Truly Blessed, Part 2

I ordered a salad for lunch and when I picked it up, it was a small bowl, a few pieces of chicken, on a bed of not so fresh spinach leaves. “$8 for this?” I growled. Almost the moment I said it, I felt some regret. My words, while not unkind, were sharp. An inquiry about the value and quality of the salad was just fine, but not my tone or attitude. I failed, in that moment, to live as a man surrendered to Christ, in the spirit of meekness.

In His words about finding a life in God’s blessings, a life that enjoys the richest of Spirit-filled abundance, Jesus says this: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5, NIV)  Ah, that is challenge for us, isn’t it?  As we think of the word, ‘meek’ almost at the same time, we think weak.  The meek do not inherit the earth, they get run over, used, and discarded – or do they? 

Jesus’ words about meekness have nothing to do with weakness or servility, as we might believe. Jesus invites us to know Him, to be secure in His love, so that we can lower our defenses, open our hearts, and become gentle, tender, and vulnerable. The meek are willing to empathize and identify with the least, to weep with those who are ground down by the powers of this world. 

The model of meekness is Jesus. He did not have to subject Himself to suffering at the hands of cruel people, but He did!  He chose to leave Heaven’s love and perfection for us. He surrendered himself to the Cross, taking our sins on Himself, so that we could be restored to our Creator Father.  Of Jesus the Word says, “he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him!” (Philip 2:8)

He was called the “Lamb of God” a primary reference to the sacrificial lamb of Exodus that gave protection to the faithful from death in the Passover.  Life came at the cost of death! “Lamb of God” also describes His meek nature.   A lamb is virtually defenseless.  It cannot run fast. It has no armor. It does not live in a shell. The only safety for a lamb is with the flock and the care of a shepherd

The Word teaches us that “our attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.” (Philippians 2:5-7, NLT)  

Become one with him. … no longer count on (your) own goodness or ability to obey God’s law, but trust Christ to save …  For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. (then you will) really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.  …. learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that, somehow,  (you) can experience the resurrection from the dead!” (Philippians 3:9-11, NLT) Those of us who live ‘in Christ’ must, like Him, drop our defenses, love those who hate us, submit ourselves to others, as we trust in our Shepherd alone.  And, God empowers us, but not with worldly strength.

Meekness is a work of the Spirit, a choice He enables us to make.  Jesus was “God, in flesh.” He could have crushed His enemies, but He chose to be ‘sheep-ish.’  Will I, will you?  “God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them.” (Matthew 5:5, NLT)  Will you give as good as you get, demand ‘respect’ you feel you deserve; or will you choose meekness, and in that choice become a person from whom love is spilled?  

Yes, I repent for growling about a salad, and all those times when I fail to have a life and heart fully submitted to the Lamb of God. I want to be gentle enough to be approachable, tender enough to care about those the world throws away, strong in the strength of the Lord, who is my security. In this, I will find life richer. Will you join me in seeking meekness?

Here’s a word from the Word. It is both beautiful and challenging. May the Spirit call us to greater meekness. “Who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal his saving power? My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins!” (Isaiah 53:1-4, NLT)  

“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7, NLT)  “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.” (Isaiah 53:11, NLT)

_____________

Gentle Shepherd
(let this song, a prayer, touch you this day)

Gentle Shepherd come and lead us
Gentle Shepherd come and feed us
For we need Your strength from day to day
There’s no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day

Gentle Shepherd come and lead us
For we need You to help us find our way

Gloria Gaither | William J. Gaither © 1974 William J. Gaither, Inc.

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