"...Shepherd the flock of God which is among
you, serving as overseers..." (1 Peter 5:2)
Morris Bass, Rick Holt , Joe
"...let them serve as deacons,
being found blameless..." (1 Tim. 3:10)
Aaron Bass, Rich Brooks, Mike Finn
John Hague, Dan Head
"And take...the sword of
the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
The Fruit of the
Spirit: Meekness (#9)
Deceiving and Being Deceived
The Fruit of the Spirit: Meekness (#9)
Joe R. Price
I wonder how many of the billions of people on
this planet would care to be described as meek. There is a general
perception of a meek person as a spineless, mealy-mouthed, ninety-seven
pound weakling. This caricature could not be farther from the truth. The
meek person is one of the strongest people on the earth, though he would
never say so. To do that would violate his meekness.
As used in the Scriptures, meekness conveys gentleness, humility and
moderation. In common vernacular it is “gentle strength.” Thus, the NKJV
translates the Greek word (praotes) with the English word, “gentleness.” A
review of dictionary entries elaborates: “It presupposes humility, and flows
from it, and finds expression in moderation” (I.S.B.E., III:2027). There is
an unassuming dignity about the meek person. But be assured, meekness is not
weakness. Meekness is the trait of humble courtesy which stands its ground
for truth in the face of sin. It is the opposite of arrogance, pride and
conceit, and reveals itself in the face of opposition (cf. Moses in Num.
12:1-13). Yet, it is not easily provoked to anger; self-control is its
companion (Gal. 5:23). The meek person is free of bitterness and
contentiousness. He controls his passions. Yes, we all need more meekness.
It has been suggested that meekness is chiefly an attitude one has toward
God, and only then is it secondarily evidenced toward men. To quote Trench:
“It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as
good, and therefore without disputing or resisting…it is only the humble
heart which is also the meek, and which, as such, does not fight against God
and more or less struggle and contend with Him” (Trench, Synonyms, cited by
Vine, 401). Meekness toward God should be revealed in our attitude toward
His truth. James commands us to “receive with meekness the implanted word”
(Jas. 1:21). When the truth of God’s word is spurned we can rest assured
that meekness has not prompted the action. When God commands us, it is our
duty to obey; and to do so with reverence, humility and meekness.
Gainsaying, a sin of antagonistic opposition, is the opposite of meekness
(Rom. 10:21; Heb. 12:3; Jude 11). When we walk in the Spirit we do not fight
against the truth; we meekly conform ourselves to it.
Meekness is our ally in the body of Christ. With it we are better equipped
“to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2-3).
Meekness delights in serving others. It refuses to harbor grudges that
We need meekness when helping to correct sinners (2 Tim. 2:24-26). To be
approached about a sin in one’s life by an arrogant, domineering person
generates resentment, defensiveness and often the rejection of God’s word.
The person trying to help the sinner is right, but his attitude hinders the
positive outcome of repentance. On the other hand, meekness tries to restore
the fallen with an attitude of self-evaluation and humility (Gal. 6:1).
Make no mistake about it; meekness does not compromise truth when
confronting sin and error. It is bold in the face of opposition. The meek
person relies upon humble perseverance to reach his goal of rescuing the
lost. Meekness is needed when defending the truth against its opponents (1
Pet. 3:14-16). We are told to give an answer to every man with “meekness and
fear” (v. 15). The attitude with which we answer the advocate of error is
crucial, as is our answer. We can give Bible answers to expose error, but
without doing so with meekness and reverence we may simply infuriate instead
of convert the sinner. “That’s his fault,” some would say, but not the meek
person. The meek learns to show “all meekness to all men,” speaking evil of
no one (Tit. 3:2, ASV). The meek person seasons his speech to know how he
ought to answer each person (Col. 4:2-6). His objective is the salvation of
the lost, of self-vindication.
Jesus is our model of meekness. Though the Messiah-King, His meekness is
seen as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (Matt. 21:5). As He patiently
endured the awful wrongs of the cross, His meekness articulated His desire
for His murderers forgiveness (Lk. 23:34). And yet, Jesus was not a coward.
