16. Aspiring to Gentleness

Aspiring Meditations: 16.  Aspiring to Gentleness

Gal 5:22   the fruit of the Spirit is ….gentleness

Mt 11:29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Mt 21:5    Say to the Daughter of Zion, `See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey

Eph 4:2   Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Strangely in observing conversations about the fruit of the Spirit, I have never heard anyone put ‘gentleness’ at the head of their list of things to which to aspire. It seems it is one of the little known or thought about characteristics of the working of the Holy Spirit in us. The dictionary suggests, ‘Gentle’ = having or showing a kind or tender or moderated temperament or character, not aggressive in approach, and ‘gentleness’ is the expression of being ‘gentle’. Perhaps it is not high on our scale of consciousness because we live in a world of ‘big people’ and ‘celebrities’ and rarely are such people known for their gentleness.  Yet, here it is, a fruit of the Spirit and, as we’ll soon see, it does come up a surprising number of times in the New Testament.

In Mt 11:29 above, we have Jesus referring to himself as gentle and the apostle Paul at one point says, By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you.” (2 Cor 10:1) and Mt 21:5 above reminds us of the prophetic word that spoke of the manner in which Jesus approached Jerusalem on a donkey. A triumphal arrival but not one accompanied by signs of power or boasting or arrogance as a general or king of ancient times might have shown.  No, this king comes in a gentle manner which is quite different.

Now, unlike faithfulness which, we said, had few direct instructions about in the New Testament and relied mostly on the implication that it was covered by many other things, ‘gentleness’ is something we are instructed about a number of times. For instance, very simply, “Let your gentleness be evident to all,” (Phil 4:5) and then, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Col 3:12) Note where is comes – in the middle of a list of like-minded characteristics, two of which we have already covered, and two of which we will yet consider in future studies. All of those five words at the end of that verse says about our relationships with others, go easy, be tender-hearted, i.e. be gentle.

Paul also challenges Timothy over this characteristic: “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1 Tim 6:11). He doesn’t merely say aspire to it, he says, pursue or go all out for it. This adds a significance or importance to it. This is not some secondary characteristic, it is something we should really make sure is a part of our lives.

Indeed, again Paul says to Timothy, “the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,” (2 Tim 2:24,25) We’ve included the whole of those two verses to observe the whole context which is a challenge to any leader or any Christian teacher. i.e. don’t be harsh or heavy, but have a softer approach when instructing others.

Now note here that gentleness is the requirement of the way we are to go about doing something – in that case, teaching. But Paul also uses it in the context of restoration of a sinner: “if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” (Gal 6:1) The apostle Peter requires it when you are simply answering questions put to you (which may even be in a combative manner): “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Pet 3:15)

So, to summarise the New Testament teaching, gentleness is a characteristic of Jesus and it is something all of us who are Christians are required to have generally, and specifically we are to have it when we teach, when we correct, when we restore and even when we give answers to others.

Now why is it so significant, and why is it sometimes so difficult to apply?  Well, turning to Proverbs, we can see that having a gentle approach can seriously affect how we get on with other people. For example, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov 15:1) The problem is that we may be right in our stance and the other person obstinately wrong, and that can produce frustration and a desire for force home the truth, but so often that doesn’t achieve the desired result; it only makes it worse.  We do this when our grace level is low. Are you aware that there are days when your grace level is high and you can handle any opposition, while on another day, for whatever the reason, (it may be spiritual it may be physical and it may be emotional) we know we are just not up to confrontation, and the best thing is to hide away, seek the Lord and get boosted by Him.

The same thing comes up later in Proverbs: “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Prov 25:15) An aggressive approach simply makes the other person hostile. The Message version puts the second part of the verse well: gentle speech breaks down rigid defences.” There it is! Gentleness can bless others and gentleness can break down barriers. Even more, when we approach people like this, they feel respected and cared for. We aren’t coming to steam-roller them, we are coming in a way they are more likely to find acceptable. Yes, if I am to be the Lord’s servant, I need to let this fruit grow more in me. If I am simply to be His child, I must do this. Yes, this is definitely something to which I must aspire!

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15. The Grace of Jesus

Meditating on the Gems of the Bible:  15. The Grace of Jesus

Psa 45:2    You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.

