Mastering Self (4)
How to Apply Meekness
Donnie V. Rader
Previously we have defined meekness and considered the passages that demand that we be meek as the Lord was meek. In this study we will list some areas wherein we need to apply meekness. Remember that meekness involves: (a) humility toward God and man, (b) submission to God's will, (c) accepting the discipline we receive, (d) gentleness and mildness, and (e) self-control or inner mastery or strength.
Receive The Word With Meekness
James wrote, "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (Jas. 1:21). This means that we will accept and do what the word says. We will not question and doubt. We will believe and do. None of us is wise enough to sit in judgment on God and question what his word says (Rom. 11:34). Therefore, with meekness (humility and submission) we accept what God says.
It is not uncommon to see people who pass what the word of God says through the process of human reasoning to see if they think it is acceptable or not. If it doesn't fit their own wisdom, they reject it. That doesn't just happen among the denominations either!
One who is meek is teachable. He is willing to listen and be taught. He has an open mind (Acts 17:11). One who is meek never resents being shown the truth.
Teach With Meekness
Paul instructed the young preacher Timothy saying, "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God per--adventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth" (2 Tim. 2:24-25, Emphasis mine DVR).
As we give our defense for our faith, we are to do so with meekness. Peter said, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1 Pet. 3:15).
One who seeks to teach others must himself submit to the message that is taught (1 Tim. 4:16). The Jews didn't have much success in trying to change the Gentiles while they were guilty of the same sins they condemned (Rom. 2).
He must not be an arrogant, know-it-all as he seeks to instruct others. Rather, he must be open to learning himself. We must not confuse confidence as a teacher with arrogance. We must be confident of our ability as well as the message. But that is not necessarily arrogance.
Furthermore, as we teach we may have to endure some hardness as a soldier (2 Tim. 2:3). There will be times we will take a little heat for what we have taught. Learning to bear with that is part of meekness.
Correct Sin With Meekness
When a brother or sister is guilty of sin, those who are spiritual are instructed to "restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1). As we go to our fellow Christian, we cannot approach them with a "better-than-thou" (self-righteous) attitude. We cannot afford to look down our noses at them as to say, "How dare you to be guilty of sin."
Our approach will be more successful if we: (1) are humble, (2) realize it could happen to us, (3) don't leave the impression that we think we are guiltless [1 John 1:8] and (4) show our love and compassion. This doesn't suggest that we take a soft approach to sin. It just means that we deal with it and the sinner with a spirit of meekness.
Deal With Problems And
Disagreements With Meekness
In Ephesians, Paul urges all Christians to strive toward unity. In the fourth chapter he mentions some of the attitudes that will help promote unity. He writes, "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:2-3).
Problems and disagreements can disrupt the unity that a local church enjoys. If we all had meekness in dealing with church problems and disagreements, few if any divisions would occur. With meekness the first question will always be "What does the Lord want?" or "What is right?" The question will not be, "What do I want?" With meekness we will control our tongues (Jas. 1:19, 26). The tongue causes many, if not most, of the problems and disagreements in local churches.
With meekness we will not insist on our "rights." Rather, we will waive those rights for the sake of the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 9). With meekness we will not easily come to blows with those we disagree with.
Meekness As A Characteristic
Of Our Whole Life
Meekness is not merely a "tool" that we pull out when we are teaching or being taught, etc. It is a quality that should characterize our life. All Christians, not just some should be meek. The fruit of the spirit is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22-23). All Christians are instructed to "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering" (Col. 3:12).
In another article we will focus on temperance and see areas wherein we need to apply it.
Guardian of Truth XL: 8 p. 18-19