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Read Introduction to Galatians

 

“…gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

 

“Gentleness” is the second fruit of the Spirit of a triad directed toward God. 

gentleness,

The Greek word for “gentleness” is not readily expressed in English; the English word conveys mildness or pusillanimity. The Greek does nothing of the kind. It does not imply that a gentle or meek person cannot help himself. Sometimes, “gentleness” is translated as meekness. Our Lord was meek because He had God’s infinite resources at His command (2 Co 10:1). Yet if we put gentleness or meekness in negative terms, it is the opposite of self-assertiveness or self-interest. This person has a stable soul that is not cast down or elated because he is not occupied with himself. 

Trench, a Greek scholar, renders “gentleness” as inwrought grace exercised chiefly towards God (Jas 1:21; 3:13; 1 Pe 3:15). This person’s temper accepts all God’s dealings with him as good. He endures anything that may come his way because he accepts adverse circumstances from God. He does not fight God on any issue.

“Gentleness” or meekness is not weakness but unselfishness. There is a big difference between weakness and selflessness. A meek person is a powerful person. The Bible calls Moses “meek;” he was a strong leader but, at the same time, carried meekness in his soul. He did not have the attitude of arrogant self-sufficiency.

Meekness does not mean self-effacement. Meekness indicates that we have no illusions about ourselves. We think in terms of inwrought grace. Everything that we have and are is from God’s grace. We deserve nothing from God. Everything is a gift from Him. We do not deal with God or others on a merit system.

Jesus called Himself “meek” (Matthew 11:28, 29). His mission was to do the Father’s will. Jesus was meek because He understood that He had all the infinite resources of God at his call. Paul personally utilized Christ’s meekness in his life. 

“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 Corinthians 10:1).

Principle:

A meek person operates on inwrought grace. 

Application:

A meek person understands that he has the infinite resources of God at his call. He does not try to make deals with God. He views himself as worth nothing before God. He operates on inwrought grace exercised chiefly toward God, so he does not resist God’s sovereign actions on his soul. He does not fight God’s will. He recognizes everything that he has, he has from God.

When Shimei cursed David and flung stones at him, David accepted that action from God, not from Shimei (2 Samuel 16:11). David accepted this action as an action of God’s justice.

A meek orientation does not mean we have no regard for ourselves but do not assert ourselves for our own sake. This is the opposite of pride. When we commit entirely personal vengeance to God’s justice, we depend on God. This is not to say that we cannot stand up for ourselves, but it does mean that we do not assert our rights for our own sake independently of God.

When a “meek” person accepts God’s dealings with them as just and proper, grace is shaped into their soul. They recognize God’s dealings in their lives and accept those dealings as God’s perfect will. This is the polar opposite of self-assertiveness. These are people who do not live for self-interest but for others. They have a sense of even-temperateness toward others.

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering…” (Colossians 3:12 ).

“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 Peter 3:15).

God does not take delight in weakness. Meekness is not weakness. God does not want us to come to Him with our tales between our legs like a whipped dog. He does not take delight in dispensing His grace to whipped dogs that wag their tales out of fear. He does not hold feeble character in high value.

Some people, by nature, are more mild-mannered than others. This is not “meekness.” A natural good disposition comes from our heritage, not our character. This would mean that a person who has a coarse character could not develop meekness in the power of the Spirit. Moses was meek, not because he was that way by nature. He killed an Egyptian in a rage. A meek person is someone whom God orients to a blessed life (Matthew 11:28). Jesus does not say, “Blessed are those who have the greatest success in life” or “Blessed are the gifted and clever” but “Blessed are the meek.”

Meekness is the state whereby a person enjoys who and what God is. We cannot acquire meekness by following some overt behavior pattern. Meekness comes from God, who works within us. We cannot have this apart from God. When we have it, we operate independently from external influences on our souls, for we enjoy God regardless of circumstance. We cannot make God blessed, but He can make us blessed.

“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

What happens within us is more important than what happens to us. If we build no inner buttresses, then we will fall prey to what happens to us. We have no defense against the enemy. Some fall prey to bitterness because they do not have a counteracting quality of character to stand against it.

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