The psalmist has this idea running round in his mind that produces a song: My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.” (v.1) I like the way the Message version puts it: “My heart bursts its banks spilling beauty and goodness. I pour it out as a poem to the king shaping the river into words.” That expresses more fully, I think, those words “My heart is stirred…”

Now whether the king is a physical king and it is a physical wedding that he goes on to write about, or whether it is spiritual is unclear, but I believe from the vantage point of later in history we can suggest that so much here is prophetic and speaks of Jesus. We’ll come back to verse 2 in a moment but consider – “Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendour and majesty,” (v.3) and then “In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds,” (v.4) – we cannot but help be reminded of Revelation 19 where Jesus is seen as the conqueror coming forth  When we reads, “Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet,” (v.5) we cannot but think of his earthly ministry where his words acted like arrows piercing hearts.

But then we find this comment, “your lips have been anointed with grace.” Not only do those words pierce like arrows but at times they come forth with amazing grace. The difficulty of reading the words of Jesus in the Gospels in cold black and white print, is that you can never catch the tone of voice. Sadly we interpret Jesus’ words according to the direction of our own hearts, and so some hear Jesus’ words as coming with sharp and hard authority. Others hear the gentle and accepting heart that accepted harlots and tax collectors and drew them to himself.

Which leads me to think of John’s description of Jesus: “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14). There is that ‘grace’ word again. A dictionary defines this grace as, “beauty or charm of form, composition, movement, or expression, an attractive quality, feature, manner, etc.” Grace here is a combination of things – goodness, kindness, loving acceptance, gentleness. When Jesus speaks to us, he speaks with these characteristics.

Early in the Gospel accounts, we find, “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him,” (Lk 2:40) which is not surprising because he had been conceived by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20) and the child was in fact God incarnate. But it was clear, even from childhood, this grace – which always comes from God – was his. Later on this grace would be the thing attributed to be the motivating force that enabled him to do all he did: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor 8:9)

This ‘being rich yet becoming poor’, I believe, refers first to his leaving the glory he had in heaven and coming to earth with no visible glory, then leaving his family and living out a life of faith as he exercised his ministry, as he described, “the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Mt 8:20). It may also be applied to his willingness to forgo any reputation (and his was quite amazing when you thought of all the amazing things he did in Galilee) and come to Jerusalem and be portrayed as one who received the dismissal of both the religious and civic authorities and deemed worthy of a criminal’s death. What enabled him to do all these things? Grace. It is part of the divine attributes.

When you think of the wonder of what God has done through Jesus, it can only be grace that explains it. They knew we would all be sinners if they gave us free will at Creation – but they did it nevertheless. They knew that the Fall would happen, they knew that every single person they sought to come alongside and build a relationships with, would stumble – whether that was individuals or nations. They knew that failure was the only sure thing that could be guaranteed about the human race, and yet they went ahead and created us as we are. Why? Grace! That disposition of the godhead that looked with loving kindness upon us, understands our folly and perseveres with us.

Observe Jesus calling his disciples. These were those who had the greatest privilege in history – of walking and talking with God on a daily basis for three years. Yet what do we find? One of them betrays him, one of them denies him three times and the rest run away and leave him to his fate. But he still chose them and left the future Church in their hands. Amazing, but that is what grace does! Hallelujah!

37. Fight the Good Fight

Meditations in 1 Timothy: 37:  Fight the Good Fight

1 Tim 6:11,12   But you, man of God…..  pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

In the previous meditation we saw verse 11 in the light of what went before, but actually it also goes with what follows. In the face of the false teaching, confused ideologies and mixed up ‘believers’,  Paul reminds Timothy that he is a man of God who is called to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (v.11) These six characteristics are part of the inheritance that every believer can come to experience, they are the hall marks or brands of the believer and where they are absent you see a believer who has a long way to go to maturity.  But the truth is that there is a battle and the enemy would seek to stop these characteristics coming about in us.

Thus as we move on we find Paul making this very simple exhortation: “Fight the good fight of the faith.” (v.12a) For those who mistakenly think that the Christian life is just sitting back and receiving all the good things that God has to give, this comes as a cultural shock. Fight? Fighting suggests effort, effort to resist and effort to overcome. This has the same sort of feel to it that we find in Ephesians 6 where Paul wrote, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12) Other versions use the word ‘wrestle’ instead of struggle but the same sense is conveyed, there is a battle to be fought, a struggle to overcome. Every time you are confronted with a temptation, there is a struggle to be overcome, every time you are confronted with a doubt or a challenge there is a struggle to be overcome.

