Devotions

Category Archives: The Beatitudes

Meek • Devotion #6: Become a Fool to Become Wise?

In His teachings, Jesus made many statements that would have sounded very extreme. His teaching upset the Pharisees who were the teachers of the law, confused the people and even His disciples. Some thought Jesus was a prophet, others were angered by the things He said, and many decided He was crazy.

In 1 Corinthians 3:18, we read, “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.” Paul said that we have to become a fool to become wise. That does not make any sense, or does it?

The world has a lot to tell us about wisdom. Just Google “how to become wiser” and you will be astonished! I got 28,800,000 results to my search in just .052 seconds. There were pages and pages of articles; “10 Ways to be Wise.” If you are not quite there, you can read, “11 Ways to be Wise.” If you do not have that much time, skip down to the article that gets it all done in just “3 Ways to Wisdom.” One article even offered a step by step guide with life tips and videos and said that it was written by experts. Experts in what, I wondered? Of course, there was a DIY guide – Do It Yourself! You can do it, just read an article, buy a book, and get a guide. How do you know whose guide is best? Which article is the right one? If I am trying to become wiser than I am, I do not think I am confident enough to take the DIY approach, I am not sure that I would be my best guide.

Therefore, I went to a source we can always depend on and trust, even though I had to go to page three of the Google search to even see a reference for it – The Bible. It is best to see what God has to say about wisdom.

God says that wisdom comes from Him. “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6).

In 1 Corinthians 3:18, Paul says, “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.” If we think we are wise, we have to become a fool. What does that even mean? It sure sounds backward according to the standards of the world.

Proverbs 1:17 (NIV) says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

When we find the Lord, we begin to find true knowledge. Proverbs 28:26 (NIV) adds, “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.”

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Max Lucado has pointed out, “It is impossible to know the meaning of life if we do not know the Maker of life. And the Maker of life is willing to be our teacher. Jesus came as our guide. He reveals wisdom and truth. We can know, not just facts about God, but his heart, his joy, his passion, his plan and his sorrows. We are not left alone with our wanderings and wonderings. We have a teacher. His name is Jesus.”


“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5

Meek • Devotion #5: Be > Do

Within arguably the greatest sermon of all time, (The Sermon on the Mount), Jesus lays out the framework of the Christian faith through a handful of sayings, what we know as the Beatitudes. Though only twelve verses, these statements serve as the mission and vision of Christianity as a whole. By this point in Jesus’ ministry and teachings, we are familiar with Jesus dropping statements which counter how the “world” would think or act. In Matthew 5:5, Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

A quick google search defines meek as quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive. If I am being honest, when I hear the word “meek,” I find myself associating it with the word “weak.” However, the ancient Greek word (“praus”), where we get the word meek from, has a lot more meaning packed into it. The word “praus” was borrowed from the military and is related to the taming and training of a horse for battle. Here is an excerpt from a word study that was done on the word “meek” that is helpful: “The Greek army would find the wildest horses in the mountains and bring them to be broken in. After months of training, they sorted the horses into categories. When a horse passed the conditioning required for a war horse, its state was described as ‘praus,’ [that is, meek]. The war horse had ‘power under authority,’ ‘strength under control.’ A war horse never ceased to be determined, strong and passionate. However, it learned to bring its nature under discipline. It gave up being wild, unruly, out of control and rebellious. A war horse learned to bring that nature under control. It would now respond to the slightest touch of the rider, stand in the face of cannon fire, thunder into battle and stop at a whisper. It was now ‘meek.’”

Meekness shows up in the Bible on a number of occasions. James writes, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls(James 1:19-21). As a church, last year we spent months looking at the life of Moses. In Numbers 12:3, Moses is described as being, “Very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” David writes in Psalm 37:11, “But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”

As I was taking a closer look at our call to be meek, I am reminded of the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control). These all coincide with the call for us to be meek. Within the Sermon on the Mount and throughout many of the teachings in Scripture, we really are called to “be” more than we are called to “do.” A lot of times I think it is easy to get discouraged by what we have done in our past, or by the things that we are not doing today that we wish we were. Maybe we need to wake up each day and focus firstly on who God is calling us to be, rather than the work we feel we need to accomplish, even in the name of Jesus. Through being meek, may we be filled with the strength of God to stand and face the battle, but disciplined enough to hear the gentle whisper of God as He leads and guides from within.

Meek • Devotion #4: Driving in Reverse

When I was younger, my family took a trip to Disney World in Florida. We spent a couple of days at the various parks and had a great time as a family. Each of us had our favorite rides and shows and mine was a show called Lights, Camera, Action! This show consisted of stunt cars, high-speed chases, jet skis, and lots of explosives. The best part about it, though, was that it was all done live. It was like being at an actual movie recording of a high-speed, action-packed car chase!

One of my favorite parts of the show was when the cars disappeared behind the set, only to come speeding out seconds later. The only catch, the car that was being chased was now driving backward at 45mph. The car was being chased and flying through a course at 45mph, in reverse! I remember sitting there being in awe that a driver could be that skilled. I could not comprehend how someone could do this. One of the best parts about the show was that after doing this scene, the director came out and explained to the audience how it was done. He had the driver of the car going in reverse drive the car out. He asked the driver to get out of the car and when he got out we realized that this was a special stunt car. The body of the car was put on backward, to make it look like the car was going in reverse, when in actuality, it was going forward. My mind was blown. I had not even considered that as an option.

