Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Spirit of Meekness (Meekness Study, Part 1)

Meekness.  This word is coupled with quietness in the Apostle Peter’s command to women.  In I Peter 3:4, God commands that we as women adorn ourselves with a “meek and quiet” spirit. But what precisely is this attitude that is to grace the life of the Christ-filled believer?  The Hebrew word meekness throughout the Old Testament might be defined as “mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit.”  Commentator Matthew Henry writes, “Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.” 
Coupled with the quiet spirit, a meek frame of mind illustrates the need for Christian women to tune their hearts to obedience.  It is the attitude with which we must submit to God and, since His plan is perfect, is likewise the spirit with which we are to obey our husbands.  Indeed, such an attitude yields its own rights, because it trusts that God, the Master Planner and Architect of our lives’ framework, will do right. 
The meek, while resting in our Lord’s awesome plan, cling to God’s promises and obediently yield to His way, confident that regardless of the bleak appearance of outward circumstances, His path is perfect.  Henry’s commentary states: “In the Old Testament, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend them against injustice.”  A catalog of names in the Hall of Faith beckons believers to behold those who did just that.  It’s called The Faith Chapter, Hebrews 11.  
Sometimes, in our 21st century mentality, the ideals embraced by those saints of old is lost, swallowed up by the millennia that separates us from their lives.  But faith, that metaphysical, intangible quality that everyone needs but few people have—is what helped the Ken Jordan family deal with the bleak tragedy of suddenly losing their 3-year-old daughter. 
“With the things that have happened in our lives, faith is an important subject to discuss,” Pastor Ken Jordan was saying on this particular August morning in 2004.  
After asking the congregation to turn to the great faith chapter Ken adjusted his tie and continued, “We need to live lives of faith.  We’re often impressed with men and women in the Bible who were people of faith.”  The small assembly was scattered about in pockets of 2s and 3s.  If this were Bible times, undoubtedly Ken and Heather Jordan would rank in that faith chapter as those who “believed and it was counted to them for righteousness.”
Three and a half weeks prior to our family’s visit, Ken and Heather Jordan’s 3-year-old daughter had, in a matter of hours, passed from this earth.  Inexplicable.  Unbelievable.  But it had happened, and they were trusting God that it was part of His plan—even though it felt as if a raw, gaping wound had been left in their hearts that would take years to heal.
“Faith is belief in something that is real.  But it’s more than that—it’s trust in a genuine, loving God.  Many today have no faith.  For them, the future is bleak.  As for me and my house,” Jordan said, “we’re building our lives on faith.”  Joy filled his tone as he stated through teary eyes, “This ‘hoped for’ is not wishful thinking.  It is a settled expectation.  More than wishful thinking, it’s knowing something will happen.” 
From her seat in the front row, Heather wiped her eyes.  The memory of their little one was still so fresh in her mind, so close to her heart.  But the eternal shaped their perspective, far more than any temporal experience.  And it was what they clung to.  What they anticipated.  What they believed in.
“One day when we stand before God,” Jordan was saying, “He will ask, ‘How many days have you lived without walking by faith?’ Will your life count for eternity, Friend?”  Jordan concluded by looking to the great cloud of witnesses and proclaiming: “Faith is our eyes set on heaven saying, ‘I don’t care what others think about me; I care about what God thinks of me.’”
That brand of faith is the essence of this aspect of meekness.  Today, Jordan and his wife continue in the ministry at a small Baptist church in Wisconsin.  To them, it’s a matter of faith.
Certainly Christ offers the perfect example of meekness.  Matthew 21:5 explains how Christ entered Jerusalem: “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”  Not a noble stallion—that will be later when he enters the world as Triumphal King—but a humble donkey was the means of transporting God the Son through the streets of Jerusalem that day.  They called Him the King of the Jews, but how noble did He appear to them, entering the city in such a manner? 
Consider also Moses, the meekest man: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3).  Moses certainly understood what it meant to depend upon God.  It was Moses that heard God utter the first of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and exemplified that primary mandate for the children of Israel by humbly submitting his will so frequently to the God he served as he led the complaining, griping, disobedient lot through the wilderness in a generally meek frame of mind.  It was Moses who spent forty days and forty nights without bread or water on the mount with God, receiving these commandments from the mouth of the Almighty. It was Moses who, upon returning from the mount, spent forty more days and nights without bread or water, entreating God for mercy upon the children of Israel.  Later, when he received the commandments a second time, he spent another forty days without food or water.  This is humility—trusting God for all needs and believing He will fill all desires.  Certainly Moses was of the number who are satisfied in the Lord, for “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” and “The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel” (Isa. 29:19). 
As we meditate upon Christ, our Example of Meekness and see in the lives of believers just what meekness looks like, may we be prompted to likewise live lives dominated by the Spirit of Meekness!

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