Monday, September 30, 2013

You Want to But You Shouldn't


But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  James 1:14-15  





God, the Holy Spirit and self-control go hand in hand.  God desires us, just as He is, to be temperate in all things.  I am reminded of an account in the bible when God's anger was kindled against the children of Israel but yet He tempered it.  

And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:  They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:  Now therefore let me alone , that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.  (Exodus 32:7-10)  

How many times have we had situations that caused us to 'see red' and act out of character or lash out in anger before we have clearly thought through the issue?

 Apostle Paul made a significant statement about the importance of self-control:

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  II Timothy 1:6-7

According to Strong's Concordance, the final word of verse 7 is a noun meaning "discipline" or "self-control." Most modern translations render it as "self-control," but "sensible," "sobriety," "self-discipline," "self-restraint," "wise discretion" and "sound judgment" are also used.

Self-control, in its widest sense, is mastery over our passions. It is the virtue that holds our appetites in check, controlling our rational will or regulating our conduct without being duly swayed by sensuous desires.   Lust, greed, gluttony, alcoholism, conceit, sexual sins, gossiping, violent quarreling and false and reckless speech are just a few of the many sins that Satan can tempt us to commit if we allow him.  

Self-restraint and obedience to God's law is realized in outgoing concern for others that exceeds and rules over our own self-interest. Even lawful acts may on occasion cause other brethren to stumble or be made weak. Self-control provides the ability to resist what may cause pain to others. Thus, we exercise self-control for others, as well as for ourselves.   Apostle Paul worked hard on self-discipline. As a minister he had to discipline his body and bring it into subjection, or his credibility and effectiveness would have been severely affected. He could discuss self-control with Felix, the Roman procurator, partly because of his own self-mastery.

And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance , and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. (Acts 24:25)

A lack of self-control shows shortsightedness because its damage is long lasting, affecting our future both physically and spiritually.  If self-control seems impossible, we must change the circumstances to avoid the temptation. For example, Apostle Paul instructs single people and young widows to marry if they cannot control their sexual urges.  Though caution is advised here that you seek God for a companion rather that just grabbing up anyone in order to satiate sexual desires.  Jesus lived a life of self-control, mastering potentially lustful and destructive thoughts and actions. He had to overcome the human tendencies just as we do—resisting temptation and submitting to God's law.

Self-control is the manifestation of God's work in man through the Holy Spirit. Apostle Paul elaborated in His teaching on self-control that Christian self-control results from the Holy Spirit's indwelling. It is the Spirit-controlled mind that is strengthened with power to control rebellious desires and to resist the allurements of tempting pleasures.

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  (Ephesians 3:16)
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  (Ephesians 5:18)

God gives His Spirit to us to begin the spiritual creation that will bring us into His very image. Here, Paul ranks self-control right beside seemingly more "important" attributes of our Creator, such as courage, power and love. Remember, however, that the "fruit" of God's Spirit is written in the singular; it is one fruit, a balanced package needed to make a son of God whole.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23) 

These verses tell us what kind of men God is creating. Men of courage, power, and love—and men who are self-governing, sensible, sober, restrained and disciplined in their manner of life. These qualities are products of God's Spirit in us.

Apostle Paul adds more to this concept of self-control:  

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.   (
Titus 2:11-14)


(Biblical Studies)

12/08/14

10/12/15
11/07/16

Your Reasonable Service



I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a LIVING SACRIFICE, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  (Romans 12:1a)





On the surface, being a Christian appears easy to do, in as much as a Christian is basically a person that trusts in Jesus Christ. No one is more worthy of our trust, and He is fully able to bring us into the Kingdom of God. But this is a mere surface observation. The truth is that being a Christian can be very difficult because the real Christian is one who, because he trusts Christ, must set his heel upon human nature within him and subject the appetites of his flesh and the desires of his mind to the aim of pleasing God.  No wishy-washy, irresolute, vacillating, lukewarm, disorderly and unrestrained Christian will please his Master and glorify our Father.

