A Ode to Meekness

” O, you who search for the Heavenly life! Strive for meekness; increase your patience and mercy day by day; bid your tongue cease from all harsh words; withdraw your mind from selfish arguments, and refuse to brood upon your wrongs: so living, you shall carefully tend and cultivate the pure and delicate flower of meekness in your heart, until at last, its divine sweetness and purity and beauteous perfection shall be revealed to you, and you shall become gentle, joyful, and strong.

Repine not that you are surrounded by irritable and selfish people; but rather rejoice that you are so favored as to have your own imperfections revealed to you, and that you are so placed as to necessitate within you a constant struggle for self-mastery and attainment, of perfection.  The more there is of harshness and selfishness around you the greater is the need of your Meekness and love.  If others seek to wrong you, all the more is it needful that you should cease for all wrong, and live in love; if others preach Meekness, humility, and love and do not practice these, trouble not, nor be annoyed; but do, in the silence of your heart, and in your contact with others, practice these things, and they shall preach themselves.

And though you utter no melodramatic word, and stand before no gathered audience, you shall teach the whole world.  As you become meek, you shall learn the deepest secrets of the universe.  Nothing is hidden from him who overcomes himself.  Into the cause of causes shall you penetrate, and lifting, one after another, every veil of illusion, shall reach at last the inmost heart of being.

Canopied with gentleness [meekness], you shall bless where others curse; love where others hate; forgive where others condemn; yield where others strive; give up where other grasp; lose where others gain, and in their strength they shall be weak and your weakness you shall be strong; yes, you shall mightily prevail.”   James Allen

Psalm 37:11 “But the meek shall inherit the earth..” Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.”

1 Peter 3:4, “…rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle (meek) and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

 

Humility Plus

A gracious friend recently shared she is studying and working on the spiritual discipline of humility.   1 Peter 5:5 [NIV] states,  “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.”   Familiar with some works by noted author and theologian Jonathan Edwards, I reviewed an article he wrote on the subject, and found it to be in alignment with this passage.  Edwards stated that, “The man who is under the influence of a humble spirit is content with such a situation among men, as God is pleased to allot to him, and is not greedy of honor, and does not affect to appear uppermost and exalted above his neighbors.”  Humility is not arrogant, proud, exalted, it does not seek to be in the front row.  Humility is no respecter of person. It lovingly considers our status to be equal children made in the image of God.  Edwards summarized his article by pointing out that humility:

  • Seek for a deep and abiding sense of your comparative lowness before God and man.
  • Know God.
  • Confess your nothingness and ill-desert before Him.
  • Distrust yourself.
  • Rely Only On Christ.
  • Renounce all glory except for Him.
  • Yield yourself heartily to His will and service.

Self-examination and quiet reflection is designed to gain insights.  I certainly have and will continue to do so on the topic.  For in looking at this essential characteristic, I know I must continue work on being more humble.  Our culture does not extol this virtue.  Let’s face it, there are not as many stories shared about the truly humble.  Could you, at this moment name 10 people who you consider to be humble?  Who would be on your list?  Family members, celebrities, sport figures, politicians, historical personages, etc?  Right now millions of people around the world, myself included have spent precious resources developing and organizing information to promote themselves, their causes or interests.    Self promotion is the new normal, and much of it does not lend itself to being humble.   As children of God, we are instructed not to think more highly of ourselves.  Because there is an inherent danger in promoting a message, and being the messenger.   Even Jesus, at different times told those he healed to not broadcast who healed them to others.  Clearly, our Lord understands the insidious temptations involved, as well as our own self-interests.  He experienced it during his earthly ministry.  There were those ready to thrust Him into being a King even among his disciples.  But Christ came to serve.

In Isaiah 57:15, scripture tells us God inhabits the humble, and requires us to walk humbly with Him Mic.6:8.   Our Lord gave us the perfect portrait of humility when He emptied himself, and became a willing servant, even to the cross.  Picture the evening when he washed the disciples’ feet.  How could the Lord stoop to do such a thing?  Our Lord is always the benchmark. Humility speaks to us to open a space in our hearts for others.  The disciples needed an example, and now in this age there are many, many others needing real life examples of Christ-like humility.  When we perform our work with a humble spirit we bring glory unto the Lord.   No matter the occupation, season, calling or the recipient, it is to be carried out just as Jesus washing those feet.   Oh yes, humility is an essential part of the Christian experience, and it creates true servants of the most High God.

 

Humility

“True humility is a flower which will adorn any garden.  This is a sauce with which you may season every dish of life, and you will find an improvement in every case.” C.H. Spurgeon

Walking around with a covering of humility in this era of self-promotion seems a bit out of place, or does it? What does it mean to be a humble person?  Is there any value in being humble?  Does the world celebrate the truly humble?  Does it [the world] need more humble people?

Humble means

  1. modest:modest and unassuming in attitude and behavior
  2. respectful:feeling or showing respect and deference toward other people
  3. lowly: relatively low in rank and without pretensions

Think of Mother Teresa, a small woman who showed respect, and love for those suffering due to illness and bigotry.

Think of Martin Luther King, a black man who demonstrated that a person’s worth is not defined by skin color, or race but by the fact they are gifts from God.

Or Sand Springs Baptist Church in Athens, Texas that recently raised money to help an avowed atheist who pushed for the removal of Nativity Scene from the county courthouse.  When asked why they did it, the simple answer was because he needed help.  No fanfare.  No trumpets blazing, just the simple commitment to demonstrate that a humble spirit can experience the wonders of God. 

The world prefers the proud and brash. When it does recognize the humble, it comes after much upheavel. The humble prefers to do their work in quiet, knowing a greater reward awaits them.

The humble person is a witness bearer for the truth.  They may reside on your block, even in your home, but they have learned a wonderful lesson, and that is the immense joy of showing love through humility. 

Spurgeon was right.  Humility is a sweet flower that looks good on any table.  How about yours?