20 Sep Quarter Two Lesson Seven
Growing in Meekness
We are now halfway through our second quarter, we hope you are finding these studies beneficial to your heart and life. Before we begin our study today, we want to share with you a very helpful quote:
“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our work, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”—Samuel Chadwick
Please remember that studying the Bible is a spiritual work, and it requires spiritual understanding. This spiritual understanding cannot be had by merely reading or studying God’s Word. True understanding which produces growth and heart change can only be received by God, through His Holy Spirit (Matthew 16:7). We are dependent upon God as we study.
We who put these lessons together pray much and often as we study and write. We encourage you to pray much and often as you study and read. For without prayer the devil laughs at us. Let us seek to make the devil tremble by immersing ourselves in prayer.
Question 1. Are you praying as you study your Bible, and as you study these lessons, asking God for wisdom and insight, heart change and life change?
In these lessons we are learning how to grow in our faith in Christ. Growing as a Christian simply means becoming more like Christ. Our growth in Him becomes visible to others as they see us immersing ourselves in Bible study, growing in humility, growing in forgiveness and reconciliation, and growing in grace. And today we want to look at becoming more like Jesus in His meekness.
Please read Colossians 3:12-17 and let us study this passage:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Question 2. As God’s chosen, holy and beloved children, list the attributes we are to put on as given in Colossians 3?
Today, we will discuss what it means to put on meekness.
Question 3. What is your understanding of meekness?
Meekness is not a commonly used word anymore. Many people won’t know what it is. Some people think of meekness as weakness, but this is not true. Meekness is like humility, gentleness and submission combined, but it is distinct from these, too. Meekness is restrained power. It is yielding, and suffers injury without resentment or bitterness. It may be defined as strength under control. It is best understood when looking at Christ.
Indeed, the wonderful thing about all the qualities given which we are to “put on” is that we learn them all from Jesus. We only need to read the Scriptures and see Christ to be transformed little by little into His image. We don’t have to try and figure out what Jesus would do, we only need to consider what He has done. And as we behold and rest in Jesus, He will work in and through us. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls.” So let us do that now, let us sit at the feet of Jesus, learn about meekness from Him, and find rest for our souls.
Let us first consider a situation in which we can seek Christ’s meekness displayed toward those who rejected Him.
Please read Luke 9: 51-56 (NASB):
When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; 52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.54 When His disciples James and John saw this , they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; 56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” And they went on to another village.
Question 4. In Luke 9, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. On the way, He was rejected by a town of Samaritans. According to verse 54, what did James and John ask Jesus?
Let us call down fire from Heaven to consume the problem. Well, that is certainly one way of dealing with rejection, isn’t it? It is sometimes common for people who have been hurt to lash out and want to hurt in return, to get even, to teach others a lesson. But we can see in Luke 9:55 that it is the wrong way to respond.
Question 5. Jesus rebuked James and John, and told them that they didn’t understand Him or His mission. According to verse 56, what did Jesus come to do?
Jesus did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. Dear friend, do you see the meekness of Jesus here? Jesus, who has all the power in the universe at His command, restrained that power and explained that there was another way to deal with sinners, another way to deal with sin. He is the way! Jesus does not destroy the sinner, He died for the sinner. This is meekness in all its glory. Jesus accepted the rejection of the town without resentment or bitterness, He trusted in the plan that He and the Father had designed to bring about the salvation of mankind through His death on the cross.
As we consider the meekness of Christ, we should be in awe and filled with gratitude for our meek and lowly Savior. We were just like the Samaritans, rejecting the One that would save us. We deserved the fire of God’s wrath, but our Jesus took that wrath Himself and saved us from it. He took all the fiery wrath of God upon Himself because that was His mission. Our heart should be full of thankfulness for His meekness for it is remarkable.
Question 6. Does considering the meekness of Christ affect your heart? How?
Now, let’s look at meekness of Jesus displayed in a different situation.
Please read John 8: 2-11:
Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Question 7. Considering what we’ve learned so far today, what do you learn about meekness from the account of Jesus’ dealings with the woman caught in adultery?
Before we get to Jesus’ meekness, we should acknowledge that this woman was caught in adultery. She sinned grievously. No one disputes the sinfulness of the woman, but there is a huge difference between the Pharisee’s response to the sinner woman and Jesus’ response to her, isn’t there? It is in Jesus’ response that we see His love for the sinner, His grace and kindness to her, and His meekness.