Sacrifice requires the surrender of our life and thus control of it. What impressions we allow to be made upon our senses, the indulgences we grant our appetites, the satisfactions we seek for our needs, and the activities we engage in through this fearfully and wonderfully made instrument must now be controlled according to God's standards.  Apostle Paul writes, 


"He who sows to his flesh will . . . reap corruption" (Galatians 6:8)


as well as


"I discipline my body and bring it into subjection" (I Corinthians 9:27).

When viewed carnally, self-control—especially when linked with self-denial and self-sacrifice—seems to be essentially negative. However, when confronted with a true understanding of what human nature produces, we can see that the fruit of self-control is entirely positive.

The Apostle Paul strongly exhorts us to self-control:  

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.  I Corinthians 9:24-27

Apostle Paul uses runners in the Grecian games as examples of how we are to live as Christians. The first thing to notice is the utmost tension, energy and strenuous effort pictured by athletes straining for the finish line in hope of the glory of winning. "This is the way to run," says Paul, "if we want to attain our potential."  This requires steady, intense concentration, of focus, by the runners. They cannot afford to become distracted by things off to the side of their course. If they do, their effectiveness in running will surely diminish. Keeping focused requires control—not allowing distractions to interfere with the responsibility at hand. 

Jesus says:  "


Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness"  (Matthew 6:33). 

Here, the issue is single-mindedness. James writes, 


"He who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. . . . 

He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:6, 8). 

Controlling our focus can go a long way toward making the run successful.  Apostle 
Paul then says the victorious runner sets Christians an example of rigid self-control: 

"Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things." (1 Corinthians 9:25)


It is not only a matter of concentrating while he is racing, but in all areas of life because his whole life impacts on the race. The runner religiously follows a rigorous program within a rigid schedule each day: He rises at a certain hour, eats a breakfast of certain foods, fills his morning with exercises and works on his technique. After a planned lunch, he continues training, eats a third planned meal and goes to bed at a specified hour. Throughout, he not only avoids sensuous indulgences, he must also abstain from many perfectly legitimate things that simply do not fit into his program. An athlete who is serious about excelling in his chosen sport must live this way, or he will not succeed except against inferior competitors. He will suffer defeat by those who do follow them.

We can learn a great deal here about self-indulgence and self-control. It is not enough for us to say, "I draw the line there, at this or that vice, and I will have nothing to do with these." We will have a very difficult time growing under such an approach, as Apostle Paul relates:  

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  (Hebrews 12:1)

Many things that are not sinful are "weights" simply because they are so time and mind-consuming. Because we do not want to fail in accomplishing the highest purposes for which we were called, we must run light to endure the length of our course successfully.

Jesus says: 

Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it"  (Matthew 7:14) 


Apostle Paul writes: 


"You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier"  (II Timothy 2:3-4)

The Christian is exhorted to control himself and run to win.  In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul illustrates self-control in its positive aspects by showing what it produces along the way and—most importantly—in the end. Jesus makes it clear in Revelation 2 and 3 that the overcomers (conquerors, victors) will go into the Kingdom of God.

Self-control plays a major role in bringing victory through our trusting relationship with Jesus Christ. A noted commentator, wrote, "There are few things more lacking in the average Christian life of today than resolute, conscious concentration upon an aim which is clearly and always before us."

Self-control is not the only factor we need to do this, but it is a very necessary one. Its fruit, good beyond measure, is worth every effort and sacrifice we must make.

Apostle Paul comes at this issue from a somewhat different angle, one that comes into play in the individual choices we make during the course of a day:  

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Romans 12:1-2)


By this, Apostle Paul demonstrates that Christian living is inseparably bound to belief in God's truth. Faith without works is dead, and works without the correct belief system is vanity. Wrong thinking cannot lead to right doing.   Thus, outwardly and inwardly he will be on his way toward God's will for human conduct. All the virtues produced from this change will begin to grow and manifest themselves in his life.


