Ever felt that way? That other people really aren’t respecting you and your virtues the way you deserve?
We all want to be respected. Most people have ambitiously sought after this universal sentiment, though few have taken the time or consideration to find the correct way to obtain it. While many seem to equate meekness with deserved humility, think about a person whom you truly respect. Probably, this person has self-control–meekness–and seeks the commendation of our Lord Jesus, loves Him, and wants to be like Him.
So before we move on to talking more about becoming meek, I want to share Matthew Henry’s encouragements about how important meekness is, or in his words, the “excellency” of having a meek and quiet spirit.
First, consider how “creditable” or respectable a meek and quiet spirit is. How is it respectable?
- There is in it the credit of a victory.
- There is in it the credit of beauty.
- There is in it the credit of an ornament.
- There is in it the credit of true courage.
- There is in it the credit of a conformity to the best patterns.
Last time I talked about meekness, I shared the case study of Gideon and Jephthah, two judges of Israel, who handled conflict differently, with horrifically different results. At that time, I said that Gideon’s greatest victory was not his victory over the Midianites (which is the one we all remember him for), but his victory over his own spirit–over his own anger.
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city. ~Proverbs 16:32
Do you believe this verse? If so, as Henry says,
Behold, a greater than Alexander or Caesar is here; the former of which, some think, lost more true honor by yielding to his own ungoverned anger than he got by all his conquests….The conquest of an unruly passion is more honorable than that of an unruly people, for it requires more true conduct. It is easier to kill an enemy without, which may be done at a blow, than to chain up and govern an enemy within, which requires a constant, even, steady hand, and a long and regular management.
David gets more honor for yielding to Abigail than to have conquered Nabal and his household. When we are meek and quiet in our suffering, we are “more than conquerors through Christ Who loved us” (Romans 8:37). And what is our loss? “Nothing but the gratifying of a base lust.”
At the time it is so hard to hold our tongues and conquer the “rebellious lusts” in ourselves! But meekness is a victory over ourselves and our sin. Henry adds, “It is an effectual victory over those that injure us, and make themselves enemies to us, and is often a means of winning their hearts.” Meekness is also a victory over Satan, the greatest enemy of all.
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world.” ~Ephesians 6:12
The magnifying of the adversary magnifies the victory over him.
Christ on His throne still appears in the form of his meekness–a Lamb as it had been slain. Even when he comes to conquer, he appears as a Lamb. That’s how honorable meekness is in Heaven.
So in summary, the greatest way to get respect is NOT to fight for our rights or to advance our cause, but to fight our flesh and our anger and seek after meekness.
This is my attempt to rephrase Matthew Henry’s book The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit.
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