Today, as we continue in our series on the beatitudes, I want to take you to Matthew 5:5 which says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” To be meek is to be quiet, gentle, easily-imposed on, or submissive. It is not necessarily something that is valued in our world today. To be “successful” in the world today means that you are imposing, aggressive, and assertive. To be meek is counter-cultural. One could say that to be meek seems backward or not making sense. It is like driving a car backward at 45mph. It does not make sense.

In the Kingdom of God, the meek will inherit the Earth. It is the meek who are successful in the sight of God, not the aggressive and assertive. At times, being meek may feel like you are driving in reverse. However, in God’s economy, when you are following His commands, even if the world thinks you are going in reverse, like the stunt car in the show, you are going in the direction you were designed to go.

When I was in high school, I was given a picture of meekness like a football player holding a baby. It portrayed immense power and strength held in check for the sake of the baby. To be meek is not to be lacking strength, but to hold it in for the proper times, not lashing out or “putting others in their place.” We need to leave that to God, the Just Judge (1 Peter 2:23).

Meek • Devotion #3: Silent Night

We are in the middle of a study on the Beatitudes, which is part of Jesus’ longest recorded sermon. It is in this sermon that Jesus begins to describe the traits He is looking for in His followers. He said that God blesses those who live out these traits. I do not know about you, but when Jesus is pretty clear on what He is looking for I want to listen. We pick up on the third Beatitude that He mentions in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” 

Now, I am very much a feeler. It is part of the way I was designed. I feel everything in life. It can be from music, the tone of someone’s voice, to the sudden death scene in a movie. I relate everything to how it makes me feel and I sometimes have a hard time expressing myself with words. My wife is very much the opposite. She is logical, put together, and the smartest woman I know. 

Therefore, I logically looked at the word “meek” and it was not sinking into my mind. So I asked the smartest woman I know. What do you know? She spit out the literal definition of “meek” from Google. Then she said it reminded her of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. It is the part where she gets to the end of the movie and describes herself to the man behind the curtain as small and meek. So naturally, I tried to remember when I saw that movie last and realized I had no idea. It was another dead end for me. Then a few moments later it all clicked. My wife started humming the song silent night because she thought the word meek was in the song. (She was mistaken. She is human!) All of the sudden, I could feel the word meek just by singing a few lines from that song.

Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright

I was able to feel the quiet, gentle spirit behind the song. It is a song reminiscent of church, Christmastime, and singing while we lit candles in church. The feeling of peace and stillness came over me. It was the feeling like almost everything was standing still in time. The defining feeling of meekness is just that: a quiet, gentle, and humble spirit. Meekness is a trait in which some of us possess naturally, and others, like my loud self, do not naturally possess but we can develop. Look at Matthew 11:27-30:

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

We can develop a meek spirit through Jesus Himself. It says in verse 28 to come to Jesus and He will give us rest. When you think of the concept of rest, it often requires a quiet, peaceful moment. The rest that Jesus promises is love, healing, and peace with God. When you find rest in God, you are able to extend that same rest – the quiet, humble, and gentle spirit to other people. Being able to approach life with a calm faith, humility before God, and hope in His deliverance brings freedom. Then you will enjoy great peace as the Bible says! That, my friends, is a trait Jesus is looking for in his followers.

“But the meek shall inherit the land

and delight themselves in abundant peace.”

Psalm 37:11

Meek • Devotion #2: Where Are You Pointing?

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

The concept of meekness is an interesting one in dealing with the Bible. We often hear people discussing it as the same thing as humility. I want us to take a moment and think about our lives and all the fantastic things that we have accomplished in our time here on Earth. Some might be able to think of something that was a personal accomplishment or something that helped others in need. These are all amazing in their own way. The question I want to bring up today is, who did you point to in those moments when you accomplished these things and felt like you were on top of the world? It is easy for us to point to ourselves in our accomplishments. I am speaking from experience here. Often, we get so caught up in the moment, and we are excited about all the praise that we are receiving. We think about all the time that we spent trying to achieve this remarkable feat, but what good does this do for anyone? The thing is, without help, we cannot accomplish anything worthwhile.

Before reading any further, I want to encourage you to read Romans chapter 7.

Romans chapter 7 does a fantastic job of explaining our fleshly desires. Verse 21 states, “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” Our inward being desires to do good, but our outward flesh often acts in evil ways. We have no reason, as sinful humans, for us to be prideful in our actions. When we accomplish amazing things, we need to remember that we have no reason to point to ourselves, but instead, we should point to our Lord. Only through our God do we have the ability to do these great things. We are truly blessed to have a God that gives us the opportunity to be the tool that He uses in order to make great things happen.

Referring back to the opening Beatitude, God blesses those who are meek and point to Him. Only through our meekness do we have the God-given ability to inherit the Earth. It is not by our own accord but through His grace. My challenge for you is that whenever you do something that people are praising you for, turn the praise to the One who actually achieved the feat. By pointing to Him, we are pointing the world to the One who can save them from their sinful ways. Sometimes for us to do this, with the right mindset, we need to take a step back and evaluate what we have really done and seen for ourselves, that we have done nothing, and that our Lord truly made the way for this to happen.



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