(Biblical Studies)

12/05/14

10/14/15
11/05/16

Mastery Over Self

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. I Corinthians 9:24-27 


Temperance is the ninth and last of the fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. Though it is listed last, there can be no doubt about its importance to Christian living. Can a Christian be uncontrolled in his manner of life and still be a Christian? Hardly! Sons of God, as exemplified by Jesus Christ and the apostles, are models of lives controlled under the guiding hand of God without relinquishing their free moral agency.

Temperance is moderation in emotions, thoughts, and actions. It is self-control. Temperance is mastery in all things:  

But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)

We are told to add temperance to our lives:  

And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 2 Peter 1:6)

The word temperance refers to the mastery of one's desires and impulses, and does not
in itself refer to the control of any specific desire or impulse. 

Self-control is comprehensive in practical application to life, but the Bible does not use the word extensively. It is implied, however, in many exhortations to obedience, submission and sinless living. 

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
(I Corinthians 7:9 

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (I Corinthians 9:25)

But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; (Titus 1:8)

Temperance is translated "without self-control [incontinent, KJV], "self-indulgent [excess, KJV]", [incontinency, KJV] and "lack of self-control ."


Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.   (II Timothy 3:3)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. (Matthew 23:25)

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
 1 Corinthians 7:5

Despite self-control's obvious importance, we should not limit our understanding of these words to merely the stringent discipline of the individual's passions and appetites. These words also include the notions of having good sense, sober wisdom, moderation and soundness of mind as contrasted to insanity.

A good example of good self-control is found in this scripture:   

"Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls."
  (Proverbs 25:28)

In its comments on this verse, the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible states:  The picture is that of a city whose walls have been so nearly destroyed as to be without defense against an enemy; so is the man who has no restraint over his spirit, the source of man's passionate energies. He has no defense against anger, lust, and the other unbridled emotions that destroy the personality.

Positive attributes of temperance is shown in this scripture:  

"He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city."
  (Proverbs 16:3)

Here King Solomon uses an entirely different word for "rule," but the sense of self-control remains. A comparison of the two proverbs reveals the great importance of self-control as both an offensive and defensive attribute.

Undoubtedly, self-denial, self-sacrifice and self-control are inextricably linked in Christian life; each is part of our duty to God. Yet human nature exerts a persistent and sometimes very strong force away from God

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  Galatians 5:17

"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." It is this force that each Christian must overcome. (Romans 8:7)

Controlling ourselves, denying human nature its impulse to satisfy its desire, and even sacrificing ourselves are necessary if we are to stop sinning as a way of life. When we add the concepts of self-denial and self-sacrifice to our understanding of self-control, we can see more easily how large a role self-control plays in the Bible.

Have you ever lamented the fact that this world seems out of control? Partly because of rapid transportation and communication, events seem to occur so rapidly that they tumble one upon another. In our minds we are carried furiously along in their current, unable to conclude one event before another hammers away at us for attention.

Events are not really out of control because God is still on His throne. Apostle Paul teaches us:

"And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation."
 (Acts 17:26)

Job states:  


He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless wilderness. They grope in the dark without light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man.
(Job 12:23-25)

Does a drunken man exhibit much control? No, but in this example, God is maneuvering events and men are powerless, though they try to turn aside His plans.

We are privileged to live when events—far beyond our control and of vast importance to the outworking of God's purpose—are being maneuvered into position. Most assuredly, God is deeply involved. His dominion is over all creation, but for the present time He has allowed Satan and his demons, the principalities and powers of this age, to rule over earth:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
 (Ephesians 6:12)

As we near Christ's return, Satan has designed ways of life that are fast-paced, spiced by a complicated array of sense-appealing entertainments, fashions and gadgets, and filled with a confusing mix of educational, economic, religious and political systems. These lifestyles are in a constant whirl and lived on the edge of disaster. No one has time any more to meditate on how to gain control over his life.

