Meekness? Who wants that?

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The word meek is not a word that is en vogue today.  Most people don’t know what it means and if they did know what it meant they still wouldn’t be interested in any attempt at being meek.  For the Christian this is an exceptional word and one of the biggest evidences of saving faith we have.  It is so important that Jesus used this in His teaching on the Sermon on the Mount.  It is one of the first qualities that enters into the life of a believer after salvation.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  – Matthew 5:5

Whatever comes to your mind when you think about meekness is probably not what it actually means and the most important thing to understand is that meekness is not weakness.  It does not mean mousy, or shy.  It does not mean cowardly or withdrawn.  It does not indicate a lack of desire to engage people.  Actually quite the opposite.

πραΰς praÿs, apparently a primary word; mild, i.e. (by implication) humble:—meek.

“The term sometimes was used to describe a soothing medicine or a soft breeze.  It was used of colts and other animals whose naturally wild spirits were broken by a trainer so that they could do useful work.” – MacArthur New Testament Commentaries

This is not an admirable quality by an unbelieving world.  In this world we are expected to be aggressive, assertive and take charge kind of men or women.  The only way to get ahead is to attack.  But here Jesus says, “No!”  Be mild, be humble, be meek.

Matthew 11:29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle (meek) and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Meekness comes from a lowly heart.  A low moral opinion of oneself.  Not thinking too highly of yourself.  This is the exact opposite of what the world desires in a person.  This is the exact opposite of what we want in ourselves.  We want to be noticed.  We want to be acknowledged for our greatness and our accomplishments.  We desire our fair share of notoriety.

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  – Ephesians 4:1-3

I don’t know about you but that is not easy is it?  I mean is that natural for you because it’s not for me…  There is only one way to meekness and that is through the power of the Spirit.

There is also another side to meekness.  Which does not appear weak.  It is a level of boldness that comes through the empowerment of the Spirit as well.  Jesus was lowly and gentle and Jesus was bold.  Jesus was confrontational.  Jesus was sarcastic and sometimes seemingly rude.  Jesus is our perfect model and left us a perfect example to follow.

John MacArthur in his commentary says this:

“Meekness does not connote weakness.  The word was used in much extrabiblical literature to refer to the breaking of an animal.  Meekness means power put under control.  A person without meekness is “like a city that is broke into and without walls” (Prov. 25:28).  “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Prov. 16:32).  An unbroken colt is useless; medicine that is too strong will harm rather than cure; a wind out of control destroys.  Emotion out of control also destroys, and has no place in God’s kingdom.  Meekness uses its resources appropriately.”  (MacArthur New Testament Commentaries)

Meekness is an essential quality for the Christian.  It doesn’t come naturally and it doesn’t come easily.  It is imparted to the believer in regeneration but it is a skill that requires refinement.  It is a way to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  We need to develop the qualities that God says He gives us in salvation to bring Him glory.  Let him who stole no longer steal… (Ephesians 4:28)  It is an evidence of saving faith that should grow as the believer grows in holiness.

Put off the old man that grows corrupt and put on the new man, be renewed in the spirit of your mind…  Ephesians 4:22-24

When we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, we develop meekness and are submissive to the call to proclaim His name.  This often takes us to places that require boldness.  It demands a level of confrontation that many are uncomfortable with.  The Christian and the unbeliever can be uncomfortable.  The Lord demands it and it is indicative of saving faith.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  – Matthew 5:11

Most won’t sign up for this.  Most that profess Christ won’t desire persecution.  They won’t seek this type of meekness.   This is hard.  This is narrow and restrictive, this is often viewed as judgmental.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with Jesus. – Acts 4:13

Can this be said of you?  Can this be said of me?

Will you be accused of being meek and there be enough evidence to convict you?   May the Lord grow us in His grace to be meek and to be bold that His name might receive the glory for which we were saved.

 

Kevin

What’s on your mind?

