The newly promoted colonel was settling into his makeshift field office. It was the height of the Gulf War. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed a young private marching toward him, toolbox in hand. Pride, like a giant ocean swell, welled up in the colonel’s heart. In an instant he spun around, picked up his phone and with all the authority he could muster barked, “Yes, General Schwarzkopf, yes, yes, of course, I think that’s an excellent plan. You’ve got my support on it. Thanks for checking with me. Let’s touch base again soon. Goodbye Norm.”
The superior officer cradled the phone, turned toward the soldier and with feigned authority said, “And what can I do for you?” The young private replied, “Ahhhh, I’m just here to hook up your phone.”
There are those in life who have power and want to show it. Like the colonel they are the “Big Dog” and they want you to know it. Step out of line and they are quick to bark. Threaten their turf and they will stand their ground, teeth bared, hair on end, with menacing growl in their throat.
Not all Big Dogs bark! Moses served in the army of God. He was a five star general. He was the Big Dog with a little ego. The Old Testament describes him as “a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3 NIV). What set Moses apart was a fruit of the Spirit called gentleness. Gentleness is power under control. It is pride on a leash.
The gentle person corrects with sensitivity, not an air of superiority. The gentle person witnesses with confidence, not cockiness! The gentle person wins with her character, not her words. The gentle person accepts correction when he would rather fight it. The gentle person forgives when she would rather retaliate.
Moses was in charge! Moses was in control! Moses called the shots! Moses was the “Big Dog” but he didn’t have to bark. His pride was on a leash; his power was under control. Sounds a lot like Jesus:
Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3,5-8 NLT)
When the BIG DOG within wants to bark or bite, I must remember that Jesus did not cling to his rights. I must yield my pride to the gentle tug of the Spirit’s tether. Gentleness is pride on a leash. True power is power under control.
FOCAL POINT: Today, be on the lookout for dogs – real or in pictures. When you see one, make it your reminder to tie the Big Dog of pride to the leash of God’s Spirit. Ask God to grow the fruit of gentleness in your life.
Copyright © 2009 Tommy Kiedis