Are we also allowing ourselves to be swept along on the crest of this surging tide of worldliness? Perhaps this is why Satan has created such a system.

We will never control some things. We cannot stop the tides from going in or out. As much as some would like, we cannot control the weather so that it will not rain on our parade. We must admit that there is far more over which we exercise no control than that which we do. God does not require that we try to control what is beyond us or that we fret because they are beyond us. Some things in life we must learn to accept peacefully, yield to and work our way through. Otherwise, we could find ourselves "beating our heads against a wall" and driving ourselves into the psychological imbalance of always seeing ourselves as victims.

It is sometimes surprising how little control we have over other people—even in our families, our own flesh-and-blood children we have reared from birth. Parents are often shocked by their children's behavior, especially of their teenagers, whom they thought they had trained well. Many parents have discovered that merely telling their children what they can or cannot do—accompanied by warnings of dire punishment—is not enough to control their behavior when the children find themselves under the pressure of a situation.

Perhaps the supreme irony is when we realize how little control we exercise over ourselves. We find ourselves enslaved, even addicted, to habits created and engraved on our character over years of practice. This discovery can be a devastating, humbling blow to the ego. It often occurs after an intense study of Almighty God's standard of thinking, speaking and behaving in contrast to the fashion of the world we have willingly and, in many cases, thoughtlessly followed.

Once, there was no fear of God before our eyes, but when He begins to come into focus in our mind's eye, and we care what He thinks about us, then we begin to be concerned about controlling ourselves.

When we acknowledge God, we are far less prone to give in to our desires and impulses:


Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  (Proverbs 3:5-6)


(Biblical Studies)

04/08/15
06/18/16

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pray, Don't Faint






And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  II Corinthians 12:9-10








The word of God tells us that we are to be persistent and diligent in our faith in God. From a parable that Jesus gave regarding the unjust judge, Luke came to the conclusion that men ought always to pray and not faint.

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Luke 18:1

Luke came to this conclusion after hearing of how a widow was persistent in her request to a judge to avenge her of a wrong done to her. How often in the midst of our bad times do we pray to God to deliver us and then become discouraged when it does not happen in the time or the way we envision it should happen? We give up, walk away, become discouraged and faint in our spirit. We lose sight of the fact that God has a plan for our life that supersedes our thinking.


For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

Luke speaks of being diligent in our prayer and not giving up.  Apostle Paul also speaks to us of not wavering:

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

We never know what adversities, what ungodly influences, what obstacles or unfortunate situations are coming our way but by our faith and confidence in God we should be able, like King David, to say, 'the Lord is my strong tower in whom I will trust'.

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalms 18:2

Peter tells us that a life for Christ involves suffering for His namesake:

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
1 Peter 4:1

Obstacles; ungodly influences come for a reason:

That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 1 Peter 4:2

There are times when we are quick to blame the enemy for our difficult times, but that is not always the case; we give the enemy more credit that he is due.  Sometimes trials or difficult situations come to prove us; to make us stronger.  That is one reason why it is so necessary to not only know what God says through His written word, but to have our prayer life built up.  Take your prayer to the necessary level; ask, seek, or knock; just don't give up. We may not understand what it is that God is working out of us or into us in our situation; how He is moving on our behalf. That is why it takes steadfast diligence. In the parable (Luke 18:1-8) the widow was persistent until the unrighteous judge honored her request. How much more do you think our righteous God will do for us?


And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  Luke 18:7

Apostle Paul had a situation in which he, on his own, could not resolve. The bible does not tell us what his 'thorn' was. The most it tells us is that it was a "thorn in the flesh; the messenger of Satan to buffet me." So then, all we can do is surmise about the specifics of the thorn and for that matter who or what the 'messenger' was.

Unfortunately, many people take verse 9 and make it a 'sell out' excuse to sin as if Apostle Paul was our Lord and Savior and not Jesus Christ who came to save us from our sin, to release us from the bondage of sin and to break EVERY yoke that so easily ensnares us.

