Third Step To Happiness

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 part  three  in a  series  on  the  Beatitudes

Teachability – The Third Step To Happiness

Matthew 5:5-5:5

We have been making a journey through the “be” attitudes. So far we have looked at how humility helps lead us to happiness. We looked last week on how repentance leads us to happiness. This week we are going to learn how becoming teachable also leads us to happiness. Follow along with me as I read the beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:3-12 (NKJV)

Today we are going to focus in on verse five:

“Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 (NKJV)

Let me say right up front:

Meekness is not WEAKNESS.

Most people seem to think that meek means weak, a spineless person without any backbone at all. But in the original language, the word “meek” is the same word that is used in bridling a horse, or taming a wild animal. In other words – meekness involves the process the teaching or training the animal. It is not that the animal has become “powerless” – but that the power of the animal has been brought under the control of the trainer. So, in the Christian realm, when we talk about a meek person, we’re not talking about a spineless wimp. We are talking about a person whose life has been brought under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and God is in control of his or her life.

Meekness = power under CONTROL

The Bible tells us that Jesus was meek in Matthew chapter eleven:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” Matthew 11:29 (KJV)

Jesus was meek, and look what he did to the money changers in the Temple. He made a whip out of cords, and drove all of the money changers from the temple. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He yelled and said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a shopping mall!" Jesus was in complete control of His actions. He thought about what He was going to do. He took the time to make a whip. He was in control of his actions and his anger. Had He been out of control He would not have taken the time to make a whip.

What this beatitude is telling me is that I am to allow God to lead me – to teach me – to guide me – as I go through life. It’s like saying, “Jesus, I’ll drive. You just tell me where to go. If you say turn left - I’ll turn left. If you say turn right - I’ll turn right. If you say turn around - I’ll turn around. If you say stop – I’ll stop. It’s my life but I’m turning my destination over to you. You are my teacher - You are my trainer - You are my Lord.”

You see the meek are sensitive to the divine will of God. The meek allow God to be in control. The meek are not easily provoked or irritated. They are humble. They are not proud, self sufficient or stubborn. They are not unmanageable or ill tempered. They allow God to take control. They allow God to train and teach them. They become teachable. In other words:

Meekness is self control empowered and directed by the HOLY SPIRIT.

Those who are meek are sensitive to the will of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. They don’t cower like a mouse – but roar like a lion – over injustice. They keep their heads about them – and use their intellect and their energy for God’s glory – and when God calls them to be bold – they are submissive enough – teachable enough – that they don’t hesitate to step up to the plate. They admit that they don’t know it all – but they are more than willing to follow the One who does. Meekness is following the leading of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of God.

Today we are going to look at five lessons of meekness:

The first lesson in meekness is:

1. Being teachable not UNREACHABLE.

Meekness is about having a teachable spirit. Meek people don’t pretend that they know it all. They look for opportunities to continually learn. Faithful Christians constantly look for opportunities to learn more about Jesus. Jesus wants us to learn as much about Him as we possibly can. Jesus wants us to be teachable. Look at what Jesus said in Matthew chapter eleven:

“Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: And you shall find rest to your souls.”
Matthew 11:29 (DRB)

It’s interesting that in this verse Jesus says, “Learn of me.” He wants us to know more of Him. Jesus wants us to be teachable – not unreachable. Every day we need to pray, “Lord, teach me more about You today. Lord, help me to learn something today that will make me more useful in Your kingdom. Help me Lord to learn something about You that I can pass on to others.” Every day we need to search our hearts to see if we have a teachable spirit. Why? So that we can become like Jesus and teach others what we have learned. Look at what it says in Luke chapter six:

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40 (HCSB)

Folks I don’t know about you – but I want to be like Jesus. I want to be “fully trained”. I want learn as much about Jesus as I possible can. How about you? Do you have a desire to learn more? Are you teachable? Are you reachable? Remember:

“Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.”
Matthew 5:5 (NKJV)

The second lesson in meekness is:

2. Become gentle not JUDGEMENTAL.

Follow along with me as I read Romans chapter fourteen verse one from the Message Bible:

“Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with — even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.” Romans 14:1 (MSG)

Happiness comes when you accept people the way they are. They have not reached your standard of perfection – but you welcome them and love them anyway. They should not have to obtain your standards for you to love them. You are to treat them with gentleness.

Look at what it says in Galatians chapter six:

“Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted also.” Galatians 6:1 (HCSB)

How do you react when someone you know messes up their life? Do you say, “I told you so? I could see that coming. You blew it. How could you be so dumb? How could you be so stupid?” Folks this is not a sign of meekness. Meekness is treating people gentle not judgmental.

The third lesson in meekness is:

3. Being an actor not a REACTOR.

This point is about taking the initiative when bad things happen. Look at what Romans twelve says:

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil . . . but conquer evil with good.” Romans 12:17, 21 (HCSB)

Folks, here is a fact of life:

In this life you will get HURT.

How you respond to your hurts of life matters. What is your normal reaction when people hurt you? Retaliate? Get even? Stab them in the back? Or do you love the person? Forgive them? Treat them with kindness? Meekness is a matter of choice. Do you remember how we defined meekness earlier in the sermon? Let me remind you:

Meekness = power under CONTROL

Folks when you fly off the handle – you have lost control. When you tell someone, “You make me mad.” you’re admitting that they have control of your emotions. All you are doing is reacting to the world around you in a negative way. Be aware – you don’t have to react like that – you can act. You can take control. If you don’t have control of your emotions - who does?

Whatever happens to you - you can respond with patience, kindness and love. Look at what First Corinthians thirteen says:

“Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (HCSB)

Folks, when someone hurts you how do you respond? Do you allow them to take control – or do you maintain control of your emotions?

The Bible says:

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil . . . but conquer evil with good.” Romans 12:17, 21 (HCSB)

We can either react to people - or we can take control of our emotions and act in love toward people. The choice is ours.

The fourth lesson in meekness is:

4. Become understanding not DEMANDING.

Look at what the Message Bible says in Philippians chapter two:

“Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.” Philippians 2:3-5 (MSG)

Folks, all of us want to be first. All of us want to be on top. Folks how many of you want to be in the longest - slowest line at the super market? When things don’t go your way – how do you behave? Are you understanding or are you demanding? Do you take out your frustration on those around you or do you look for the opportunity to learn from the situation?

I read something about patience a week or two ago. What the author was saying was that if we ask God for patience – He does not give it. Instead what He gives are opportunities to learn patience. In other words – if we pray for patience – He places us in situations were we can learn patience. Patience is a learned ability – meekness is too.

Look at Philippians again with me:

“Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.” Philippians 2:3-5 (MSG)

Did you notice that in this passage Paul give three things to do and three things NOT to do.

Here are the three don’ts:

A. Don’t push your way to the front.
B. Don’t sweet talk yourself to the top.
C. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own way.

Here are the three does:

A. Put yourself aside to help others.
B. Forget yourself and lend a helping hand.
C. Think of yourself as Christ thought of Himself.

Do you know what the major lesson is that I get from passage of scripture? I have a choice. I can choose to be rude and crude – or I can choose to be patience. I can choose to be helpful or hurtful. I can choose to be a blessing – or I can choose to be a pain in the neck. I can choose to be self centered – or I can choose to look out for others. I can choose to be understanding – or I can choose to be demanding. The choice is mine – the choice is yours.

The fifth lesson about meekness is:

5. Becoming tender without SURRENDER.

Folks here is a fact:

You can not please EVERYONE.

To some you’re a hero – to others you’re a zero. I was in a meeting with other pastors a while back and they were talking about how you could please 100 percent of your congregation. Someone said, "That’s a fact. 50 percent are happy when you come – and 50 percent are happy when you go." Folks no one will please everyone.

A test of maturity is how you handle disagreeable people. Meekness is not compromising your convictions. You can be tender without surrender. Meekness is not weakness – but it is handling conflict with gentleness.

Let me give you a piece of advice. Pick your battles. Don’t argue over something that doesn’t matter. Don’t fight over something that doesn’t make any difference. But when something does make a difference – be tender without surrender.

Look at what Proverbs fifteen one says:

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NASB)

Meekness is learning to disagree – AGREEABLY.

Meekness is learning to get along with people even though you don’t see everything eye to eye. You can agreed to disagree – and you respect each other because of it. At BFC, in CLASS 101, we teach, “In the essentials we have unity; in the nonessentials we have liberty; in all things we have charity.” We need to get along with others – even if we see things differently.

I have never seen a marriage where the couple agree 100 percent of the time. I have never seen a church where everybody is in total agreement with one another. But I have seen situations where people love one another and have reached a point of unity. I have seen churches where there is unity with diversity. We each are different. We each have our different likes and dislikes. In fact that is the way God has designed His church. We each have a unique function. We each have a unique gift. We need variety. We need each other.

Look at what Paul says about variety in the church:

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NASV)

God has brought us together for the common good. He has placed us here to get to know one another - to help one another. He has placed us here to serve Him and to serve one another. We are not all the same – in fact we are not supposed to be. There is supposed to be diversity – but there also supposed to be unity. Paul uses the illustration of the human body to show that we can have unity with diversity in the Church. Look at what Paul says later on in First Corinthians chapter twelve:

“If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.”
1 Corinthians 12:17-18 (NKJV)

Folks one of the best illustrations that I know of – of unity with diversity – is Burlingame Federated Church. Most churches have within their congregation a great diversity of people. There are gender differences. There are age differences. There are educational differences. There are economic differences. But this church has something more. In 1948 – 60 years ago – three churches from three distinctly different denominational back-grounds came together – under this roof – to worship together.

Do you think there weren’t struggles? Do you think there weren’t disagreements? Do you think they always saw everything eye to eye? Think again! Of course there were! People are people and they don’t always see eye to eye. They don’t always see things the same way. But somehow they stuck with it and the made it work. They learned to get along even with their differences. They had denominational diversity – yet they had unity. Wow! What a legacy we have in this church. What a rich heritage we have right here at BFC.

When I meet with other ministers – I brag on you. I do! When I tell them of denominational diversity in our church they are amazed – but I say, “That’s not all. We have three different ways we conduct baptism. We have a couple different ways we offer communion – in fact we even worship with two different worship styles.” They ask, “How can you do that?” I say, “The answer is simple – because we all have the same Savior – because we have the same Lord – because we have the same Heavenly Father and He loves variety – He loves diversity and He loves unity.”

Because Jesus is our Lord - we can be tender without surrender. We can be understanding not demanding. We can be teachable not unreachable. We can be gentle not judgmental. All because Jesus Christ is our Lord and our Savior. He is our teacher - and we learn of Him.

“Blessed are the meek - (the teachable), For they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

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