The Fruit of Meekness
I’d like to say that today I’m here to speak in behalf of a group that is maligned, put down, and discriminated against. And it’s just not fair! I’m here to speak up for the "lemons!"
[HOLD UP LEMON]
When things go good they’re "peachy"
If something is in good condition, it’s "cherry"
If something is bad or unreliable, it’s a "lemon"
When you buy a car, they give you a book about the "lemon laws"
Why all this bad publicity for the lemons? Just because it has a sour taste?
I’m here to say that lemons have a good taste when used in moderation.
Who doesn’t like lemonade, lemon meringue pie, or lemon bars!
Lemons are high in vitamin C. Lemons are good for you!
The lemon is a good example of strength that is good when it is under control.
Out of control, the lemon is tart and overpowering; but used rightly, the lemon is great! In our lives as well, any God-given strength can be overpowering and bitter to others when it is overused and out of control.
Our look at the "fruit" of the spirit today focuses on the feature of "gentleness" or "meekness."
My definition of meekness is "strength under control."
Gentleness is the power of your potential under God’s control.
Can you remember a TV show called Kung Fu?
*Kwai Chang Caine - Buddhist monk - very peaceful, but had great strength/agility
**What is the difference between meekness and weakness?
weakness=lack of strength
meekness=lack of flaunting strength, strength under control
Meekness or gentleness is not lack of strength. Often those who are very meek are also very strong. Meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. Often those who are the strongest feel no need to assert their strength. Rather those who assert themselves often struggle with accepting their strength.
As we look at God’s desire to grow the fruit of meekness in our lives, what God desires is not that we become weak and lacking in strength, but that we learn to not flaunt our strength, but to control it. Example #1 - To illustrate this fruit, let’s look at the meekest man on the face of the earth: Moses. Turn with me to Numbers 12:1-15 -
Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. "Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?" they asked. "Hasn’t he also spoken through us?" And the LORD heard this. (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, "Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you." So the three of them came out. Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward, he said, "Listen to my words: "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them. When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam--leprous, like snow. Aaron turned towards her and saw that she had leprosy; and he said to Moses, "Please, my lord, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away." So Moses cried out to the LORD, "O God, please heal her!" The LORD replied to Moses, "If her father had spat in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back." So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back.
Miriam and Aaron were upset with their brother Moses - Why? Supposedly because he had married an Ethiopian wife, yet what was implied by their questions is really that they were on the same level as Moses. Their root problem was an issue of pride and selfishness.
God intervenes and stands up for Moses. After hearing God state his opinion, Moses could have responded with pride, censuring them for their remarks, or with seeking vengeance. Yet, his meekness, his strength under control, evidences itself again by his speaking out for his brother and sister, in spite of their sinful actions.