Apostle Paul said to be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage [sin]:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free , and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Galations 5:1

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:1

Apostle Paul also tells us to not be conformed to this world but rather to be transformed by the renewing of our mind:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:2

He went on to say that some things [some sins] should not even be named among us:

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Ephesians 5:3

We remember and talk about verse 9 of 2 Corinthians 12 when what we ought to be doing is rejoicing in verse 10 that Paul was able to overcome.

Learning to walk with Christ and be Christ-like is a process for sure and no doubt, some things are not as easy to shake or drop as we would like but, when we get to that point where Paul got to when he made the declaration:

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake," For when I am weak, then I am strong
2 Corinthians 12:10

 - we understand that his faith in God had taken him to a place where his tests and trials no longer bothered (or 'buffeted' as he said) him. He could now face his 'thorn' with full confidence that God's grace was sufficient to keep him! But, he prayed for deliverance, for God to intervene on his behalf. God did not intervene in the way that he expected but God let Paul know that His grace was sufficient to keep Him.

You can know, through verse 10, within your heart that through God's grace (his unmerited favor), you are able to stand strong in the face of your adversary or situation; that you are not moved or swayed by whatever is buffeting you. That thing that buffeted Apostle Paul, that 'thorn in his flesh', that 'messenger of Satan' caused Apostle Paul to go before God. Through the grace of God, he was delivered! That's why he could boastingly say,

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:10

What started off as a test was no longer a test; he could laugh in the face of his thorn! Paul had peace and joy in the midst of his thorn. What a wonderful place to be in God! What a wonderful affirmation of the presence of God in your life and what a compliment to God that our faith in Him sustains us and that we have joy and peace in God despite all. What a glorious way to exalt His name!

Sometimes, God will get you to a place where there is nothing you can do but rely on Him and His grace so that when you come out, like Apostle Paul, you will be able to say, 'Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake.' - knowing that the Glory that God gets from your victory is going to be a blessing to you! It helps me to know that the plans that God has for me are plans of good and that no matter what my situation is, I have to trust that all things will work toward for the good that God has preordained for my life.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

We may not always understand everything that comes against us, but one thing we should know and understand is that God knows and He is in complete control!

Prayer is key!


(Biblical Studies)

04/07/15

06/17/16

Meekness in Good Conduct



This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.'   So Aaron held his peace. 
(Leviticus 10:3)








Meekness is the fruit of God by His Spirit working in us. Godly sorrow softens our stiff-necked rebellion and our hearts so that we are made receptive to the workings of the Creator to produce His image in us. Therefore meekness also includes our becoming pliable, malleable, submissive and teachable. A New Testament term for this condition might be "childlike."

Meekness is the by-product of a number of elements, not the least of which are deep, thorough humility and an awareness of the seriousness of what our past conduct produced, especially toward Jesus Christ. These things have tamed the beast, broken our self-will and made our minds receptive to the pure influences of God's Spirit. This is not natural but supernatural, the product of God's grace toward us and His Spirit working and growing in us. It very deeply, sometimes radically, alters our perspective of God, His purpose, the trials of life, the self and other people.

This is very important regarding trials because meekness is the opposite of self-will toward God and of ill-will toward men. "The meek are those who quietly submit themselves to God, to his word and to his rod, who follow His directions, and comply with His designs, and are gentle towards all men" (Matthew Henry).

God disciplines every one He loves 

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Hebrews 12:6), 

and sometimes the disciplines are very difficult to bear. We have passionate drives within us to flee from them, or at the very least, to grumble and murmur under their burden. But the meek will not do this. They will endure the privation, embarrassment, pain, loss, ignorance or persecution with quiet patience because they know that God is sovereign over all and He is working in their lives.

Aaron's response to God's execution of his two sons is an example.  

