Matthew – Day 21 – Gentleness
lease begin by reading the Shema out loud and continue trying to memorize it.
“Hear, O Israel. The LORD is our God. The LORD alone. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Amen.”
Continue trying to memorize “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:1-12). Today we add verse 5.
The third beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew 5:5. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Meekness refers to an inner attitude: a mind and heart that yield to God. It is important to remember that this kind of meekness is founded upon the first two beatitudes: Poorness of spirit and being mournful. Meekness must be based on humility that admits we cannot know the way on our own and faith in the One who guides us. Even though we may have made an initial decision to follow Christ, we can still, at any moment, choose to stop following Him, and again become lost.
So what does it mean to be meek? The Hebrew word praus means “mild” or “gentle”.
Read 1 Corinthians 4:21 (out loud). Here Paul contrasts a spirit of gentleness or meekness with a rod of discipline. He also couples meekness with love.
Read 2 Corinthians 10:1 (out loud). In this scripture, Paul says that meekness and gentleness were characteristics of Christ.
In James 3:13, we are told that gentleness is something that is brought on by wisdom.
Meekness is not a temporary phase that a Christian goes through. It is the basic attitude with which a godly person lives until the day he or she dies. Meekness means that we are ready to learn from the only One who knows everything that is worth learning. It is being teachable throughout our lives.
Meekness is listed with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23.
Paul urges the Ephesians to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness…” (Ephesians 4:2) He also urges the Colossians to clothe themselves with “a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…” (Colossians 3:12).
Meekness is also how we are approach others. In Galatians 6:1, we are told to talk with a person who is discovered in some sin with a spirit of gentleness. In 2 Timothy 2:24-25 we are told that we “must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness.”
Another interesting thing to consider in this particular beatitude is why do the meek inherit the earth? This idea was originally written in Psalm 37:10-11 where David writes:
A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.
In our Western minds there is a big difference between the concept of earth and the concept of land. The original promise to Abraham was about land – The Promised Land – The Holy Land. At the time that Jesus was speaking this beatitude, Israel had lost the land. They were occupied by Rome.
At that time, there was a group of people referred to as the Zealots. They were involved in a political movement that sought to rebel against the Roman Empire and reclaim the Holy Land by use of force. When you take this into consideration, it seems that Jesus is giving His “battle plan” and it directly contradicts that of the Zealots.
Later, at the time of Jesus’ arrest (in Matthew 26), Jesus tells Peter, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Here in this beatitude, Jesus is telling His followers that His way is going to be different.
We must remember that we are walking though a world that only one person has navigated successfully. We do not know the right way to go, so we must make the decision to let Christ lead the way with us following in the dust of His feet. Unlike us, He knows what He is doing and how to get back home.
When we become a Christian we are not suddenly given all the wisdom that allows us to know better than the LORD. The meek do things Christ’s way – even when it might seem that another way is more logical.
Our job is to simply trust and obey.
Stephen Willis’ Discipleship Materials