“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5, NIV).
One of the hardest jobs for me as a mom is teaching meekness to my kids. I am anything but meek so teaching it to them is a bit tricky. Meekness denotes humility, another lost art in the human race. Our natural inclination is to stand up for our rights, defend ourselves, speak up. Again, if we look at Jesus’ example we find the exact opposite of what we would do. Every time I read the encounter He had with His accusers just before His crucifixion, I can’t help but think to myself, Stand up for yourself. Say something. Though Christ’s meekness was part of a greater plan for our redemption, it is also the greatest example of how to handle adversity.
“Meekness is the power to absorb adversity and criticism without lashing back.” John Piper
When we exercise the attitude of meekness, we are claiming nothing for ourselves. We give up our rights, wholly depending on God for our defense. That’s a hard one. I remember I used to tell my son he’d better never start a fight, but if someone else started one with him he’d better finish it. I wanted my son to be the one standing. It makes perfect sense coming from the mouth of a mom who would do anything to protect her kid, but it’s completely unbiblical.
In my mind the opposite of meekness is being a doormat. I get all weirded out thinking if I’m meek and mild I’ll get walked all over. I don’t want that for me and I certainly don’t want it for my kids. Why should they have to take a backseat to someone else or lay down their opinions on the altar of someone else’s? But meekness plays off the idea of being poor in spirit, completely dying to yourself, your whims, your will and submitting to that of Christ. When I look at people who model this characteristic, they are the ones I really want to be around and not so I can boss them around. There is something about this quiet humility that is so appealing to me. When compared to the my last-man-standing attitude, it’s easy to see which is the better choice.
If our kids want to stand up for something, the gospel is what’s worth their defense. Isn’t that what it’s all about? It goes back to why are we here on this earth? Is it for the accumulation of good things on earth to make our existence here more pleasant? Is it to get what is “due” us? Is it for the purpose of standing up for our rights?
As I’ve said so many times before, I’ve come to realize that my sole purpose on this earth is to honor God with my life. In doing that, my perspective shifts off of myself and onto Him. I defend one thing and one thing only, the gospel. That’s the ultimate goal. I’m not there yet, but I hang onto the promise that He who began a good work in me will complete it.
In light of raising a world-changer, the practice of meekness comes slowly. I’m fighting against the culture, the ego-centricity of my kids, the life they want over the life they’ve been called to. The key, I believe, is to once again turn their eyes to Jesus constantly reminding them of the fact that He has a plan for their lives, one specifically designed with them in mind. But to grab hold of it requires a dying of self. They cannot have both.
His promise of inheriting the earth, I believe, is a life of peace on this earth despite what’s going on around us. For the future, this promise is refers to the untold blessings of eternity with Him.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”