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.'" So Aaron held his peace. (Leviticus 10:1-3)

This was a shocking, bitter pill to swallow, but Aaron took it properly, meekly. He was growing. David refers to a difficult situation he was experiencing, leaving us this example: 

"I was mute, I did not open my mouth, because it was You who did it."  (Psalm 39:9)

The supreme example of this is Jesus Christ, who endured horrific trials though He was the Son of God's love

 says, "Then Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?'"  (John 18:11)

 Consider this insight on Christ's meek reaction: 

"He was led [not dragged] as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so He opened not His mouth."   (Acts 8:32)

Jesus was the very King of meekness.

Meekness enables a person to bear patiently those insults and injuries he receives at the hand of others. It makes him ready to accept instruction from the least of the saints. It allows him to endure provocation without being inflamed by it. He remains cool when others become heated. Meek people seek no private revenge; they leave that to God's sense of justice while they seek to remain true in their calling and meet God's standards.

The spirit of meekness enables its possessor to squeeze great enjoyment from his earthly portion, be it small or great. Delivered from a greedy and grasping disposition, he is satisfied with what he has. Contentment of mind is one of the fruits of meekness. The haughty and covetous do not inherit the earth. 

"A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked."  (Psalm 37:16)

This much misunderstood and maligned virtue is the antidote for most of the nervous anxiety that is greatly intensifying the normal day-to-day stresses of life. God commands us in 

Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord's anger.  (Zephaniah 2:3)


How valuable is that blessing?  There is more:

The meek shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever! (Psalm 22:26)

Further, "The Lord lifts up the meek; He casts the wicked down to the ground" (Psalm 147:6).

And finally:

The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 29:19).

This is not a virtue to ignore because carnal men consider it weakness. It may appear to them as weakness, but the spiritual reality is that it is great strength, an attribute of Almighty God and a fruit of His Spirit we greatly need.

Meekness is rooted in God, and therefore we must pursue it. Because it is a quality of God's character, we must exert effort to make it part of our character. Although we may be experiencing adversity, as the meek we should still appreciate God's good and gracious will.

The truly righteous are meek and receptive to the Word of God. God says that He will guide the patient of those who have been wronged and will decide fairly for them.

The Holy Spirit enables us to produce meekness, a necessary attitude for understanding God's Word. An added benefit to the meek is that God promises them the enjoyment of peace. A meek and quiet spirit is so very precious to God that He rewards the meek with inheritance of the earth.

Jesus shows us that meekness is not a mere contemplative virtue; it is maintaining peace and patience in the midst of pelting provocations. In II Corinthians Paul realizes that the meek and gentle approach can easily appear as weakness to those unfamiliar with Jesus' example, so he calls it "the meekness . . . of Christ." True meekness is always measured by Christ's meekness. His humility, patience and total submission of His own will to the will of the Father exemplifies meekness.

Good conduct is not meekness, but we should show the attitude of meekness in good conduct, that is, in righteousness. Works done in righteousness are done with an attitude of meekness. Synonyms for meek are "gentle," "humble," "poor" and "lowly."

We should have a meek attitude to all others regardless of our relationship with them. Even when someone is antagonistic, meek correction and teaching will assist God in leading them to repentance. For meekness, the NKJV uses "gentleness" in Galatians and "humility" in II Timothy and Titus. Both of these are qualities of meekness. Meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. It is evenness of mind—neither elated nor cast down—because a truly meek person is not occupied with self at all.

The focus of true meekness is not in our outward behavior only or in our relationships to other human beings. Neither is the focus on our natural disposition. Rather, it is an inwardly developed tender-heartedness, and the performing of it is first and chiefly toward God. It is the attitude in which we accept God's will toward us as good, and thus without disputing or resisting.

Since true meekness is before God, we realize He permits and uses the insults and injuries that the world or others in the church may inflict for our chastening and purification.

Be encouraged in Jesus in all that you go through!


(Biblical Studies)


04/01/15