The Pharisees wanted to stone this woman because the Law said she deserved death for her sin of adultery (Exodus 20:14). Jesus did not dispute this fact, nor should we, because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). But Jesus dealt with the situation differently because He had a different mission than the Law. The Law uncovers and reveals sin, Jesus saves and frees from sin.
Question 8. How did Jesus deal with the woman caught in adultery?
Jesus was the only One present at the “trial” who could have justly condemned the woman and put her to death (as He was the only One without sin), but He did not do it. He did not condemn her, but rather He forgave her and admonished her to leave the sinful life. And we know that He went on to die on the cross for her so that she might be free from the shame of her past life.
Meekness is strength under control, power restrained. In the first passage we looked at today Jesus had the power to destroy those who rejected Him, but He restrained that power because He did not come to destroy but to save. In the second passage Jesus had the authority to condemn and destroy the sinful woman, yet He refused to use that power and chose to forgive and save, as that is His mission.
Dear friend, please consider Jesus’ meekness toward the whole world, and toward you specifically. At some point, we, like the Samaritans, rejected Jesus in preference for living life on our own terms. Likewise, we have each been like the woman caught in adultery in some ways as our hearts turned away from God to other things the world offers. Jesus as Almighty God has the power to destroy us. He could call down the fire of God’s wrath and wipe us off the face of the earth. He could judge us guilty and have us put to death. But in His meekness and love, He restrains His power to judge and destroy and instead exercises the power of love and forgiveness. He says to you today, “neither do I condemn you!”
Joseph was a man in the Bible whose brothers had greatly wronged him. Several decades later Joseph became ruler over all of Egypt. His brothers came to him frightened as to what punishment Joseph would give them. After all, he had all the power of Egypt behind him and could exact whatever revenge he wanted to on them. They sent a message to him and said, “Please forgive the transgressions of the servants of the God of your father.” (Genesis 50:17). They were afraid.
But you won’t believe what Joseph did next. He cried! He wept profoundly! He was hurt in his heart at even the thought of their pain and anxiety. Joseph had a heart of love, so he restrained his power to exact punishment and instead forgave his brothers, saying “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20), and then to add grace upon grace he said, “Do not fear, I will provide for you and your little ones”. “Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:21)
And do you know why this story is in the Bible? Because it is a picture of Jesus. We, like Joseph’s brothers have wronged Jesus many times. We have hurt His heart by going our own way and doing our own thing, refusing to submit to His authority.
And Jesus is all powerful, the Almighty God. He could punish and destroy us and be right in doing so. Yet that thought would cause Him to weep! Jesus has a heart of love and a desire that not one person would perish in the wrath of God, but that all would come to repentance and be saved (2 Peter 3:9). He chooses meekness. He says to you today, “Do not fear, I will provide for you.”
Now, that we understand what it is, let us consider how meekness might apply to our own lives. How can we grow in meekness? You might have experienced someone sinning against you in the past; perhaps that sin has hurt you greatly or offended you deeply. Those who are like the disciples in the story above might encourage you to pray for divine vengeance upon this person. Or others, like the Pharisees in the above story, would encourage you to drag the offender out and stone him or her because they deserve it; that is, to somehow publicly shame them and condemn them.
But Jesus has another way. His way is the way of grace and love and forgiveness; the way of meekness. Having the power to publicly humiliate and condemn, yet choosing to forgive and restore instead. Jesus does not condemn us for our sins (and if we are honest, we know they are many), nor does He want us to condemn others for their sins.
Jesus calls us to a meek attitude of the heart that does not censure the sinner, but instead encourages and enables their repentance. The world will encourage us to kick the sinner to the curb, but Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins says to forgive and live in meekness. God has given us all we need for life and godliness in His Word (2 Peter 1:3-4) so we can reject the world’s counsel in preference for the Word’s counsel.
Question 9. In considering the three stories we read about today, and comparing your actions to them, do you have a heart of meekness? If not, will you pray for God to change your heart? What are your thoughts?
Possibly by now you’ve seen that growing in Christ leads us to do things that are opposite of what unbelievers, or “the world”, would tell us to do. The world would tell us when someone hurts us to teach them a lesson, exercise the power of punishment on them. Jesus tells us to live in meekness, to restrain our “power”, and to live in love and forgiveness with one another. And this is exactly how we grow.
Question 10. What are your thoughts on this lesson today? Please tell us of any changes that are coming into your heart and your life as you contemplate the truths of these lessons: