For the Meek | Happy”ness
Monday— “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
Because meekness rhymes with weakness, we assume they mean the same thing. But they are actually opposites. To be weak is to be powerless, unable to exercise control. But to be meek is to hold immense power one’s under control. Visualize meekness as a weight-lifter holding a newborn kitten in one massive hand. Weakness would crush the kitten due to uncontrolled impulses. Meekness holds that power under control and treats the kitten gently. Weakness says, “I can, so I will.” Meekness says, “I could, but I won’t.” And Jesus says only the meek get to rule with Him.
Jesus was the perfect example of meekness, especially when He was arrested. Crucifixion happened to a lot of people, but they didn’t have a choice. Now imagine being tied up, whipped until you are bloody, and then crucified—while knowing that at any second, you could stop it. All it would take is one word from you and a million angelic warriors would swoop down, slaughter your tormentors, and free you. But you don’t. You feel another lash of the whip and you scream in agony. There will dozens more lashes, then spikes through your hands and feet. But you don’t end it. That’s meekness. Weakness would have caved after the first lash; meekness kept going. Meekness says, “I could make this go my way, but I choose not to.”
Final Thought: Blessed are those who know they could get their own way but choose to obey God instead.
Prayer: Father, I can’t imagine the level of meekness it took to endure that kind of torture. Jesus had the power to stop it at any minute, yet kept power under control in order to obey you. Help me become meek like He is. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:23
-“But they shouldn’t get away with this!” Gil shouted. “It’s not right! It’s not fair! I have to defend myself, don’t I?”
-“Nobody else knows the underhanded stuff that’s gone on. It’s hurt my career and I’m not sure what to do.”
-“I know stuff on the boss that would get me that promotion. He’s got it coming. Don’t I have the right to use it?”
We’ve all been there. We were slandered, abused, treated unfairly, or ignored, and our sense of justice rises up. We shouldn’t let this stand, should we? There are times to speak up, when someone else is being hurt or a great evil is growing and more than our reputations will suffer. But most of the time, our hot buttons are triggered by a personal injustice. Self-pity joins moral outrage and we believe we’re obliged to even the score. It’s time to take another look at this verse. Jesus could have set His tormenters in their place and He would have been right. But He entrusted His pain to God and the result was salvation for us. Meekness gives up the right to defend ourselves; not so we become doormats, but because we’re choosing a higher defense. Defending ourselves usually leads to a slap-fight and “he-said-she-said.” But God’s defense leads to God-sized results that are part of His bigger story. If you’re on trial, who do you want defending you: a first-year law student or a senior partner?
Final Thought: When you’re treated unfairly, you try to defend yourself or you can let God do it.
Prayer: Father, it’s hard to let people get away with misusing me. But I’ve gotten into trouble trying to defend myself. I’m going to start letting you do it. If there’s something I should do, show me. But I leave the results up to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Wednesday— “Some urged me to kill you, but I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on…the LORD’s anointed.’” 1 Samuel 24:10
If anyone had justification for killing an enemy, it was David. King Saul had gone stark-raving mad. Possessed by jealousy, he was bent on murdering David, so David spent 13 years on the run, hiding in caves, fearful of returning home. Then, a golden opportunity was in front of him. Even the LORD had said, “Do with Saul what you will.” David had the chance to end this cat-and-mouse game—but he refused. His respect for Saul’s God-appointed position was greater than his desire to end his own struggles. He trusted that when God was ready for him to become king, God would make it happen. That’s meekness.
We’d have probably given Saul a karate chop to the head and marched into town to take the palace. That’s because most of us operate by the “if-it’s-gonna-happen-I’ll-have-to-do-it-myself” rule. We claim to trust God, but when He doesn’t work on our timetable, we take matters into our own hands. We’ve even convinced ourselves that God wants us to do that. Our favorite verse is “God helps those who help themselves.” (That’s NOT in the Bible.) What we ARE told to do is transfer all our rights and expectations to Him. When we could force our way in, we back out. When we could demand, we surrender. When we could verbally slaughter, we trust our words to God. What we discover is that God takes very good care of that which is His.
Final Thought: Meekness has transferred all rights and expectations to God and trusted Him to give us what we need.
Prayer: Father, this is so backward from what feels natural to me, but the entire Christian life is opposite what comes naturally. That’s why I need you to live life through me. I entrust my rights to you. You’ll take good care of them. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thursday— Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3
“Here’s my 8×10 glossy,” Starla said as she breezed past in a cloud of perfume. “I’ve printed my resume on parchment and have interviews lined up for this afternoon. I plan to begin my speaking tour next week.” Her assistant blushed and couldn’t look Starla in the eye. “Uh, ma’am,” she began, “I don’t know how to tell you this but…uh, well they’re not choosing you for this position.” Starla froze. “What are you talking about? I’m clearly the best possible candidate. They’ll never find anyone as qualified as I am. Who did they choose?” The assistant swallowed hard and looked at the floor. “Me, ma’am,” she whispered.
Starla needs to take another look at Moses. He should have had an ego as big as the Nile. Raised in luxury, treated as royalty, and chosen by God as the leader of a nation, his name became a household word. Yet, Moses is described as meek. He never grew entitled. He remained aware of his own weakness and awestruck that God would choose him. It was that ongoing sense of wonder at his own unworthiness that kept his ego out of the game. That’s why God could do miraculous things through him. We’re too easily impressed with ourselves and that ego gets in God’s way. We need a perspective adjustment that looks like this: God doesn’t need me. He doesn’t owe me anything. I have nothing of worth to offer Him, but if I place my life and my will in His hands, He may use me in His work. My name may never be well-known and I couldn’t be happier about that.
Final Thought: Meekness begins with the recognition that all we have and all we are is on loan to us from our Creator.
Prayer: Father, my ego gets in the way of being meek like Jesus was meek. I get too full of myself. Please forgive me and help me remember that anything good in me is a gift from you to be used for your purposes. In Jesus name, amen.
Friday—Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart… find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
Imagine a huge scale that weighs immaterial things like fear, anger, and love. Any intangible in the universe can be weighed on it, so people and nations bring burdens like hatred, prejudice, and greed to find out how heavy they are. Those staggering under heavy loads can come to the scale to find out what is weighing them down. Once they find out, they can leave those things there or take them up again. Jesus watched people stumbling under heavy loads and offered to trade burdens with them, saying that His “yoke was easy and His burden light” (v. 30). The evidence He offered to convince them that His burden was lighter was the fact that He was meek. He could show them on the scale that meekness weighed less.
So what were they lugging around that was wearing them out? Plenty of judgement, condemnation, fear, and rule-keeping was placed on their shoulders by religion. But we all come with a giant sack of ego strapped to us. We might not call it that, but any emotion that begins with “self-“ weighs a lot: self-pity, self-esteem, self-admiration, self-consciousness… It’s all pride, and pride is weighs us down. Pride requires a lot of armor to keep it protected and that armor is heavy. Jesus sees us stagger under the load and offers to trade with us. “Give me your pride and take my meekness. It’s a lot lighter to carry and your soul can rest.”
Final Thought: It’s exhausting to carry around the armor needed to defend yourself. Trade it in for meekness.
Prayer: Father, I am weighted down by so much pain, feeling I have to protect myself all the time. But you offer to be my defender, so I lay this burden down and take up yours. I’ll choose to carry meekness instead. In Jesus’ name, amen.