What is Christian Living? Desirability of Meekness & Appetite for Righteousness
Have you ever wondered what Christian living should look like? Do you ever find yourself considering – have I missed something? If so, join the countless others of us who do the same.
In today’s episode, we continue our look at the Beatitudes, and what Jesus has to say through them about Christian living. Today we look specifically at what He says about Meekness and Hungering after His Righteousness.
Last study we discussed how the Beatitudes are hard because they are so counter cultural. We defined blessed according to the Bible. To do that we went to Genesis and discovered: to experience prosperity, peace, and fulfillment. As we’re walking through this we’re learning this is a process, it’s not one and done it’s continuous and all of these statements are connected leading us into the next.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
We are poor in spirit when we recognize our need for God. This draws us to a state of repentance where we mourn our self-sufficiency.
This leads us into our next Beatitude.
True repentance will lead us to a place where we surrender control to God. The amplified version of the Bible says repentance in Acts 2:38 means change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways, accept and follow Jesus as the Messiah.
First up we’ll talk about embracing meekness in a culture where assertiveness and aggressiveness are esteemed.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
What does a meek person look like to you?
Meekness is contentment with who you are and with where God has called you. Example: Jesus had the power to do anything he wanted yet allowed betrayal and death. He is the perfect picture of meekness. For Him to allow this to happen required self-control, submission and surrender.
Our culture tends to teach us those who are meek are week. To say meekness is weakness considering Jesus’ example however is absurd.
Someone who is meek understands the pour of mourning and brokenness (Penthos & Ptochos the Greek words mentioned in Lesson 1) and submission to authority. This understanding produces within them a gentleness and peace bringing life to those around them.
The Greek word for Meek is Prays with two dots over the y. This word is used to describe a soothing medicine and a gentle breeze. It was also used in reference to taming wild animals. Think about that something once wild has been tamed. Meekness is power under control. Submitting strength to someone who can put it to greater use.
Let’s look deeper
Matthew 26:47-68 “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”
When Jesus was being arrested and put on trial, how did he display a meek spirit?
What could he have done?
How do the following verses help us to understand meekness?
2 Corinthians 10:1-6, “Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not [a]carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
Psalm 37:11, “But the meek shall inherit the earth. And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Zephaniah 3:12, I shall leave in your midst a meek and humble people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.
Meekness is not natural to us but requires daily discipline and practice.
It requires constant constraint to not be conformed to society but focus on God working through us.
How does meekness help us as a disciple of Jesus?
Let’s look at another example of meekness.
1 Samuel 25 – David, Nabal, and Abigail.
Nabal means fool. In this chapter we read that he has refused to feed David and his men after they had graciously watched over his flocks and shepherds. Nabal’s servants see what he has done and they go to his wife Abigail.
23 Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground. 24 So she fell at his feet and said: “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant [f]speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant. 25 Please, let not my lord [g]regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: [h]Nabal is his name, and folly is with him! But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent. 26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging[i] yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil is not found in you throughout your days. 32 Then David said to Abigail: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33 And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand. 34 For indeed, as the Lord God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!” 35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person.” How does Abigail show meekness in this – what benefit is there? Abigail shows us a picture of surrender. When we truly surrender control to the Lord. She was meek, and we see here the power of a meek spirit. From meekness we are led directly into our next Beatitude which develops within us a hunger and thirst for more of the Lord.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
God uses the natural to explain the spiritual. We see this with our hunger and thirst.
Just as we die without food and water in the physical, we die spiritually when we don’t feed our spirit.
Some of us get hangry when we don’t eat food. The same happens with out spirit food, but many of us just as we mistake the reason we’re hangry mistake the reason we’re frustrated all the time.
This Beatitude acknowledges our hunger and thirst and says we should be feasting on righteousness. Feeding our spirit by feasting on righteousness gives us a sense of purpose and meaning.
What are ways you feed we should spirit?
We are not blessed if we hunger and thirst for things other than righteousness because it will never fulfill us.
We all have this empty pit we’re trying to fill but unless it’s being filled with righteousness it’s still empty no matter how much we try to stuff in that space.
Hungering for righteousness and having a sacred desire for Christ alone develops an intimacy with Christ that lays the foundation of our faith. This hunger helps us develop a life that pushes aside distractions that do not satisfy this hunger.
Several years back I did a rigid Daniel fast. Only vegetables and water for 21 days. Prior to going in I could eat sugar and not be bothered by it. But after that, I could taste the sugar in jarred spaghetti sauce and for a while it repulsed me. I pushed it away and wanted those vegetables again. The same is true when we hunger and thirst after God’s righteousness our appetites are being changed and the things that were empty and had no value are suddenly distasteful and we want more and more of what truly satisfies our hunger.
I ask you to consider with me today – what are you feeding on? Status, success, career, family, education? Hurt, habits, hang ups? What do you look for to find satisfaction?
Let’s think through these and pray over them. I look forward to joining with you again as we look to the next lesson on the Beatitudes and how they correlate to Christian Living.