Sunday, January 31, 2016

#Jesus Models True Meekness. #JesusFollowers

To the true follower of Jesus, whose heart is filled with the love for truth, no other subject can be as fit for imitation as the character of our Master.

In his conduct, we see all the divine precepts of moral duty modeled by his holy life, and he calls on us to join him in living them in our own lives.

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls," he says (Matt. 11:29) And during his Sermon on the Mount, he says, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." (Matt. 5:5)

Here he echoes the Psalmist, who wrote, "The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."

From Jesus, the one God anointed and sent to teach us, we receive perfect examples of moral excellence that show for us the image of God in the human soul. And Jesus lived this life that he called us to emulate, rather than just hearing his teachings. (Matt. 7:24; John 14:21)

But what of Jesus' modern followers? Do they seek to represent the meekness of their Master?

Does a preacher calling on his flock to take over the government and rule in triumph over all others show meekness?

Does calling oneself a "child of the king" (meaning Jesus) and bragging that this means Christians are entitled to reign over the earth because of such a title speak of "meekness"?

Does it build up, or tear down, the Kingdom of God when preachers live in large mansions, have fleets of cars and jets, speak of meekness?

Does it serve God's Kingdom to suggest that the mere mention of Jesus' name "claims" wealth and power and earthly riches, which God is required to give, based on our demands?

Does it speak of meekness to claim that by a few vain words, we may demand that God grant us entrance to Heaven, and that by "electing" ourselves to salvation in this way, it may never be taken away by God?

Luckily, we have Jesus’ life as an example of true meekness to counter these false echoes of the life he led.

The one whom God called out and adopted at this baptism as His only Son had no place to lay his head.

Jesus said God’s Kingdom was spiritual, and "not of this earth," and that Caesar's government was Caesars, but we were to humbly do God’s will regardless of the consequences.

Jesus called his disciples to respond with kindness when attacked, to turn the other cheek, and to be humble, not flashy, when doing the Good Works we are called to do as a light to he world.

Jesus called us actually deny ourselves, and be willing to give up everything, including our homes, our fortunes, our self-centeredness, in order to serve our neighbors for the glory of the Kingdom of God.

His teachings, in fact, as so far from the example of today’s Christendom that it hardly seems like it's based on the same teacher, and of course, it really isn’t. The Church has as many human "fathers" but no room for the One True Father of all, nor for His Son, who actually modeled meekness for us in both word and deed.

Meekness is the result of self-denial, self-knowledge, and self-control. It results from reflecting on the example of Jesus, the only example that can save us eternally.

It keeps us from falling into the trap of self-indulgence and self-worship, focusing instead on the goal of attaining that Godliness that our example Jesus perfectly models for us.

So, let us keep the words of our Savior always in our minds, and by striving to possess the mind which was in Jesus our Master, in humble dependence on God's divine assistance, we shall not be disappointed in the end.

And may God grant that we may drink in so much of his spirit, that that mind which was in him may be also in us; so that, like him, we may be, "meek and lowly in heart."

(Adapted in part from a sermon by Rev. Anthony Forster)

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