The Power of Meekness

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Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

Prayer position for Meekness: Bowing myself before The Lord
Blessed: Joyful and happy, to be well off, to be in the nature of that which is of the highest good, to have Divine favor.
Meekness: A simple definition is this: Meekness is power under control. Meekness is a picture of surrender. We surrender ourselves, our will, and our desires to God.  Pastor Ed Bontraiger wrote of meekness saying, “Yielding my rights to God so He can demonstrate His peace and power through us. Those who are meek are not weak. Their strength is yielded to God’s control. The meek are vessels through whom God can exhibit His power, thereby bringing balance to earthly things.”
I once heard a wonderful illustration of meekness. One pastor remembered seeing the power of an unbroken horse running around the corral. His body was ripped with muscles. He ran wild and powerfully. Later the same horse was broken. That is, the horse had been trained to be ridden. Now the horse has the same power he had before but it is power under control. That is meekness, surrendering our power to the control of God for His work and service.

The Bible says in Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
John recorded the words of Jesus in John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
We all love the idea of the Spirit who raised Christ from the dead living in us and giving us life! We love the idea of overcoming the world through Christ. We love the idea of Christ living through us! The hard part is the crucifixion. The, “I have been crucified with Christ,” is the part we struggle with.

To be crucified with Christ is to die to self-seeking pleasure and beginning to seek to bless and serve others. To be crucified with Christ is to die to self-glory and seek to lift up God and others. To be crucified with Christ is to die to self-interest and seek the interest of God, my spouse, children, and coworkers. To be crucified with Christ is to die to self-pity and live humbly. To be crucified with Christ is to die to self-righteousness and realize my constant need of God’s grace. To be crucified with Christ is to die to self-importance and make God and others the center of the stage. To be crucified with Christ is to die to self-promotion and promote God’s agenda, and promote others ahead of myself. To be crucified with Christ is to die to self-satisfaction and live to please God in all things. To be crucified with Christ is to die to self-sufficiency and fully rely on Him for our love and joy, peace and pleasure.

It is only when we are crucified with Christ we truly live. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” He also said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” (Matt. 16:24 ESV). Could it be that to truly live an abundant life we must deny ourselves? Could it be that true life through the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is in fact found in dying? Could it be that to truly overcome the world one must be crucified to it?
Jesus said in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Jesus promises eternal blessing to those who are meek, to those who deny themselves in an effort to serve God.

May we be meek, bowing ourselves before the Lord!

 

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Reignite Your Prayer Life

This Article was Written by Don Whitney October 10, 2015

Reignite Your Prayer Life

How’s your prayer life?

Hardly any question — unless perhaps if someone asks about your evangelistic efforts — can cause more chin-dropping, foot-shuffling embarrassment for Christians than asking about their prayer life.

Why is that? Why do so many followers of Jesus suffer with such unsatisfying prayer lives and consider themselves hopelessly second-rate Christians because of it?

Method Is Our Madness

For almost all followers of Jesus, I believe the problem in prayer is not with the quality of the Christian, but with the method of their prayer.

Of course, no change in method will make prayer consistently meaningful to someone who is spiritually dead. But it’s different for those who are spiritually alive. They are born again through faith in Christ and indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s presence causes them as God’s children to cry, “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6), giving them a Godward orientation they didn’t have before.

In other words, all those indwelled by the Holy Spirit really do want to pray. And if an individual Christian sincerely seeks to live for Christ, and has no specific sin issue that he or she refuses to confess and fight against, then the basic problem in prayer is not with sin or failure, but with method.

And what is the method of prayer for most Christians? It’s this: When we pray, we tend to say the same old things about the same old things. Sooner or later, that kind of prayer is boring. When prayer is boring, you don’t feel like praying. And when you don’t feel like praying, you don’t pray — at least with any fervency or consistency. Prayer feels much more like duty than delight.

The problem is not that we pray about the same old things. To pray about the same things most of the time is normal. That’s because our lives tend to consist of the same things from one day to the next. Thankfully, dramatic changes in our lives usually don’t occur very often.

No, the problem isn’t that we pray about the same old things; the problem is that we tend to say the same old things about the same old things. The result is that we can be talking to the most fascinating Person in the universe about the most important things in our lives — and be bored to death.

So we can experience boredom in prayer, not because we don’t love God, and not because we don’t love who or what we’re praying about, but because of our method.

Solution in the Spirit

What is the solution? Well, whatever it is, it must be simple. God has children all over the planet, and they represent the widest imaginable diversity in language, culture, age, IQ, education, and Christian privilege (such as access to a Bible preaching church, Christian books, Christian content online, and more). If all these believers, despite the various and dramatic differences among them, are invited to pray, then prayer must be doable by all God’s children.

The simple solution to the seemingly universal problem of saying the same old things about the same old things in prayer is this: Pray the Bible. In other words, slowly read a passage of Scripture and pray about all that comes to mind as you read.

Do this, and you’ll never again be left to say the same old things in prayer.

Simple, Powerful, Biblical

Praying the Bible isn’t complicated. Read through a few verses of Scripture, pause at the end of each phrase or verse, and pray about what the words suggest to you.

