We come to look at the eighth of these qualities or characteristics in the fruit of the Holy Spirit - Gentleness - or Meekness - or Humility. We always need to remember that these are not natural qualities and characteristics - but supernatural. These words have become part of our everyday language, but we are looking at the fruit of God the Holy Spirit in the lives of disciples of Jesus Christ.
We have been looking at the Love of God - the Joy of God - the Peace of God - and we are considering this as the Gentleness - or Meekness of God.
Meekness is NOT weakness. That needs to be said clearly.
Meekness or Humility is strength - real spiritual strength - given to us or grown in us by God Himself.
In Numbers Chapter 12 verse 3, we read that Moses was the meekest man in all the earth, and Moses certainly was not weak.
A man who is called of God to go through what he went through - courageously facing Pharaoh - and then leading two and a half million people for 40 years was certainly not regarded by God as being weak.
No - it means - being humbly submissive - gently obedient - and that in turn imparts authority. PRAOTES is the word used in Galatians and it has that sense of – do not fight against God or struggle or contend with Him. It speaks of mind and heart.
Matthew 11 verse 29 - Consider Jesus’ Words. "Come to me all who are weary and burdened - I am gentle and humble in heart". No-one in his right mind would regard Jesus Christ as being weak.
Back in Matthew Chapter 8, the Roman Centurion certainly did not look upon Jesus as being wet, wishy-washy or some soft wimp. He recognised Jesus as being a man having authority, because He willingly placed Himself under the authority of His Heavenly Father.
It is in this sense that the disciple of Jesus is called to be humble and meek and strong and having an authority which flows out of his obedient submission.
Humility and meekness are frequently caricatured by the world. The world has little time for meekness. We really need all three words - Gentleness - Meekness - Humility. They describe Jesus. We have seen how each of these flavours of the fruit of the Holy Spirit point us to Jesus - it is a becoming more and more like Jesus.
We see here the picture of a person who has the desire to serve without any arrogance and without looking for any reward. The disciple of Jesus is not interested in that. He gradually becomes less interested in titles and honours and distinctions - and money. His heart is not set on these - his heart is set on GOD. His fulfillment is not in things - but in GOD. His desire is not to accumulate possessions - his desire is to please the Father. And to do these things we need to cultivate meekness or gentleness, remembering that there comes with it a spiritual authority which has to be exercised - an authority to heal the sick - to minister to the poor and needy - to confront hypocrisy or cast out demons when we have to.
When Jesus took time to make that whip and use it on people in the Temple, He used it meekly and gently, but firmly and with accuracy.
Turn to that scenario in John 13 when Jesus met with His men. No-one was prepared to do the servant's task of washing the dirty feet of the others, but Jesus did.
Verse 4 - Jesus got up from the meal table - laid aside His outer robe - took a towel and water - and washed the feet of these disciples.
Jesus did the job that nobody else would do. But see why Jesus was able to do that. He rose from a position of security. Jesus knew certain things. He knew what His Father was going to do. He knew where He had come from and He knew where He was going.
It can be helpful to consider the opposites at times. There are certain things we must never confuse with humility - self belittling - "O I could never do that". That is not humility - that is some feigned artificial feeling which we think might impress people.
Humility is NOT a cringing servile attitude. It is not to be confused with an inferiority complex. People who have been abused in childhood - or disappointed by adults - can feel in some way inferior - and that can remain with them for the rest of their lives. Jesus can deal with that - and heal that - and grow real humility and meekness and authority - which is all based upon God's Word.
I have noticed over the years that people whose voices become strong in the Prayer Meeting or the prayer times, suddenly become stronger in other areas of their lives. Meekness before the Father reveals itself in other areas and arenas of life. If you speak openly before the Father, speaking before men is not so awesome or terrifying.
We see and hear Jesus speaking with the Father, and then dealing with the Pharisees - the religious hypocrites and critics.
Romans 12 verse 3 teaches us to have a right picture of ourselves - a proper view - in accordance with the measure of Faith which God has given you. If a man has no faith he can get it. Remember Romans 10 verse 17 - Faith comes.
Faith is travelling to each one of us just now - as we accept His Word. We will receive Faith. Faith will increase. Faithfulness will grow. It depends in a way upon our ability and willingness to receive - our openness to Jesus and His Word - and the message which the Holy Spirit wishes to bring to you.
That leads us on to seeing that Gentleness or Humility is having a teachable spirit - James 1verse 21. It is quite similar to Galatians 5.
It teaches us what to get rid of first - all the rubbish and rubble - any immorality - any filth - sorry - not 'any' - but ALL - and humbly accept the Word planted in you.
We have to clear the ground of weeds, if we want Jesus to plant His Word in us.
It is the Word which can save us - it is the word which can rescue us from all kinds of situations - from various sins - and from various sicknesses and pains.
People can find themselves in situations and they wish they could get out of them, and the way out is to accept and receive this Word, and respond to God's Word positively.
If a man or a people or even a nation has no intention of being enlightened by this Book - if people will not come to it humbly for Correction and Guidance, then it can shut like a clam, and they go away in darkness.
Returning to Galatians 6 verse 1 - here is an instruction regarding how we are to correct people. It is not easy, but it is necessary. If someone is caught in a sin - you who are spiritual - should restore him - gently - with humility - with meekness - but firmly - and there is this warning.
Enlightenment leads to conflict! Have you noticed that? Every road that leads to the Kingdom of God has conflict or tribulation along it. Acts 14 verse 22.
Of course, we have to recognise and accept that some will not be corrected. Some refuse to pay any heed. Some will go their own way. Some do not want to be restored - and that is always sad to watch and witness.
There is a word in 2 Timothy 2 verse 25, as to how to correct those who show opposition to the Word of God - those who rebel. We are told what to flee from and what to pursue.
Who are you with? - Those who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart? And there in verse 25 is the word gently - meekly - humbly - but firmly.
Firm meek instruction has an aim - a goal - that God will grant those who oppose those who rebel - a spirit of repentance - leading them to a knowledge of the truth. God wants them to come to their senses, and escape the trap of the devil who has taken them captive - to do his will.
We have to ask at times - whose will am I doing? Am I still flowing in the power of the Holy Spirit?
1 Peter 3 verse 13 - Peter gives very similar advice. Verse.15 - Always be able to explain why you believe and what you believe. Do this with gentleness and respect, so that those who speak against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. The reason is to be given gently - humbly - but firmly and accurately.
While we are in I Peter look at 5 verses 5,6. God resists the proud. God repels their advances. It is the man who comes humbly, whom He receives and hears and blesses.
HUMBLE YOURSELVES THEREFORE - never never ask God to make you humble. Just do it. Grow that fruit. Allow it to appear.
It is not just surrendering to God, essential though that is. It is having a broken spirit, which does not fight back, or resist, or react negatively. It humbly submits to His Holy and Perfect Will - and His Desire is to grow this quality within our lives.
“Lord Jesus, I can never have too much of You. Draw near, come closer and fill me afresh with gentleness, meekness, and forbearance. So that I may serve more faithfully.” Amen.
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