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What be your attitude

By colin - Posted on 30 March 2012

Many people assume being meek to mean a sign of weakness. They believe the definition of meekness is someone who allows others to walk over the top of them, or to let others go before them because they are too shy to lead. However, when we look at the people in the Bible who are described as meek, we see Moses a great leader, and Jesus himself. [Numbers 12:3]  “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” And in Matthew 11:29 ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’ So how then looking at these two men can we assume meekness to be weakness? Looking at the root word for the English word ‘meek’ is the Greek word ‘praus’ which is used to describe a soothing medicine or by sailors to describe a gentle breeze, but one thing both of these definitions have in common is that being meek is defined as having great power under control. Just as Moses led a nation to freedom from slavery and Jesus told the money lenders to stop their buying and selling in the temple both men displayed great power under control and are therefore are the definition of meekness.

 So what does being meek mean for the Christian today and what did Jesus mean when teaching these lessons? Essentially I believe that Jesus was saying those who are meek are those who have come to a realisation and understanding that they need to submit themselves to the will of the Lord, and not only that but that only God can give them the power to be meek and to become broken enough to realise they need a Saviour. It is no mistake that this is the third of the beatitudes that Jesus taught. The previous two tell us that blessed are the poor in Spirit and blessed are those who mourn. These steps are necessary for those who come to faith, first we realise our spiritual poverty and we understand that we are powerless to save ourselves; that only God can save us. It takes great strength to admit that we need help and that we are broken, that there is nothing we can do to gain God’s love. So often we forget that it is when we are weak that God is strong in our lives. Next we must realise that not only are we sinners and are powerless to save ourselves,  but then that we act upon this knowledge and grieve over our sinful state of separation from God. This is where Jesus is speaking about blessed are those who mourn. When we mourn over our separation from God and realise that we are broken and need to be fixed, do we learn how to be meek and to therefore inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus was teaching us through the beatitudes the steps necessary for the believer to be saved and to journey onward to heaven. 
 When understanding exactly what Jesus taught in the Beatitudes it is important to know who he was talking to at the time and how each group had their own interpretation of how they would gain eternal life with God in heaven. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, the Pharisees did believe in this but believed that their works would mean they were good enough to receive eternal life and therefore be resurrected. The Essenes essentially were waiting for the Messiah to come and create a Kingdom on earth so they could be freed from oppression and the Zealots also wanted freedom but were prepared to use any means possible to get it. Jesus was teaching in a positive sense the way in which these people should live their lives as well as educating them on the inner transformation needed in order to be saved. Only by following these positive guidelines could the Zealots be freed or the Sadducees have hope!  The Beatitudes therefore were taught to offer us the assurance of salvation and eternal life if we follow the steps laid out in the them, not only that, I believe they were recorded and are still taught today to give us as Christian’s comfort in times of trial in this life as we face difficulties along the way. Jesus was teaching a set of guidelines that when combined would offer true peace and comfort not only in our lives today but would lead us to being brought to salvation and eternal life. 
We are taught throughout the Bible that qualities of exhibiting meekness in Psalm 37: 11 ‘But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.’ So with meekness comes peace recognition that with more of God and less of me, we can have peace not only in this life but in the eternal life of heaven. A.W. Tozer once wrote, ‘The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto." The meek person as Tozer suggests, knows that only when God is primary in his life  can he receive the peace he is searching for, that he understands all that is achievable in this life and all that can be expected and is humbled that he has the things that God blesses him with. The meek are truly satisfied. They are content. The wicked, in their rush to possess, usually miss or overlook the best of this world, or else, having seen it, they refuse to pay the price to gain it, or having gained it, they are miserable. Philippians 4:11 says “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Jesus was teaching us something intrinsically important to the Christian that is as relevant today as it was to his audience on the mount, that when we are meek we find a peace and contentment with life that cannot be found in any other religion, experience or material the true peace that only God can give when we realise that we are broken, we mourn for our separation from him, we thirst and are hungry to learn more of him, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers and persecuted for our faith. The beatitudes work together to tell us of our fall from grace, and how to live our lives before we are saved and after if we are to be content and satisfied in no one but God. 



By Kathryn Erskine



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