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Philippians 3:17-20 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.  For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things.  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul begins this section of his letter to the Philippians addressing them as “Brethren”, fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He quickly makes a distinction between two types of people.  There are those that follow his example and then there are those that don’t.

This is very challenging.  It comes down to the simple fact there are those that will be saved and there are those that won’t.  No second chances…  No Purgatory…  We live once and we die once and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27, 4:13).

This makes it very clear what we are to look for as believers.  We look for those that follow Paul’s example.  He gives us a pattern, a way to live.  We are to live like Paul.  The Bible is to be our guide book.  It gives us everything necessary for life and godly living.  In addition we are to follow the example of those more mature believers and church leaders that set an example (Hebrews 13:17).

Today I want to focus on the second half of this verse.

This past week I had a wonderful text message conversation with a man that is struggling with sin.  He’s claimed that Jesus Christ is his savior.  I’ve asked him and challenged him if Jesus is his Lord?

Paul is telling us that we are to note those that follow their own ways.  They are enemies of the cross.  It doesn’t mean I won’t preach the gospel to this man.   He doesn’t even realize he’s an enemy, but he is living in a self destructive manner.  His “god” is his belly.  He wants to fill himself up with the things that won’t last eternally.

“For a tiny drop of pleasure he’s willing to drink a sea of wrath” – Thomas Watson.

So, “what’s on your mind?”

Are the things of God on your mind or the things of the world?  Here Paul is giving us a way to examine ourselves; to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Is your “christianity” on auto-pilot?  Do you show up to church on a Sunday morning and go through the motions or are you out working for God’s kingdom?  Have you considered why you were saved?

My friend is living a disobedient lifestyle, but yet wants to claim the privileges of being a child of the King.  I know he doesn’t like the problems that his sin causes him, but at this point in time he seems to be unwilling to come to grips with how offensive this is to God.  He doesn’t understand that rebellion is a heinous offense.

His sin will be paid for.  The big question is who will pay for it?  Will it be Christ at the cross or will he have to pay for it himself?

1 Samuel 15:22-23  So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices.  As in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.  And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”

I’m hopeful my friend will see that his sin is separating him from a Holy God and that he will understand the cost.  I’m hopeful he will see that obeying God is the proof text of salvation and what’s on his mind will confirm or deny his claims.  I’m hopeful his end won’t be destruction.

Kevin

Do you bow your knees?

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Ephesians 3:14-16 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man…

When’s the last time you bowed your knees to the Lord Jesus Christ?

Is this a spiritual discipline worthy of pursuit?

Is it a requirement for growth?

This is the question that I was faced with recently and something I found myself desiring to rebel against.  I can pray lying in my bed, I can pray driving to work, I can pray doing anything, in fact I’m to pray without ceasing and I can do that almost anywhere and anytime.  Yes, that is true right?

But what is it about humbling yourself and actually climbing out of bed to get down on your knees and seek God in prayer that really focuses your attention?  I agree that it’s not a requirement; we have lots of scriptural examples.  However I want to say this plainly, it should be a regular part of your spiritual life and I mean often.  Why?

Well Paul is telling us why.  “For this reason” is the answer.  That “He” would grant you according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened.  It’s so obvious and it’s so simple that we can easily miss it.  Who doesn’t want to be strengthened in their Christian walk?  Of course we want that but what we really want is for God just to zap us and we be strengthened.  That would be a lot easier.

That’s the problem.  We always want the easy way out.  I don’t want to work at this, it would be really nice if God just took that away from me or if He just gave this to me.  That’s what it really comes down to lack of discipline and spiritual strength.  A lack of “working out your salvation” with what?  Fear and trembling says Paul.

If you would like something from God, according to His will, try spending the next 30 days on your knees each morning right when you get out of bed, seeking Him diligently with fear and trembling, on your knees, in humility.  Today I testify to you that you will have a more peace and strength than you would have ever imagined.

The truths that I know best I have learned on my knees. I never know a thing well, till it is burned into my heart by prayer. —John Bunyan

Kevin