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The Transformational Gospel of Jesus #13: Have You Given Up the Idea that You Are in Charge?

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. -Matthew 5:5

If you could name one teaching of Jesus that gets people up in arms, it is this simple Beatitude. Nothing he said causes such pushback. Yes it is nice that people should be meek, but his hearers lived in a world full of strife, war and terror. Warriors bent on conquest. Terrorists bent on taking what was yours unless you armed yourself and fought back. The meek, in the words of a Frank Zappa song, shall inherit nothing! He is not alone in thinking this.

Quite frankly, many believers do not fully endorse the certainty of this Beatitude. We instead believe that life is a war— the meek get run over—perhaps Jesus was peddling hope that someday when he returns to conquer all, his people will then be meek. In the meantime, life is about protection, power and control. The history of the church is a pointed illustration of this mentality.

While Jesus understood the harsh reality of the warrior world, his teaching was not pie in the sky. He was laying out a progressive journey for those who put their faith in his good news. If you mourn first, it then opens the way to submitting to God’s leadership in the transformational process. The word ‘meek’ literally means strength under control. It was used of the strong horse that was gentled to the bridle, under the control of the rider. To become meek is to surrender to God’s control over you, willing to let Him determine your steps.

There is no cookie-cutter process in God’s program. This probably bothers more people than anything else about God, and leads many to contest the process altogether. We would never say this out loud, but we prefer a predictable God with predictable steps we can understand and are easy to follow. This rarely is true of God’s path. Transformation may take you down roads that no one else has gone. He may ask you to do outrageous things—forgive people who do not deserve forgiveness, confess to others things you want to keep hidden, give away what you want to keep. No one can foretell what you personally will have to embrace on your journey, but here is the point. The more—and more quickly—you submit to whatever He reveals is for you, the more you know you are progressing. And whatever He leads you to do, He will also give you the strength to do it. This blessing is where you give over your personal agenda into the Father’s hand and trust God’s grace to make meekness a reality in you.

The result of this choice is that all you have lost because of the lies of the enemy will now be given to you. Inheriting the earth is to live life here as it was meant to be lived. “But the meek shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace (i.e. wholeness),” is how David expressed this in Psalm 37:11. As you are increasingly controlled by the Spirit you begin to come alive as a human. What was shriveled in your heart starts to bloom. You think differently. Your desires become wholesome. Your words become wise and insightful. What had become tasteless to you now regains its proper meaning in your life, whether it is your work, your family, your marriage, or your faith. You find that you are beginning to value the right things and hold casually those things that you used wrongly to define your life’s significance. The growing submission of meekness indicates that the good news about Jesus is transforming you.

Steve Smith