Thursday, May 09, 2013

Meekness that Gains the Victory

The Lord calls us to be gentle or as our text calls this characteristic, meek.
There are two definitions of meek. The first one here is the one we are driving at.
1. Showing patience and humility; gentle.

It is easy to see from this definition how the fruits of the Spirit that we have been studying overlap a great deal. One who is gentle is one who is patient and humble. Gentleness is simply another side of humility and it is necessary to be humble in order to be gentle. An aspect of this sort of humility is a willingness to please others. We must keep in mind, though, the list of the fruit of the Spirit. A man who is meek in the right way is not a doormat.

Look at the second definition of meek.

2. Easily imposed on; submissive. overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.

One who is meek is amenable. He is willing to listen to others, to empathize, and to seek to be at peace. A gentle man does not do this by imposing his will on others. The characteristic of imposing one’s will on others is in contrast to the gentleman or to the one who is meek.  However, a meek man ought not to be a weak man. We are not talking about a craven man or a coward. A man can be meek and be very principled. In fact, the right kind of meekness requires a commitment to principles. A man who is meek in a godly way is willing to let God be right instead of having to assert his own rights. This means that he is willing for others to win the moment, or win the day because he knows that God will vindicate the righteous.
This fact enables the strong man to be meek. He may have the authority, the will or the personality to impose his will but he is unwilling to use that authority and power because he leaves that sort of thing up to the Lord in the Lord’s timing. The Bible says, Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay. And a godly gentle man believes this to be actually true and is willing to be patient with others and let the Lord sort out the circumstances and results.
So, while a meek man may look like a weak man, he is actually choosing to rest in the Lord’s strength rather than his own. At times this can look like a failure to act when it is actually a choice to act in a gentle or meek way.
One of the catch phrases that I have used is 'being comfortable in your own skin'. What I mean by this is having some idea of who you are in Christ and then being content with that and content with Jesus. I believe that this is a mark of maturity. This can be true of who you are as a homeschooler, who you are as husband, who you are as a wife, who  you are as a parent of 2, or 7 or 10 children. If you own who you are, then you are almost impossible to offend. And if you are impossible to offend, then you are seldom on the defensive. And if you are not on the defensive, then you are able to be humble and gentle with others.
This seems somewhat counterintuitive. We often think that those people who go around trying to straighten everyone else out think they are right about everything and need to impose their will on others. It is true that they think they are right but I would argue that they are still trying to convince themselves by brow beating everyone else. If you are comfortable in your own skin, that is, if you are resting in the Lord’s provision in these things and at peace about them, then you no longer feel compelled to win every argument. Your true confidence gives you a peaceful demeanor rather than an argumentative spirit. If you really are not at peace with God or yourself, then you are going to continue to try to justify your thoughts and actions by proving to everyone else in arguments that you really are right.
The Bible calls us mature Christians to a higher standard. Be meek. Be gentle. Speak the truth in love but do not call down fire from heaven on everyone that disagrees with you. When you do this, you do not know what spirit you are of. But Jesus made it clear that it is not the Holy Spirit.
What does this look like in practical terms? The main thing I want us to get is that a meek spirit is one of peace. We should be a people of steadfast convictions. God has revealed His truth to us in His Word and we can stand on those truths as the solid foundation of who we are and what we know to be true.  And if that is true, then nothing that others do or say can change the truth.
We should be willing to defend the faith, defend the name of Christ and stand firm in Jesus until the end, even unto death. But we do this with declared truths. Jesus is Lord. He is risen. The Bible is the Word of God. We do not have to do this with multiple proofs in the face of steadfast opposition. That is, we live in a godly and winsome way but when the words turn to strife, division and arguments, we do not ratchet up the argument by yelling louder. We simply stand on the truths that we have declared.  This is, in fact, a stronger position than getting in endless shouting matches that never prove what we are trying to declare. It is our declared and lived faith that overcomes the world.

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