October 4, 2015 Speaker: Chris Hall Series: What HE Said: A Guide for Living in the Kingdom of God
Topic: Default Passage: Matthew 5:5–5:5
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
1. WHAT GOD WANTS TO SEE IN US: OBEDIENCE
Ever drive in big city traffic? They can be pretty aggressive. If you don’t go with the flow you get run over. Our understanding of "meekness" doesn't seem to fit into a big city since it would likely mean being run over!
Our culture is like that too. The powerful, the aggressive, the fast and the narcissistic set the pace for life and culture. Consider how powerful they can be by looking back to grade school. Remember that bully? The one you avoided, the one who you thought about when selecting clothes? See how a bully can affect us? We get swept up in their current. They set the pace.
And it makes us feel weak. I don't like feeling weak.
…and Jesus wants us to be that? Weak?
2. HOW WE FAIL
Most of us don’t wake up thinking, “I should put on my meek pants today!” Instead we say stuff like “I gonna punch today in the face!” We want to win. We want to be in control. And we associate meekness with weakness.
- Cancer makes us feel weak: It always seems to win. Try to prevent it but it strikes when it strikes.
- Depression makes me feel weak: Anyone with mental illness knows “try harder” isn’t an option.
- Money problems make me feel weak: You can’t pay bills with good intentions. You can’t fix your car’s alternator with postive thinking. It takes money (that you don't have).
- Joblessness and underemployment makes me feel weak: Above all i want to provide for my family, offering my children something—even to be so bold as to want better for them than what I've had (and I’ve had it pretty good).
- This culture of death makes me feel weak: Random madmen shooting people. A nation that places “life, liberty…” right up front as a stated value yet it’s fully legal and even socially acceptable to steal that very life from the the most vulnerable among us.
- Systemic injustice and generational poverty make me feel weak: Yes, feed the hungry, care for the widow and orphan but the bigger picture of WHY there is hunger and hopelessness on such a grand scale in a place with so much wealth blows your mind.
- When my children hurt it makes me feel weak: Part of it is life and learning but when their suffering is beyond “normal”, what could make you feel weaker? You want to protect them and when you see that you can’t it makes you feel weak.
All those types of suffering is EXACLTY what I want to leave behind. COME LORD JESUS!
And Jesus says when we experience all that suffering and respond with meekness that we are "blessed"?!
I don’t respond to much of that suffering with meekness. You don’t either.
Instead of responding to the typical suffering of life in this world with peace and gentleness, we shake our fist at the sky and demand to know “WHY?!”
If we aren't saying those actual words, then that angst takes the form of worry, bitterness, jealousy, despair. W being to believe lies about God instead of the truth. We get nasty. Not meek.
- Instead of trusting that He is great, we think WE need to be in control and we become fearful or angry.
- Instead of trusting that He is glorious, we fear the opinion of others and become jeolous.
- Instead of trusting that He is good, we think he’s a cold, monster or that he’s holding out on us the good stuff we “deserve” and we become bitter.
- Instead of trusting that He is gracious, we think we have to earn his approval and feel shame when we don’t feel we measure up.
Sometimes we believe those lies so much it moves us to become the very bullies we feared in school!
3. HOW JESUS DID IT
Meekness ≠ Weakness
First, He understood the meaning of the word "meek". And He knew meekness is NOT weakness. Not even close
Jesus is meek (Matthew 11:29). He was humble, "gentle and lowly in heart".
Then in Colossians 1:16 we read, "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him."
As He hung on the cross looking at His enemies, He had the ability and the power to crush them (who He created in the first place--for His glory) but instead He stayed there on the cross unto His own death! He rescued His enemies at GREAT cost to himself. That. Is. Not. Weakness.
MEEKNESS IS GREAT POWER UNDER CONTROL
Jesus trusted the Father's goodness, greatness, gloriousness and gracioussness more than He trusted His feelings--feelings that told Him, "This plan is going to hurt!"
Trusting God more than your feelings. Setting aside your agenda for His. That's meekness and it's what God wants to see in our lives.
4. HOW WE CAN DO IT WITH CHRIST
First, we need to stop doing one thing and start doing another.
From Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection By Edward T. Welch....
Let's stop doing this: DEMANDING ANSWERS
“The meek do not rail against the Lord in their persecution. They might not understand why something has happened to them—it is hard to understand how God’s love and our own suffering coexist—but the meek don’t demand answers. Instead, they trust God because of who he is, what he has said, and what he has done.”
Start doing this: SIMPLY TRUSTING THAT HE KNOWS BETTER
The meek..."wait. They walk before the Lord in humble obedience. They know his ways can sometimes be veiled, but there is much they do know. For example, they know that the persecuted meek will inherit the earth, the Lord will be their stronghold, and they will see the legacy of the wicked perish.”
We need to stop insisting that we understand rather than simply trusting that He knows better. When we trust God more, then our questions should move from being on the verge of anger rather than submissive to God.
Maybe you don't shake your fist in anger toward the sky but do you really trust Him? I mean really?
And when we are with someone we don’t trust how do you respond? You withdraw, you avoid, you retreat. How are you doing that with God?
So we need to eliminate belief in lies that He isn’t Great, Glorious, Good, Gracious and replace it with belief that he IS Great, Glorious, Good, Gracious based on what we know Christ accomplished on the cross.
So step 1 is: Do you believe the Gospel message? That the world was created good, that we sinned and ruined it only to have Christ rescue us and then empower us with reconciling all of creation back to Himself? DO you believe it? If so, press into it. Soak it in.
We live in a fallen world. And Jesus is the rescuer. Believe that.
If you don't believe that, why not? If you are on the fence, what’s holding you back?
IN CHRIST YOU CAN BE OBEDIENT
- Be blessed as "co-heirs with Christ" (Eph 1:22), inheriting the earth
- Your responses will move away from anger and fear toward obediance and gratitude
- In Christ, you'll be creating a NEW culture of grace, truth, holiness, justice, mercy, trust & love.
When we go to work in the midst of suffering and respond by being a great employee / coworker and by expressing meekness we are living out God”s kingdom values. When our meekness subverts the existing bully culture then God’s kingdom is breaking in to our place of work!
Instead of letting the bad attitudes around you pull you into their current, make a new one! Begin the reconciling work of establishing a NEW culture where you work and play.
Do it out of gratitude for what He accomplished, espond through the power of the Holy Spirit (make that our explicit prayer!) by withholding anger and wrath EVEN WHEN WE HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO UNLEASH IT. Simply obey even when your feelings tell you not to. That's great power under control. Gentle, lowly in heart. You can do this because Christ did it and He is now living in you!