Bliss for the Gentle … and the best of Life!

Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness,
Opened my eyes, let me see beauty that made this heart adore You –
Hope of a life spent with You.
King of all days, oh, so highly exalted glorious in heaven above.
Humbly You came to the earth You created,
All for love’s sake became poor.
So, here I am to worship, here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You’re my God.
You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me!

Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. (NIV)
I have been meditating on this verse this past week while working through my Precepts’ material. I’m struck with the amazing thought:  the Lord has orchestrated a study on humility/meekness during this season of the year. CHRISTmas. Recently Brent completed his series through the Sermon on the Mount (as we’ve come to call it in the church) from Matthew 5-7 so I’m getting somewhat familiar with these particular verses. Many of the teachings of Jesus are “wrapped up” in these chapters of Matthew. To be honest, I think I could study these verses for the rest of my life, never moving on to any other passages of scripture, and have plenty to think about and much to pray into my life!

So here I am to learn. And it’s CHRISTmas. What more appropriate learning could be taking place in my life than me digging into what this CHRIST we celebrate had to say to us. And as I’ve studied this week, I’ve been moved again to worship Him. That’s what studying the Word and looking for Him will do. When I really do that, I realize more than ever that it’s not just about the knowledge. It’s not just about the study. It’s about the worship. If all this time of scripture learning and digging doesn’t lead me to worship Him, then it’s actually all meaningless and worthless. 
So here I am to worship. Jesus, You stepped down into darkness and opened my eyes to see. Humbly You came to the world YOU created. You are altogether wonderful to me! As I’ve done my word study on those who are “gentle”, the thing I’ve most noticed is that the One who was teaching on this particular characteristic – praus, in the Greek – is the very One who embodied this quality. Emmanuel: God with us. Gentleness among us.

His birth was announced to the poorest and lowliest among the world. Shepherds. No trumpets. No fanfare. The crowds were amazed at His teaching. As One Who spoke with authority, unlike the teachers they knew in the synagogues. And yet little children came close to Him. He encouraged them to do so. Prostitutes felt safe with Him – not condemned like with the others. Tax collectors sought Him and ate with Him. Fisherman followed Him. The sick and needy crowded Him. He gently and humbly healed the soldier’s ear who came to arrest Him. From the cross, He asked His Father to forgive those who murdered Him in their ignorance.  At the mention of her name, she recognized Him and His gentle voice … Mary. Thomas doubted Him, but Jesus reached out His wounded hands to him. My LORD and my God! Thomas knew. His closest friend denied Him, but was loved by Him and restored to Him. Feed My sheep, He had spoken gently to Simon Peter.

Gentleness (praus) is a word that speaks of a disposition of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. I have been stuck on this definition all week! Oh to have this kind of humility and obedience toward my good Father. Jesus came into our fallen world knowing the cross would be in His future. So clearly seen was His gentleness as He cried and prayed in the garden not my will, but Yours. (Matthew 26)
The Old Testament story of Joseph (Genesis 50) also gives a wonderful example of what the meek/gentle person says. Can we like Joseph say to those who hurt us, and with no resentment toward them or God … as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result. I’ve learned that this is what the meekness of the Bible looks like, and I realize just how far from living this out I am.

One commentator put it like this: O the bliss of the man who is always angry at the right time, and never angry at the wrong time.  Who has every instinct, and impulse, and passion under control because he himself is God-controlled. Who has the humility to realize his own weakness. Such a man is a king among men.
When I read these words, my thoughts went straight to Jesus: the King who came to us, gentle and riding on a donkey. (Matthew 21:5) When He was accused and abused, He never was vindictive. When He was mocked and spat upon, He answered nothing, for He trusted His Father.  Confronted by Pilate, he kept silent. But He also stood up fearlessly in defense of others. The meekness of Christ could not ignore the moneychangers. Even in His teachings in Matthew 5-7, He spoke with boldness against the Pharisees’ hardness of heart and misuse of God’s teachings.

So, the great truth in all of this? Why does it lead me to worship Him? Because, not only was Jesus my example, He is my Enabler!! Jesus was the epitome of gentleness. And He offers Himself to me. Come to Me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest for your souls. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.  My yoke is easy, My load is light. (Matt 11) And, through the power of the Holy Spirit we possess the gentleness we need. (Gal 5)
In the power of Christ, I can possess a gentle spirit because I trust God. As I’m filled with the Holy Spirit I possess great strength and self-control, which is lived out through love rather than retaliation against those who hurt me. As a person of gentleness, I can stand up for others and for the truth as the occasion arises.

Blissful are the gentle for they will get the best out of life – now and forever. (MDR) – Melodye Dawson Reeves 🙂

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead me, for I need You to help me find my way.
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed me, for I need Your strength from day to day.
There’s no other I can turn to who can help me face another day.
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead me, for I need You to help me find my way.

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