“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Think for just a moment of the cross. The cross is perfection; bloody, bruised, messy perfection. The sinless and spotless Lamb spilled His blood on the cross despite His perfect condition. And not only was this Lamb perfect, but this Lamb was all powerful. He had the ability to take Himself off the cross, yet He chose to stay and die for all of us who are dirty, broken, sinners.
Jesus knew that choosing to revoke His right to use His power in that moment, would result in a reward far greater than the temporary pain He suffered. Jesus understood that surrendering His power was not the same thing as weakness.
“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” – Philippians 2: 6-8
It was meekness.
When we think about the cross, we realize what a tall order it is to be meek. If we have the power to do something, why would we choose not to use it? Pride is our default reaction. Our natural instinct is to do what is in our power to do. To fix it according to our standards. To have it our way. Our initial instinct is about us. Quite simply, pride is about power and control. Pride is about “me”.
Meekness is just the opposite. It’s about surrendering control to the one who has ALL power. Meekness is not about being powerless, it’s about being lowly. It’s remaining teachable and demonstrating love and self-control. It’s preferring others above ourselves and acknowledging our ways are not best. Meekness is about Him and others.
Learning this lesson can be a hard pill to swallow. Those who attend church in America can be guilty of haughtiness – you know, thinking we’re better than someone else because we’re all powerful. We prefer everything to go our way and be exactly how we like it. When this doesn’t happen, we choose to exert our power over the situation and do something about it. We may make our opinion known or choose to leave and ﬁnd somewhere else that appeases our appetites…for a while. Our experience as part of a church body becomes all about us. The songs have to be our musical style in order for us to participate in worship. The pastors have to speak in a style we like or we can’t “receive” anything. The church members (and even visitors) have to be dressed the way we would dress (i.e., look like us), or we tend to judge them. Basically, we want the power over all these things; to control the situation in our favor because we know best and deserve what we want. And so the motive of our heart is revealed. Yes, it is pride, and when we realize this is what’s inside of us, it is humbling.
Then we encounter (whether for the first time or the hundredth) the cross. We are faced with our sin and His glory. We mourn because we now understand that we deserve death, but He comforts us with life. It seems that when we finally “wake up” to the fact that He lowered Himself, not only to take the punishment for our disobedience, but also to give us a gift in its place, the response can only be meekness.
This encounter confronts the pride in our system with the glory of meekness.
Pride blinds us to what we are missing by shunning meekness. When we make our preference a prerequisite for worship, for trust in God, and for loving others, we are giving up our inheritance. But when we chose to humble ourselves and lay down our sense of entitlement, He will give us a much greater reward; we will inherit the earth! We trade in our likes, dislikes, and ideas…our power…to gain the entire world.