26. Like Christ: In His Meekness.
"Behold, thy King cometh, meek."óMatt. 21:5.
"Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest for your soul."óMatt. 11:29.
It is on His way to the cross that we find the first of these two words written of our Lord Jesus. It is in His sufferings that the meekness of Jesus is specially manifested. Follower of Jesus! who art so ready to take Thy place under the shadow of His cross, there to behold the Lamb slain for thy sins, is it not a precious thought, that there is one part of His work, as the suffering Lamb of God, in which Thou mayest bear His image and be like Him every day? thou canst be meek and gentle even as He was.
Meekness is the opposite of all that is hard or bitter or sharp. It has reference to the disposition which animates us towards our inferiors. "With meekness," ministers must instruct those that oppose themselves, teach and bring back the erring (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:25). It expresses our disposition towards superiors: we must "receive the word with meekness" (Jas. 1:21); if the wife is to be in subjection to her husband, it must be in a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Pet. 3). As one of the fruits of the Spirit, meekness ought to characterize all our daily intercourse with fellow-Christians, and extend to all with whom we have to do (Eph. 4:2; Gal. 5:22; Col. 3:12; Tit. 3:2). It is mentioned in Scripture along with humility, because that is the inward disposition concerning oneself, out of which meekness towards others springs.
There is perhaps none of the lovely virtues which adorn the image of Godís Son, which is more seldom seen in those who ought to be examples. There are many servants of Jesus, in whom much love to souls, much service for the salvation of others, and much zeal for Godís will, are visible, and yet who continually come short in this. How often, when offence comes unexpectedly, whether at home or abroad, they are carried away by temper and anger, and have to confess that they have lost the perfect rest of soul in God! There is no virtue, perhaps, for which some have prayed more earnestly: they feel they would give anything, if in their intercourse with partner, or children, or servants, in company or in business, they could always keep their temper perfectly, and exhibit the meekness and gentleness of Christ. Unspeakable is the grief and disappointment experienced by those who have learnt to long for it, and yet have not discovered where the secret of meekness lies.
The self-command needed for this seems to some so impossible, that they seek comfort in the belief that this blessing belongs to a certain natural temperament, and is too contrary to their character for them ever to expect it. To satisfy themselves they find all sorts of excuses. They do not mean it so ill: though the tongue or the temper be sharp, there is still love in their hearts: it would not be good to be too gentle: evil would be strengthened by it. And thus the call to entire conformity to the holy gentleness of the Lamb of God is robbed of all its power. And the world is strengthened in its belief, that Christians are after all not very much different from other people, because, though they do indeed say, they do not show, that Christ changes the heart and life after His own image. And the soul suffers itself, and causes unspeakable harm in Christís Church, through its unfaithfulness in appropriating this blessing of salvation: the bearing the image and likeness of God.
This grace is of great price in the sight of God. In the Old Testament there are many glorious promises for the meek, which were by Jesus gathered up into this one, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (see Ps. 25:9; 76:9; Prov. 3:34: Jer. 2:3). In the, New Testament, its praise consists in this, that it is His meekness that gives its supernatural incomparable beauty to the image of our Lord. A meek spirit is of great price in Godís sight; it is the choicest ornament of the Beloved Son. The Father could surely offer no higher inducement to His children, to seek it above all things.
For every one who longs to possess this spirit, Christís word is full of comfort and encouragement: "Learn of me that I am meek." And what will it profit us to learn that He is meek? Will not just the experience of His meekness make the discovery of our want of it all the more painful? What we ask, Lord, is that Thou shouldest teach us how we may be meek. The answer is again: "Learn of me, that I AM MEEK."
We are in danger of seeking meekness and the other graces of our Lord Jesus as gifts of which we must be conscious, before we practice them. This is not the path of faith. "Moses knew not that his face shone," he had only seen the glory of God. The soul that seeks to be meek, must learn that Jesus is meek. We must take time to gaze on His meekness, until the heart has received the full impression: He only is meek: with Him alone can meekness be found. When we begin to realize this, we next fix our hearts upon the truth: This meek One is Jesus the Saviour. All He is, all He has, is for His redeemed ones; His meekness is to be communicated to us. But He does not impart it, by giving, as it were from Himself, something of it away to us. No I we must learn that He alone is meek, and that only when He enters and takes possession of heart and life, He brings His meekness with Him. It is with the meekness of Jesus that we can be meek.
We know how little He succeeded in making His disciples meek and lowly while on earth. It was because He had not yet obtained the new life, and could not yet bestow, through His resurrection, the Holy Spirit. But now He can do it. He has been exalted to the power of God from thence to reign in our hearts, to conquer every enemy, and continue in us His own holy life. Jesus was our visible Example on earth, that we might see in Him what like the hidden life is that He would give us from heaven, that He Himself would be within us.
"Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart:" without ceasing the word sounds in our ears as our Lordís answer to all the sad complaints of His redeemed ones, as to the difficulty of restraining temper. O my brother! why is Jesus, your Jesus, your life, and your strength, why is He the meek and lowly One, if it be not to impart to you, to whom He so wholly belongs, His own meekness?
Therefore, only believe! Believe that Jesus is able to fill your heart with His own spirit of meekness. Believe that Jesus Himself will, through His own Spirit, accomplish in you the work that you have in vain endeavoured to do. "BEHOLD! THY KING COMETH TO THEE, MEEK." Welcome Him to dwell in your heart. Expect Him to reveal Himself to you. Everything depends on this. Learn of Him that He is meek and lowly of heart, and you shall find rest to your soul.
Precious Saviour, grant me now, under the overshadowing of Thy Holy Spirit, to draw near unto Thee, and to appropriate Thy heavenly meekness as my life. Lord, Thou hast not shown me Thy meekness as a Moses who demands but does not give Thou art Jesus who savest from all sin, giving in its stead Thy heavenly holiness. Lord, I claim Thy meekness as a part of the salvation that Thou hast given me. I cannot do without it. How can I glorify Thee if I do not possess it? Lord, I will learn from Thee that Thou art meek. Blessed Lord, teach me. And teach me that Thou art always with me, always in me as my life. Abiding in Thee, with Thee abiding in me, I have Thee the meek One to help me and make me like thyself O holy meekness! Thou art not come down to earth only for a short visit, then to disappear again in the heavens. Thou art come to seek a home. I offer Thee my heart; come and dwell in it.
Thou blessed Lamb of God, my Saviour and Helper, I count on Thee. Thou wilt make Thy meekness to dwell in me. Through Thy indwelling Thou dost conform me to Thy image. O come, and as an act of Thy rich free grace even now, as I wait on Thee, reveal Thyself as my King, meek, and coming in to take possession of me for Thyself.