He rebuked hypocrites to their faces, not in sly innuendo and veiled
accusations. He cleansed the temple of the merchandisers whose interest was
greed rather than prayer (Matt. 21:12-13). While living a gentle life he did
not compromise his convictions of truth. Truly, Jesus is “meek and lowly in
heart” (Matt. 11:29).
God will reward the meek with abundant blessings: “Blessed are the meek, for
they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). But, as it is with many of God’s
blessings, we must have the faith needed to obey the divine will. We must
believe that meekness is preferable over arrogance and gainsaying. Our faith
must drive us to pursue gentleness (1 Tim. 6:11). We need the faith to
understand that humble endurance in the face of provocation is of more
lasting value than outbursts of contentiousness. It is the meek person who
receives the Lord’s guidance, protection and salvation (Psa. 25:9; 22:24-26;
76:7-9). What a wonderful fruit to bear! How blessed indeed to be described
as meek in the sight of God.
If one walks in the way
of truth and conviction, he must be prepared to walk alone. “No man stood
with me but all men forsook me,” wrote the battle-scarred apostle in
describing his first appearance before Nero to answer for his life for
believing and teaching contrary to the Roman World.
Truth has been out of fashion since man changed his
robe of fadeless light for a garment of faded leaves. Noah built and voyaged
alone - his neighbors laughed at his strangeness and perished in style.
Abraham wandered and worshipped alone - Sodomites smiled at the simple
shepherd, followed the fashion and fed the flames. Daniel dined and prayed
alone. Jeremiah prophesied and wept alone. Jesus loved and died alone.
On the lonely way His disciples should walk, Jesus
said: “Straight is the gate and narrow the way which leadeth unto life and
few there be that find it.” Of their treatment by men who walk in the broad
way, Jesus said, “If ye were of the world, the world, would love his own;
but because ye are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Peter
later stated that because the multitude went in “pernicious ways” the way of
truth would be evil spoken of.
The people in the wilderness praised Abraham and
persecuted Moses. The people under the kings praised Moses and persecuted
the prophets. The people under Caiaphas praised the prophets and persecuted
Jesus. The people under the popes praised the Savior and persecuted the
saints. And multitudes now, in the church and in the world, applaud the
courage of the patriarchs and prophets, the apostles and martyrs, but
condemn as stubbornness or foolishness, that same faithfulness today.
(Author Unknown, The Kaysville Herald, I:06,Sept. 9, 1990)
(Current events in the
light of Scripture)
Joe R. Price
The Zimbabwe sports world was rocked last
week when it learned that one of that nation’s top female track stars was in
fact, a man.
The athlete, Samukeliso Sithole, has been
charged with offensive behavior and impersonation. After the arrest, a
medical examination established that “she” was a “he.”
Sithole’s explanation: his parents failed
to fully pay the village healer who supposedly “healed” his masculinity at
birth, but reversed the “healing” as punishment when his parents only paid
half his fee. (Confused? Me too!) (“Zimbabwe sports in a tizzy over gender
bender,” Michael Wines, New York Times, Feb. 10, 2005)
Believe it or not, there are some
spiritual lessons to be learned from this strange tale:
1. Deceivers mislead others and
themselves. The Bible warns of “evil men and imposters will grow worse and
worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). We must vigilantly
examine what we are taught to see if it is from the word of God (1 Jno. 4:1,
6; 1 Ths. 5:21).
2. Some people will believe a lie in spite
of what the truth really is. This man claims to have been “healed” of his
masculinity, only to have it “reversed.” In like manner, those who do not
love the truth of God will believe error in spite of what the Bible says (2 Ths. 2:9-12). For example, the Bible says baptism saves, but some will argue
to the grave that it is not (Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).
3. All liars and cheaters will eventually
be exposed. The lake of fire (the second death) waits “all liars” (Rev.
21:8). Cheaters do not win in the long run.