with tenderness.
He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; (Deuteronomy 32:13 KJV)
A rock is a hard place- it is the picture of a hardened person. Your tenderness in relation to people has to be like bringing honey out of a rock. If you are tender, you can soften the hardest person. If you are tender hearted, you can bring goodness out of the hardest people.
Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. (Genesis 29:17 KJV)
Leah and Rachel were sisters but worlds apart. Leah was tender while Rachel was more beautiful and favored. Rachel was loved more by Jacob but Leah in her rejection had a tender heart. If you carry the character of Leah the tables will be reversed for you. Leah was the one that God blessed - she was part of the lineage of Christ. God chose to favor the tender hearted.