Saturday, March 7, 2009
The Power of Meekness
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Most people have the idea that meekness is weakness. We live in a world that worships power and rejects any evidence of weakness. Meekness is not weakness but power under the control of the Holy Spirit. Nobody could accuse Moses of being a weak, timid man; yet God identified him as the meekest man on the face of the earth. Jesus Christ was the most courageous man ever to walk among men, and yet He said “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). The book of Proverbs shows us the fruit of meekness. (Proverbs 16:32) “He that is slow to anger is better than he that takes a city.” That is power under control. (Proverbs 25:28) “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” That is power out of control. Aristotle said “anyone can become angry. That is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way-this is not easy.” What the great philosopher was talking about is meekness. When fire is under control it is our servant, but when fire is out of control, it becomes our master, and the result is destruction. So it is with anger. The Greek word translated meekness was used to describe a soothing medicine. The word was also used to describe a gentle breeze. It was used to describe a colt that had been broken. Medicine, wind, and a colt all have power in common. Power under control is meekness. First, the best way to understand meekness is to see it at work in the lives of people. A. Joseph is a vivid illustration of meekness. 1. He was mistreated by his brothers 2. He was sold as a slave and taken to Egypt. 3. He was lied about by his master’s wife. 4. He ended up in prison. B. One day Joseph was elevated to become the prime minister of Egypt. 1. He had the power to revenge himself on his Master’s wife but he did not do so. 2. Joseph could have punished his brothers when they showed up for food but he did not. 3. He had power over them but he kept his power under control. C. Meekness shows itself when we are right. D. Take the life of King David, note the meekness he displayed. 1. Saul stumbled into the cave where David was hiding and went to sleep. 2. David could have killed Saul but he didn’t. 3. Another episode recorded in II Samuel 16 tells of David’s son Absalom taking over the kingdom and forcing his father to flee into the wilderness. 4. During that difficult time, one of Saul’s men, Shimei, cursed David and threw stones at him. 5. David’s nephew, said to the king, “Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. David’s answer was “let him alone, and let him curse.” That is power under the control of the Holy Spirit. 6. Saul would have killed David had he caught him in the cave. The difference between Saul and David was that of power, for both had power. The difference is that David’s power was under control. 7. David used his authority to build up people; Saul used people to build up authority. E. The greatest example is our Lord Jesus Christ. 1. It took more power for Jesus to submit than for Peter to draw out his sword and fight. 2. Peter’s action was natural; what our Lord did was supernatural. 3. The Lord Jesus Christ exercised power under control. He could have summoned legions of angels, but instead he “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross’ (Philippians 2:8). Second, how can we tell if we are meek? A. The simplest answer is a question: are we exercising self-control? Is our power under the control of the Holy Spirit? We have physical power, mental power, emotional power, and spiritual power. Are we keeping all of this power under control? 1. The best test of meekness is found in the word attitude. a. What is our attitude toward the circumstances of life? b. How do we respond to difficulties of life? c. Far too many people react by fretting. d. The meek man centers his attention and affection on the Lord, not on himself or his adversary. When we find ourselves fretting because of people or circumstances, we have lost our meekness. B. Another test of meekness is what is my attitude toward God’s Word? 1. When Samuel gave Saul God’s message, the King argued with it and tried to excuse himself. a. He blamed the people. b. He even blamed Samuel. 2. Later God gave Saul another chance. a. Instead of slaying the enemy as he was commanded, he kept the best for himself. b. Then he blamed the people. c. Saul was not a meek man; he refused to submit to the Word of God. 3. David was a meek man. a. David’s chaplain Nathan took his life in his hands when he confronted the king with his sin. b. Nathan said “thou art the man and David received God’s word without arguing, making excuses, or defending himself. He was a man after God’s own heart. C. A third test of meekness is what is my attitude toward a brother who sins? 1. Do I receive the news gleefully and start to spread it? 2. Am I pleased that he has sinned, because his fall makes my walk look better (Galatians 6:1)? 3. When a Christian brother had fallen into sin, we have the power to hurt him; but meekness is power under control. I also have the power to help him. 4. Shimei threw stones at David when David was at his weakest physically and politically; yet David proved himself to be the stronger man spiritually. Later when David’s throne was restored, Shimei came to beg forgiveness and David forgave him. 5. The word restore means to set a broken born. A broken bone is a painful thing, and the setting of it can be an even more painful experience than the breaking of it. D. A fourth test of meekness is my attitude toward division in the Church. 1. The Christian who exercises meekness is not interested in taking sides; he is interested in ‘being diligent to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” 2. He follows the example of Abraham who said “let there be no strife I pray thee, between me and thee…for we are brethren (Genesis 13:8). Third, how can the believer cultivate this grace of meekness? A. Meekness is not something we manufacture it is the fruit of the Spirit. 1. Moses “the meekest man on earth", became angry and killed an enemy. 2. It was in the school of hard knocks that Moses learned to be meek. 3. Saul never learned meekness, he used an excuse. Billy Sunday said “an excuse is the skin of reason stuffed with a lie.” 4. David profited from the trails of life and in spite of his failures learned to be meek. David said of God “Thy gentleness hath made me great,” 5. Saul of the Old Testament never learned meekness but Saul in the New Testament did. God said to Paul it is hard for you to kick against the goads. Suggesting that Saul was like a wild animal that had never been broken. But God broke him, and there came into his life a spirit of meekness. From the World’s point of view, meekness is the first step toward failure. The answer is to submit to God, let Him be in control. To inherit the earth means to reign as king over yourself and your circumstances through the power of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.