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Finding Happiness (part 3)

Matthew 5:5

“Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.” (NKJV)

 Today we study the third step in finding happiness, and like the second step, it is requires some reflection to fully understand it.  Jesus says that the meek are happy people and that they will inherit the earth.  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t naturally associate meekness with happiness.  Whenever I hear the work meek I think of someone with a wedgie personality, who allows other people to run all over them.  You know the type I’m speaking of, emotional doormats.  I’ve never looked at a person like that and thought they were happy.

 Do you think Jesus is saying the third step toward happiness is to allow other people to push you around, to be a big fat zero in life?  I don’t.  But that is one definition of meekness.

 If you listen to talk radio, watch daytime TV or stayed awake during your psych 101 class in college, you’ve probably heard the term passive-aggressive.  This person feigns cooperation, but exhibits behavior that undermines their verbal commitments.  Their behavior is destructive and will unravel a family or other social organization if they aren’t stopped. Meek people aren’t passive-aggressive, they’re just passive.  They are spineless jellyfish who acquiesce to any demand or request.  They lie down and play dead at the first sign of disagreement or conflict.  Their behavior says, your rights are important, mine are not—do whatever you wish to me.   The opposite of passive is aggressive.  These people are charging bulls who demand that the world cater to them.  Their behavior says, “Give in to me because my rights are important and yours are not!”

 The passive person is meek.  The aggressive person is arrogant.  The first step to happiness is to be poor in spirit, therefore, we know that God’s will isn’t for us to be arrogant, but is He telling us to be passive in this verse?

 That is not the way Paul behaved in Acts 16:35-37.  It says, “Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their policemen, saying, ‘Release those men.’ [36] And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, ‘The chief magistrates have sent to release you. Now therefore, come out and go in peace.’ [37] But Paul said to them, ‘They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out.’” (NASB)

 Paul isn’t passive here or aggressive, he is assertive.  That is to say, while he acknowledges the rights of the Roman government and obviously is willing to submit to its authority, he also exhibits an understanding that his rights are also important.

 Is it that Paul didn’t know the third step toward happiness, or does meekness mean something different here?

 To ask it another way, does meekness mean weakness?

 Paul wasn’t weak, but in 2 Corinthians 10:1-2 He said, “I, Paul, make a personal appeal to you—I who am said to be meek and mild when I am with you, but harsh with you when I am away. By the gentleness and kindness of Christ [2] I beg you not to force me to be harsh when I come; for I am sure I can deal harshly with those who say that we act from worldly motives.” (TEV)

 The Bible calls Moses meek in Numbers 12:3, which says, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (KJV)  Was Moses weak?  I don’t think so.  In Exodus 2:12, Moses became angry at the way the Egyptians were treating the Hebrews and in his anger, he killed a man. Certainly, Moses' outrage was justified, but when he acted out of his anger, he committed a great sin. I don’t’ cite this example to commend Moses’ behavior, only to say that he wasn’t a weak man—he had enough strength to overcome this man and kill him.

 Jesus is another man called meek in the Bible.  In Matthew 11:29 he said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (KJV)  Was Jesus weak?  Absolutely not.  Matthew 21:12-13 says, “Jesus went into the temple and chased out everyone who was selling or buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of the ones who were selling doves. [13] He told them, ‘The Scriptures say, 'My house should be called a place of worship.' But you have turned it into a place where robbers hide.’” (CEV)  
Single-handedly Jesus ran the crooks out of the temple.  A great physical feat.  He was meek, but He wasn’t weak.

  The Psalmist gives us a clue in understanding this verse.  In Psalms 37:8-13, he wrote, “Don't give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble. [9] Those who trust in the Lord will possess the land, but the wicked will be driven out. [10] Soon the wicked will disappear; you may look for them, but you won't find them; [11] but the humble will possess the land and enjoy prosperity and peace. [12] The wicked plot against good people and glare at them with hate. [13] But the Lord laughs at wicked people, because he knows they will soon be destroyed.” (TEV)

 The contrast in this Psalm is not between meekness and strength, but between humility and wickedness.  A meek person isn’t weak, they are strong, but the strength is righteous—it is under the control of God.

 Meek people have a high value in the sight of God.  1 Peter 3:4 says, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (KJV)  They are people that are under God’s control and are ready to submit to Him.  

 They are dependant upon Him.  Exodus 3:11 says, “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?’” (NASB)  Whenever we walk from underneath the umbrella of his direction is when we get into trouble.  Like when Moses took matters in his own hands and killed the Egyptian.  But this glimpse of Moses is different.  It shows a man under control and ready to take instruction.  It was that Moses that stood before Pharaoh and said “let my people go!”

 Whenever we exert authority over another, we are to do it in a spirit of meekness. Gal 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”  (KJV)

 The first step towards happiness is to understand that when it comes to spiritual things you are totally bankrupt before God.  The second step is to mourn over that sinfulness.  The third step is to come under the control of God.

 If you want to be happy, you have to be meek.  So get in control of yourself--your world will never be in order if you are out of order!

 Learn not to react to others.  Don't let other people set your mood. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels.”  (TLB)

 Come under God’s control--learn and prove His will.  Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  (KJV)

 Like a powerful horse that is under its rider’s control, we submit to God and he controls us.  We’re not weak, just controlled.  They enjoy the blessings of the Lord. Psalm 147:6  says, ”The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. (KJV)  The wicked are destroyed, the meek are lifted up.”

 Those who are out of control lose everything—their temper, their families, their jobs, etc.  But those under control inherit everything.  Notice that the verse doesn’t say that the meek earn the earth.  It says that they inherit it, God the great giver gives it to them!

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