Saturday, April 6, 2013
Leashed power, a refresher
A couple of years ago, I did a series on the Beatitudes, and this is one of those posts. I started thinking about it today because I've been struggling with this same old issue lately. Of course. There's nothing new under the sun when it comes to the sins we have to overcome. May it strike a chord in you as well.
"Blessed are the meek..."
If there's one thing people have rarely said about me, it's "You sure are meek, Carolyn." And by rarely, I mean NEVER. In fact, when my sisters and I were together a few weeks ago, we got to talking about how one of the 'besetting' sins of our immediate (and come to think of it, extended) family is that we're a proud bunch. A 'we think we're so superior we stink up the joint' bunch. I hate having to admit it even as I write it I can't quite imagine NOT feeling it because deep down I really believe it. Unfortunately. We're our father's children and he was so blasted sure of himself and his place in the world and that was on top of the heap, and he expected us to be right up there with him.
At exactly the same time I admit this, I realize it's like admitting I have a giant wart right on the tip of my nose that the whole world can see, and I'm actually proud of it. Proud of something that is a wart? Yes, as I say, it's my besetting sin. The thing that haunts me every day. Because, after all, Pride means that I think I'm capable of handling my life on my own, and I AM NOT. I am patently NOT. All sin, it's been said, is a form of pride and the older I get the more I realize the truth of this.
I tell you all this because for me to talk about the third Beatitude seems presumptuous. Impossible. I mean, on my own, I've never even wanted to be what Jesus speaks of here. And I am a small picture of the world in my attitude about it. "Blessed are the meek..." Meekness is NOT a characteristic that the world values. When you go to a job interview and are asked about your strengths, would you dare say,"I am meek."? Assertive, self-starting, a leader, a team-player: these are the traits most people consider strengths.
But Jesus says, "Blessed are the meek..." And in saying this, He gives us a new understanding of meekness because the best example of meekness isn't of the milquetoast Jesus with a lamb on His shoulder from my childhood Bible-story book but of Him at His trial the night before Calvary. Matthew's account is found in chapters 26-27 (if you'd like to re-read it). The movie The Passion of the Christ is a careful representation of Jesus' strong, unwavering meekness. Jesus contained Himself that night. He held back the power that He could have unleashed on those who were about to crucify Him. He CHOSE to keep quiet, CHOSE not to assert Himself. It was humility at its finest hour, that long, sleepless night was. "He did not count equality with God something to be grasped...but humbled Himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross." (Philippians 2: 5...well, you should really read the entire passage to verse 11!) Yes, meekness as leashed power for the sake of others.
This is the meekness Jesus calls Blessed. The meekness in which He'll aid and assist us. Sometimes that meekness shows itself in giving way to another in the most ordinary of ways--like NOT honking one's horn when someone cuts you off on the road. Other times, it's more significant. It's about turning one's cheek when abused and berated and abused and berated--for no reason other than that you are convenient and NOT who the person wishes you were. God's been teaching me about meekness lately in such sharp relief, that the post I would have written two months ago is nothing to what He now has helped me understand.
The promise of this Beatitude is: "...for they will inherit the earth." Psalm 24:1 tells us that "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world and all who live in it." This Psalm makes it clear that the promise of inheriting the earth is a comprehensive on. Those who humble themselves, as Christ did, who live with the power of God leashed within them, are inheriting (a purposefully present ongoing tense of that word) ALL that God has creating. Because we already have the Spirit within us, we already have the power of the universe available. So it's all about leashing it--as He did--to God's command, allowing only Him unleash it when and where and how He will--all the days of our lives. Within the Kingdom, it is meekness that will rule.
Oh Lord, leash me up.