But this is a fight “of the faith”, it is what comes with the package, it is part of the life to which we have been called, ‘the faith’, and we should NOT think badly about it for it is “the good fight” or as some have put it, “the noble fight”. It is a fight that is worthwhile for in fighting we are made stronger and through fighting we come through to a better place. In Jesus’ letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor (Rev 2 & 3) there are seven calls to overcome. When we ‘overcome’ we get the better of the enemy, of sin and of temptation, we prevail against them, and we come through stronger. It’s a good fight!

So, he continues, “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.”  Eternal life isn’t just for after we die; it begins the moment we come to Christ. From that moment on, we are living in the eternal dimension by the enabling of the Holy Spirit. When God called us, it was to enter into and enjoy the fruits of this life which, as we just said, started the moment we were saved and continue on through this life and into eternity. The call to Take hold of the eternal life” suggests this is an action our part, an act of will. The Christian life is not passive, it involves resisting the enemy and it involves actively taking hold of the things God promises in His word.

This eternal life, says Paul, came when “you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” That probably refers to the confession of belief that Timothy made when he first came to Christ  and which almost certainly would have been repeated before the congregation at his baptism.

Paul exhorts him strongly to persevere with his faith: “In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame.” (v.13,14) He makes this charge in all seriousness before God and reminds Timothy how Jesus had testified before the Roman authorities. In the same way Jesus had been fearless, so (by implication) Timothy is to be fearless is testifying. The good confession that Jesus made was probably, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” (Jn 18:37)

The command that Paul refers to is probably that of verses 11 and 12, “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.” i.e. go all out for that to which you have been called! When he says, “without spot or blame” he is saying, don’t let there be any points where you hold back and there could be accusations of half-heartedness against you.

Do this, he continues, “until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time.” (v.14,15)  i.e. keep on doing it until Jesus comes, whenever God decrees that will be. It doesn’t matter how soon or how long, just make sure you are going all out for these things until he comes.

So we have seen the call – to go all out to fulfil his calling – the importance of it – with a charge before God – and the duration of it – until Jesus comes. That’s it! Go for it!

28. Respect & Honour People

Meditations in 1 Timothy: 28:  Respect and Honour People

1 Tim 5:1,2   Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

We have seen, we have said, Paul instructing Timothy on various facets of leading the church in Ephesus. He has focused so far on general issues of exercising his ministry and upholding the word. Now Paul turns to more personal matters, or issues of dealing with people in the congregation.

Implied within all that he says, we should note, is the idea that leaders / elders / shepherds / overseers, call them what you will, are responsible for their flocks and not only does that mean preaching and teaching the flock, but caring for it and on occasion correcting it. Because he is a young man, Paul sees that Timothy may have a particular difficulty and it is in the way he deals with older men in the congregation. There may be times when a situation arises where he, as the leader, ought to speak to an older man about his behaviour.

How we treat other people is a sign or measure of how much God has done in us. Leaders can forget they are servants and think they have power and authority to throw around, but Paul thinks otherwise (read 2 Corinthians to catch his heart in this whole area). The apostle Peter taught, Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers.” (1 Pet 2:17). Paul in his teachings made it more specific: “the wife must respect her husband,” (Eph 5:33), “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect,” (Eph 6:5), “respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you,” (1 Thess 5:12), “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect,” (1 Tim 3:4), “Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect,” (1 Tim 3:8), “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect,” (1 Tim 3:11), and “All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect.” (1 Tim 6:1)

Paul thus sees certain people worthy of respect by nature of their position. Peter teaches a more general respecting of all persons and he extends this to non-Christians: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Pet 3:15) Respect for those older than you was, of course, built into the Law: “Each of you must respect his mother and father,” (Lev 19:3) and “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly.” (Lev 19:32)

If you have to rebuke a man older than yourself, he challenges Timothy, don’t resort to harshness but see him and respect him as if he were your father. Respect for the aged, we have just noted, goes right back to the Law.  Oh that it would be restored to the church today!  But this raises the question about how we should treat all people. We might say it seems an almost irrelevant question because surely we are called to love everyone, for example Jesus taught, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Mt 22:39 quoting Lev 19:18) and then, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (Jn 13:34) Surely, therefore, it is obvious how we should treat one another – with love. But what does that mean?

Well the apostle John spelt it own in practical terms: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 Jn 3:16,17) Of course Paul spelt it out in 1 Cor 13:4-8  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  So it seems fairly obvious.

So why does Paul say to Timothy, “Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (5:1,2)?   How do we treat brothers, mothers and sisters? (at least when the family is not dysfunctional!) Very simply, we are for them, we love them and we respect them and we think honourably about them. We would think nothing wrong about them and want nothing wrong for them. This is the bench mark that Paul sets for Timothy when he has to deal with men and women in the congregation and perhaps correct them. How would you correct your sister? Hopefully with love and care, wanting to maintain a good ongoing relationship. How would you correct your mother? Carefully! With gentleness and tenderness and not wanting to say or do anything to upset or hurt. How about correcting a brother? Surely with wisdom and in such a way as he might receive you and your words of correction, again knowing that you want to maintain a warm ongoing relationship with him. All of these things thus apply when the leader finds himself in a position when it is necessary to admonish and correct a brother or sister in Christ. See them as your literal brother, sister or mother and treat them accordingly. In that way they will get the best treatment from you. May that be how it is in church life. 

44. Submission

Ephesians Meditations No.44

Eph  5:21-24 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Paul, in this chapter, has been covering aspects of the Christian life. He’s moved on from what God has done to what we must now do. He started with a call for us to imitate God (v.1,2), and followed it by a continuation of things that must not appear in the Christian life (v.3-7). He then went on to explain why, using the analogy of light and darkness (v.8-14), followed by a call to be wise as to how we live and to live a Spirit-filled life (v.15-20). Earlier on he had spoken about unity (4:3) because there is just one body (4:4).

This present paragraph is difficult because of what is viewed today as its contentious nature, as he speaks about husband and wife relationships. However, we should see it in the context of the unity of the body (which crops up within it) and it is clear that Paul has this in his mind when he writes. He starts out with a general call to all the church: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” We have commented in the past about the fruit of ‘gentleness’ which, when it is there, produces a pleasing, conciliatory approach to others. Submission has the same feeling behind it.

Taking the negative approach first, when you submit to another, there is no room for pride or arrogance and no room for you to push your will to the detriment of others. Now to be positive, when you submit to someone you make yourself open to them, to listen to them, to receive them and what they have to say. Submission is a practical outworking of love.

Paul had the same idea in mind when he said, “Honour one another above yourselves.” (Rom 12:10) and “in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Phil 2:3). Peter had the same idea when he said, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Pet 5:5) Submission and humility go hand in hand. Those who object to the concept of submission fail to realise that it is a call to humility.

We should note in passing that it is a call to “submit to one another,” i.e. it is mutual submission. This is a clever strategy for it does not mean, ‘be a doormat to all others’ because it is mutual submission and so NO ONE becomes dominant!  I have never heard this spoken about and so I conclude that it is something that is rarely realised. We are ALL to be servants of one another and therefore there is NO room whatsoever for anyone to dominate or domineer over another. The kingdom of God has only one master – Jesus! The rest of us are servants.

When Paul comes to the marriage situation, he realises that the sinfulness of mankind is given fertile ground in which to flourish. If these verses have been seen as contentious, it is simply because sin is lurking, waiting to rise up and make claims on behalf of ‘self’. Now we really do need to see this before we carry on, otherwise, depending on whether you are a man or a woman, you may take particular ‘sides’ and so generate or egg on what the world calls ‘the battle of the sexes’. This should NOT exist in the Christian world, and it is this very thing which works against unity in the body and works against harmony in relationships.

Now because we can only take a certain amount each day, we will only be touching on the woman’s side today, but any men reading this should realise that their part is coming soon and it speaks death to ‘self’ even more, so there is no grounds whatsoever for men to be able to take these words and use them as ammunition in the ‘battle of the sexes.’ You have been warned!

Paul continues: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” Ladies this is not to make you a grovelling heap, for the reasons we have given above – he is to submit to you as well! However, if you consider what we said initially about submission above, it does mean that “when you submit to someone you make yourself open to them, to listen to them, to receive them and what they have to say,” and “there is no room for pride or arrogance and no room for you to push your will,” and “Submission is a practical outworking of love.” (The same is going to apply to him so don’t get all defensive!).

In case you think this is just Paul, remember the apostle Peter has the same ideas: Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” (1 Pet 3:1,2). Notice the ‘without words’ – which means no nagging. Modern science suggests you are more capable with words but therein is a danger that you try to browbeat your partner with words – and that does nothing for harmony and unity. (Prayer does a lot more!)