Suppose you are praying your way through Psalm 23. After reading verse one — “The Lord is my shepherd” — you might begin by thanking Jesus for being your Shepherd. Next you might ask him to shepherd your family, making your children or grandchildren his sheep, causing them to love him as their great Shepherd too. After that you might pray for your undershepherds at the church, that Jesus would shepherd them as they shepherd you.

Then, when nothing else comes to mind, you go to the next line, “I shall not want.” You might thank him that you’ve never been in real want, or pray for someone — perhaps someone you know, or for a Christian in a place of persecution — who is in want.

You would continue through the psalm until you run out of time. You wouldn’t run out of anything to say (if you did, you could just go to another psalm), and best of all, that prayer would be unlike any you’ve ever prayed in your life.

That means if you’ll pray the Bible, you’ll never again say the same old things about the same old things. You don’t need any notes or books or any plan to remember. Simply talk to God about what comes to mind as you go line-by-line through his word.

As John Piper puts it, “Open the Bible, start reading it, and pause at every verse and turn it into a prayer.”

If nothing comes to mind, go to the next verse. If you don’t understand that verse, go to the next one. If the following verse is crystal clear, but doesn’t prompt anything to pray about, read on. If you want to linger long over a single verse, pray from and about that verse as long as you want.

By this method, your prayers will be guided and shaped by Scripture, and be far more in conformity to the word and will of God than they will if you always make up your own prayers.

Jesus prayed the Bible in Matthew 27:46 and Luke 23:46, and the early church prayed the Bible in Acts 4:23–26, and so can you.

People Pleasing

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Are you a people pleaser?  Often we seek love and joy, attention, affection, and approval from others rather than finding it in God, through Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Some time ago a friend of mine expressed they were upset with me in a letter. I replied to this individual promptly in a gracious, loving, and God honoring way. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about the letter. Over and over I replayed the words of this letter in my mind. For an entire week I was consumed with the fact that this individual was unhappy with me, despite my reaching out to him. All week long I prayed for the situation, for my friend, and for myself but the uneasy feeling remained. Finally that Saturday night I went off into my bedroom to pray. As I prayed about the uneasy feeling I had over this letter the Lord spoke to me. He said, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7).
I thought about that for a little while. I hadn’t realized I had been operating out of fear. I knew I was upset that this person was upset with me but I didn’t equate that with fear. Like everyone else I have the need for love and joy. I want attention, affection, and approval. God was calling me to surrender my desire for approval from others. Please don’t misunderstand. God wants us to resolve our differences. We are called to love, forgive, put up with, and even pray for one another. However, at the end of the day our emotions should not rise and fall depending on how others feel about us. Ultimately our love and joy, our attention, affection, and approval comes from God, through Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

One area we need to surrender in our lives today is, “People Pleasing.”

Let me give you another example. I am a people pleaser to a fault. If someone asks me to do something for them I have a hard time saying, “No.” That’s the people pleaser in me. The challenge comes when my schedule is already full, I’ve made all the commitments I can possibly handle, and I take on more because I don’t want to disappoint anyone. Now my family begins to suffer, or my ministry begins to suffer, or I have to back out at the last minute of a commitment I should have never made in the first place.
Let’s look at the parable of the two sons:
Matthew 21:28-32 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
In our pursuit of love and joy, attention, affection, and approval, we like the second son, sometimes lie or manipulate people. We want to be loved so much. It is so important that we have the approval of others we become people pleasers. The problem with that is we can’t possibly please everyone all the time. So we rob time from our family and other responsibilities to please others.
One strategy we sometimes employ is manipulation. Like the second son in the parable we sometimes manipulate people by making promises we don’t intend to keep. To his face the second son said to his father, “Sure I’ll go and work the vineyard today,” but when he left he didn’t keep his word.
True freedom is found in surrendering to the love and joy of God, through Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” The Holy Spirit empowers us through the fruit of Love, and Joy to say, “No,” when we need to say, “No.” When we are more concerned with God’s kingdom come, and His will be done, and when we have our needs of love and joy, attention, affection, and approval met in God through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we no longer seek the approval of men. We are content with the Love of God. We set healthy boundaries and we don’t make promises we can’t keep.

The Lord spoke to the late Pastor, Leonard Ravenhill, when he was in his 20’s saying, “Reputation is what people think you are, character is what God knows you are.” Are we more concerned with our reputation or our character? Are willing to follow God realizing it is His kingdom that is to come, it is His will that is to be done. He will lead. It is up to us to follow. Our job primarily is to surrender.
Are you a people pleaser? Pray with me today, “Father in Heaven, Holy is Your Name! How I pray Your kingdom come and Your will be done in my life. Lord I confess I have fallen prey to people pleasing. In an effort to feel loved or significant I have sought the approval of others to an unhealthy level. With the help of the Holy Spirt I will no longer be held captive by fear of rejection. I will no longer make promises I can’t keep. I will not allow my emotions to rise and fall based on the attention, affection, or approval of others. Thank You for the Spirit of power and love and self-control. May I be content with You love. May I operate in Your power and self-control. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen!