Berean Studies / Ber02 - Humility And Meekness
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1. What importance does God attach to these graces of Christian character?
1Pe 5:5, 6; 3:4; Ps 147:6; 149:4; F90 ¶1; E254 ¶2; A83 ¶2;
R1920 col. 2 ¶2- 4; R2585, 2586; R2700 col. 1 last ¶( to col. 2)
(1Pe 5:5) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
(1Pe 5:6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
(1Pe 3:4) But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
(Psa 147:6) The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
(Psa 149:4) For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
F90:1 God is evidently putting a premium upon humility in connection with all whom he invites to become members of this New Creation. The Apostle points this out, saying, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." (1 Pet. 5:6) Paul points them to the pattern, Christ Jesus--how he humbled himself and made himself of no reputation, seeking a lower nature and suffering death, even the death of the cross, etc.; on account of which obedience and humility God highly exalted him. Then Peter points the lesson, saying, "God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble." (1 Pet. 5:5) Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many great or wise or learned are called, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith. With the premium which God sets upon humility, there is also a premium which he sets upon faith. He would have for New Creatures those who have learned to trust him implicitly, who accept his grace as sufficient for them, and in the strength which he supplies attain --as incidental to their exaltation--the victory to which he calls them.
E254:2 What these need--what we and all mankind need--are sound minds: but the time for the general healing of a world's mental and physical ailments at the hands of the Great Physician is the Millennial age, when fully introduced; but that age cannot be introduced, and its relief and blessing cannot come, until the due time. Meantime, however, the called-out Gospel Church obtains, through her Lord and his Word, his holy Spirit--the Spirit of his sound mind, which is the same as the Father's mind or Spirit. And in proportion as each member utilizes his privileges in this connection he will be helped over the natural mental and physical troubles which beset us in common with the whole world of mankind. The Word of the Lord through the Apostle directs us thus--"I say...to every man that is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly [not according to the flesh, but according to his new nature] according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." (Rom. 12:3) It is a life work with many, to conquer their too high appreciation of themselves, and to obtain the Spirit of a sound mind as respects their own talents, but they are assisted in this work of rectifying their pride, by the words of the Master, which say, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." They are assisted also by the words of the Apostle, which declare that "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace [favor] to the humble." "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." Matt. 5:5; Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5,6
A83:2 And, dearly beloved, many blows and much polishing must we endure--much transforming must we undergo, and much conforming to his example, under the direction of the great Master-builder; and in order to have the ability and ideality of the builder displayed in us, we will need to see that we have no cross-grained will of our own to oppose or thwart the accomplishment of His will in us; we must be very childlike and humble--"clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."
R1920 c2 p2-4: Why has God chosen these weak, inferior instruments for his great work? why does he not employ the eloquent tongues, the pens of ready writers, and the prestige of great names? Paul tells us why. It is in order "that no flesh should glory in his presence." The great work of vanquishing sin and establishing righteousness in the earth is the Lord's work: no human power is adequate to the emergencies of the case. Yet God is pleased to allow his power to operate through any human instrument that is meet for his use; i.e., that can be used without injury to itself. If God were to work his wonders through those whose hearts are inclined to pride, that pride would grow, and would arrogate to self the glory that belongs to God, instead of appreciating the honor of being a servant of God, an instrument in his mighty hand--"for the Master's use made meet."
The Lord's use of even the weakest instruments, of those having even a very small measure of talent for his service, sometimes proves an exaltation too great, and that which was a blessing becomes a curse through pride and vain-glory. Such is the perversity of human nature, and such the subtlety of the Adversary in gaining the advantage, that the very texts above cited sometimes become a stumbling-block to many who are not only poor financially, but who are deficient in intellect and education, and who even lack instruction in the divine Word. They forget that the Lord said, "Blessed are ye poor i.e., those who were poor (or became so) as his disciples]" (`Luke 6:20`); or, as `Matthew (5:3`) records it, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." And they forget that the ignorant as well as the learned, the poor as well as the rich, can become "puffed up in their fleshly mind." It is sad to see "a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing" (`Gal. 6:3`), thus deceiving himself,--but specially so, when even the rudiments of education and Christlikeness are lacking. We believe that modesty and simplicity are traits to be cultivated by rich and poor alike, who are blessed with a knowledge of the truth, and that any "confounding of the mighty" should be done kindly and in meekness (`Eph. 4:2`; `2 Tim. 2:25`), and not in a combative spirit or with a show of gratification over their defeat.
Above almost every thing else, therefore, beloved, let us guard well our humility. It is only when we are little in our own eyes that God can use us with safety to ourselves. And yet he does not shield us from every test of fidelity. If therefore the Lord gives you a little exaltation to-day, a little encouragement of success in his service, receive it humbly, meekly remembering your own unworthiness and insufficiency except as God is pleased to work through you; and be just as ready to receive the humiliations of tomorrow as necessary for your discipline and the proper balancing of your character. If the success of yesterday makes you fret under the humiliation of to-day, then beware: you are not as roundly developed spiritually as you should be. Whatever may be the triumphs of the truth through us, let us always remember that we are among "the things that are not." Let us endeavor therefore to make the Apostle Paul's experience our own, who said,-- "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere, and in all things, I am instructed, both to be full, and to be hungry, and to abound and to suffer need. I can do all [these] things through Christ which strengtheneth me."--`Phil. 4:11-13`.
R2585, 2586 - "MARK THE PERFECT MAN! BEHOLD THE UPRIGHT!"
--`MATT. 4:25-5:12`.--APRIL 1.--
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
WHAT characteristics are essential to our attainment of the most blessed conditions God has to bestow? What must we be in order to inherit the Kingdom, be filled with righteousness, obtain divine mercy and everlasting comfort, be called the sons of God, and be permitted to see his face, obtaining a great reward in heaven? What question, what topic, what Bible lesson, could be more interesting to us or a more profitable study than this one? The great Teacher made it the topic, the text, of one of his principal discourses at his first advent, and caused the gist of his argument to be recorded for the admonition of his true followers throughout this Gospel age.
While the character of our Lord, which we as his followers are to copy, is one; and the attainment of that one character or disposition means the attainment of all the blessings God has to bestow; nevertheless, in order to present the matter the more distinctly to our minds the Lord divides this one character or disposition into different sections, giving us a view of each particular part; just as a photographer would take a front view, right-side view, left-side view, rear view and angling views, of any interesting subject, so that all the details of construction might be clearly discernible.
THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
The first character-picture which our Lord presents we may reasonably assume was in some respects at least most important: It is Humility. "Blessed are the humble-minded (poor in spirit) for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven." We do not understand this to signify that humility is the only essential grace, and that whoever is humble will therefore attain the Kingdom; but rather that to the attainment of the Kingdom humility is a prerequisite of first importance. In other words, while all humble people will not attain the Kingdom, the Kingdom cannot be attained by anyone who is not humble: the Kingdom is theirs, in the sense that it is possible for this class to accept the terms and to attain to the honors and blessings, while all of a different attitude of mind--the proud, the haughty, the self-conceited, are absolutely debarred from any possibility of attaining the Kingdom so long as these contrary conditions lie at the foundation of their characters.
O that all of the Lord's people might see this point clearly and distinctly, and realize once and forever that "The Lord resisteth the proud and showeth his favors to the humble" exclusively! How this thought should put a guard upon every one of the Lord's little ones who is seeking to be conformed to the image of God's dear Son. How jealously they would watch and foster the development of this spirit of humility in their own hearts, and how it would be more and more discernible to others in their daily course of life, and what a blessing and what an influence for good, especially upon the "brethren," would result!
Growing out of this first essential quality or characteristic, as a tree of many branches out of the root, come the other graces of the spirit, which the Lord has declared blessed--divinely approved. How different our Lord's teachings in this respect from all human teachings! Earthly wisdom would say, on the contrary: Hold up your head; think well of yourself, if you would have other people think well of you; be high-spirited, instead of poor in spirit, a little haughty, rather than of humble demeanor; it will have a greater influence in many respects, for no one will think more highly of you than you think of yourself, nor give you credit for more than you claim; hence, think highly of yourself, and claim much, carrying a high head, and having a lofty and self-important look.
No doubt there is worldly wisdom in the worldly counsel; no doubt there is some truth in the worldly suggestion, so far as success in earthly matters in the present time is concerned. But here as in other instances, the Lord shows us that his ways are not as man's ways, but higher, as the heavens are higher than the earth. He assures us that he that humbleth himself shall be exalted in due time, while he who exalts himself shall be brought low, in due time. (`Matt. 23:12`.) In the Scriptures he points us to our dear Redeemer as the illustration of the humble and obedient one, whom he has now exalted to the right hand of divine power; and our attention is also called to the great Adversary, who, taking a reverse course, sought to exalt himself, and has been abased, and is ultimately to be destroyed.--`Phil. 2:9`; `Heb. 2:14`.
A sharp distinction should be noted between being poor in spirit and being poor in pocket, or in intellectual gifts and attainments. We have all seen people who were poor in these earthly senses, yet proud in spirit. The point to be noticed is that whatever our financial or intellectual gifts and conditions, the thing acceptable in the divine sight is humility of spirit. Such a disposition is essential to those who would receive the wisdom which cometh from above--they must have a humble appreciation of their own deficiencies and lack of wisdom, else they cannot receive freely, heartily, the wisdom which God is pleased to grant in the present time, only to those who are in the attitude of heart to receive it. And it will be seen also that this humility of mind is essential as a basis for the spirit of a sound mind--for who is in a proper condition to think justly, reasonably, impartially, except first of all he have a humble disposition? Hence we must agree that humility is a primary element in the disposition or mind of Christ.
CONSOLATIONS THE REWARD OF SYMPATHY.
The second beatitude or blessed condition mentioned by our Lord stands closely related to the first --"Blessed are they that mourn." Mourning of itself is not a grace, but it betokens an attitude of mind which is acceptable in the Lord's sight. Nor should we think of a mournful spirit, without consolation or joys, as being a Christian spirit. We cannot suppose that our Heavenly Father and the holy angels are continual mourners, as they would certainly be if mourning possessed any merit of itself. The thought rather is, Blessed are ye that mourn now-- to whom present earthly conditions are not entirely satisfactory and happifying--who are not blind to the difficulties and trials through which the human family as a whole is passing--sin and sickness, pain and trouble, dying and crying: blessed are those who have sympathy of heart under present conditions, and to whom they are not satisfactory; for the time is coming when, under God's providence, a better order of things shall be instituted, and their dissatisfaction with present conditions will but bring them into closer sympathy and fellowship with those better things for which the divine plan is preparing. When God's Kingdom shall come and his will be done on earth as it is done in heaven, all cause for mourning and for sorrow and for tears will be done away: that will be a time for consolation, for satisfaction, to this class.
Indeed, a good measure of comfort comes to the Lord's people even in the present age--through faith built upon the R2586 exceeding great and precious promises of the divine Word. The fact that they are able to discern the wrongs, the inequities, the distresses of the present time, creates in this class that very condition of heart to which divine promises appeal, whereas others not so touched at heart with sympathy for the groaning creation, are unable to so thoroughly appreciate the hopes set before us in the gospel. Hence it is by a natural law that such are drawn to the Lord's Word, and are enabled to draw therefrom consolation which speaks peace to their hearts, and gives them an inner joy which the less sympathetic cannot know under present conditions. Blessed are the sympathetic!
As we can cultivate the first of these graces, humility of mind, and by cultivation develop more and more of this first and essential characteristic, so we can cultivate also the second grace, the sympathetic spirit. To do this we should frequently think of others--their interests, their trials, their difficulties, and should seek to enter into these as tho they were all our own, and should seek to lend a helping hand and to "do good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith."--`Gal. 6:10`.
HOW THE GENTLE INHERIT.
The third of these graces which the Lord declares blessed is Meekness, or, as we should say, Gentleness. Webster's Dictionary defines meekness to be, "Submission to the divine will; patience and gentleness from moral and religious motives." It will be perceived that there is quite a difference between this patient, gentle submission to the divine will, and the ordinary gentleness and patience which may frequently be exercised simply for the gratification of selfish desires. Patient submission to the divine will is impossible to those who have not the first grace in the list, a humble mind: the proud and self-willed find it impossible to be submissive to divine conditions; self rises up, perverts their judgments, and misleads their consciences to such an extent that they cannot have full confidence in divine providence, but feel that they must put forth their hand and steady the ark.