Then Paul gives his reasoning: For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” The buck has to stop with someone he is saying. God looks to husbands to carry the can for what happens in the family.  That’s all that this ‘head’ language means. It’s all about responsibility. Women are often wiser than men, I believe, simply because they often also work on emotions, care, concern, and intuition, but each of those things also makes them vulnerable. Paul is trying to protect them at their most vulnerable point but sadly that is the opposite of how so many see it today (and yes, men have so often neglected their side – see the following meditations – and given cause). You may need a lot of grace to work through to the truth as God sees it, in the light of the pressures of ‘the world’ today, but there is something better than we’ve had in the past or that we’ve got today. There is God’s way.

5. The Meek

MEDITATIONS IN THE BEATITUDES – 5

Mt 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

‘Meek’ and ‘meekness’ are words rarely heard in the English language today and, indeed, the NIV only uses the word ‘meek’ three times, one of which is in our verse today. The only time the word ‘meekness’ is used is, “By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you” (2 Cor 10:1). The NIV tends to use instead the words ‘gentleness’ and ‘humble’ though these don’t convey quite the same meaning. A dictionary definition of ‘meek’ is ‘humble and submissive’ and therein is the key to this verse. For instance, older versions of the Bible translate Num 12:3 as “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth.When the modern versions say he was very ‘humble’ they do not catch the particular characteristic of Moses that made him such a great man.

When we study Moses, one of the things that kept happening during his leadership of the new people of Israel, was that people grumbled or even rebelled. In every situation except one, Moses immediately turned to the Lord and submitted the problem to Him. This wasn’t just humility, this was submissiveness to God. Similarly when Paul above refers to the meekness of Christ, he is referring to his example of being totally submitted to his Father’s will.

Negatively, meekness is the absence of self-assertiveness and self-concern. Positively it is that acceptance of the will of God over all things. When people, as in Moses’ examples, rise up against us, the meek person simply goes to the Lord with the problem and accepts this as something the Lord has so far allowed to happen. Meekness is a characteristic of the prayer the believers prayed in Acts 4:23-30. They had just been threatened by the religious leaders and as they come to pray, they DON‘T pray against those religious leaders, they simply acclaim the Lord’s greatness (v.24-26) and then declared their acceptance of all that had happened as being God’s will (v.27-28) and simply asked God to give them boldness to declare the Gospel while God would do signs and wonders (v.29,30). Observe that in all that they simply sought the Lord’s will in all things. So how does this fit in with the previous beatitudes?

First there was the need for a recognition of our spiritual poverty, second there was the requirement that that be accompanied by a mourning or grieving for that spiritual poverty, and now third, there is the requirement of coming to a place of submitting totally to God’s will. That surely is one of the primary requirements for a person to come to Christ, that they submit to God’s way of salvation, through Christ on the Cross, and allow him to lead them from that time on. How simple those words: “allow him to lead them”. What does it mean? It means that Christ will lead us by his Holy Spirit to bring our lives in line with his Father’s will. This means a change in character, a change in attitude, a change in desires, a change in goals, a change in behaviour. It is a complete submission to God’s plan for our individual lives. As we go through life and upsets come, we turn to the Lord and ask, “What do you want here, Lord?” That is meekness.

But what about the second part of the verse? Inherit the earth? When we speak of an inheritance we mean something that is coming to us that has been left to us following the death of a family member. In this case, as a result of Jesus’ death, it means all that is now ours as a result of what Jesus has achieved on the Cross (to see this more fully, go to the series of meditations that consider the effects of Jesus’ work on the Cross). Now part of this, which many people miss, is that as a result of God’s work of salvation in us, we start to enjoy living, we start to enjoy this world, in a completely new way. We start to appreciate life, we start to appreciate this world as God’s wonderful provision for us.

“The earth” is shorthand for, everything God has provided for us on this planet. No longer are we struggling and striving to get pleasure, to achieve, to get on top of this world. Suddenly now, as we submit ourselves to God’s perfect will for our lives, we start enjoying life in a new way. There is peace, harmony, contentment, enjoyment. As we come to rest in God’s will we inherit life, new life, stress-free life, peaceful life, harmonious life, here and now. What a blessing! That all comes as we give ourselves to the Lord and to His will. That is meekness and that opens the doorway for God to bring to us the blessings of life in this world that He desires to bring. Enjoy!