Moreover, patient submission can be developed only in those who mourn, in the sense of having large sympathies, and who have been comforted by the blessed promises of God, through which the holy spirit comforteth his people. Realizing the evils of our time, and that they are permitted of God for the present for a wise purpose, these not only sympathize with the groaning creation, but this sympathy and the comfort received as its reward tend to make them patient, submissive to the divine will. Remembering that all things are working together for good to them that love God, they are prepared to recognize divine providence in whatever may befall them, and prepared also to look for the lessons of those providences, as blessings which will be helpful to them and to others, in preparing for the future and eternal joys.
This third grace--patient submission to the divine will--which can be noted by those with whom we come in contact, might be said to be the outer manifestation of the second grace, which is inward, of the heart, and which might not be outwardly discerned by our fellow-creatures. The grace of sympathy manifests itself in our patient submissiveness in all the affairs of life, realizing that to those who are in Christ all matters are under divine supervision, and this patience in respect to God's providences in our own circumstances and affairs leads also naturally and properly to patience with others in their weaknesses and failures and ignorance, and leads properly to helpfulness toward them as we have opportunity.
These "meek," patiently submissive to the divine will, shall inherit the earth. The Lord did not mean, nor is it true, that the patient and submissive to the divine will inherit the earth at the present time: quite to the contrary, the arrogant, the impatient, the aggressive, the selfish, succeed in grasping the chief things of power, of influence and of wealth now; and the patiently submissive have comparatively a poor chance. The reward of this grace, therefore, like the others, is future: following on under the divine leading, these shall be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ; and the earth is a part of that great inheritance, which in turn, by divine arrangement, they shall bestow at the close of the Millennial age, upon the world of mankind who then survive--those proved worthy of eternal life by the Millennial tests.
Nevertheless, as there is a sense in which the Lord's people are comforted now, so there is also a sense in which they now inherit the earth--a figurative sense, by faith. The Apostle speaks of this when he says, "All things are yours--things present or things to come." (`1 Cor. 3:21-23`.) Those who have the proper humble attitude of mind and are patiently submissive to the divine will, get more of blessing out of the things of the present time than do their actual owners, because their hearts are in the attitude in which it is possible to receive blessing. The world, full of selfish craving, is never satisfied, never contented; the child of God, patiently submissive to the divine will, is always satisfied--
"Content whatever lot I see,
Since 'tis God's hand that leadeth me."
R2700 c1 last p (to c.2): This is a great lesson applicable, not only to the natural man, seeking progress back to fellowship and harmony with God, but there is in it also a lesson to the "new creature" all through life's journey,--that if divine favor is desired and to be expected it must be sought; not in pride, not in self-sufficiency, but in humility. The Lord resisteth the proud, the self-sufficient, the boastful, and showeth his favors unto the humble. The Apostle James likewise calls attention to the importance of this grace of humility, assuring us that no true progress can be made in the way to God, except by the humble. (`James 4:10`.) And the Apostle Peter, after exhorting to humility, saying, "Yea, all of you, be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility," adds, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."--`1 Pet. 5:5,6`.
2. Although the Scriptures use the words interchangeably, yet strictly speaking, what is the distinction between humility...
3. What is the relation between humility and knowledge?
4. How do we know that humility is the underlying principle of the divine government?
5. What does it mean to be ‘clothed with humility’?
6. Is it possible to have too great humility?
7. What elements of character are in direct opposition to humility?
8. What lessons may we learn from Jesus’ example of humility?
9. Was humility characteristic of the apostles?
10. Why is humility a chief essential in an Elder?
11. Why should husbands cultivate and exercise humility?
12. How can wives exercise humility?
13. Why is it important that we teach our children meekness and humility?
14. What Scriptural promises are given to the meek and humble?
15. What notable illustrations and examples of meekness and humility do we find in the Bible?
16. Give suggestions as to the best methods for acquiring and cultivating these important graces.
17. What additional thoughts can be found by consulting the Topical Indexes of the ‘ New Bible ‘ and ‘ Heavenly Manna ‘?