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Friday: Further Thought ~ Meekness in the Crucible — 4 Comments

  1. Drawing together some of the key principles from this week, how do we develop meekness?

    1) Keep in mind that genuine meekness/humility is strength under control. Genuine meekness/humility is not weakness even though it may 'seem' like it on the outside - it is strength under control. This so well describes God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit - infinite power (above and beyond anything we can imagine) under infinite control.

    2) Genuine meekness is a fruit of the Spirit. Therefore it is developed by partnership with the indwelling Spirit and by practice within that partnership. The disciple Peter and the apostle Paul appear to be two examples of people who had to develop meekness/humility as this does not appear to have been their 'natural' temperament.

    3) Consciously and intentionally keep in mind (ie, practice) that the injustices you may encounter within a given situation are also part of a much bigger picture - the Cosmic Conflict. This awareness helps increase the ability to maintain self-control. Joseph appears to have had this perspective when dealing with the injustices he suffered (eg Genesis 45:5-8). The bigger picture is that God is working/orchestrating all things together for good (Romans 8:28) - even though things from our more limited perspective may not look that way at a given point in time (eg Psalm 73:1-14 compared with Psalm 73:15-24*).

    4) Keep in mind that others are also going through the same injustices as you (1 Peter 5:9) - including Jesus (Hebrews 4:15-16). You are not alone in your experience.

    Perhaps there are some other key point/s that you also have found beneficial from this weeks study and would like to keep in mind or share with others?

    * Psalm 73:18-19 needs to be interpreted in conjunction with Deuteronomy 32:35 and the frequent use of Hebrew idiom by Old Testament writers whereby "inspired writers of the Scriptures commonly credit God with doing actively that which in Western thought we would say He permits or does not prevent from happening." (Methods of Bible Study, Section 4.16)

  2. There is an inherent danger in the Seventh-day Adventist position that we idolize persecution, I grew up on a diet of stories about the papal suppression of the Waldensians and Huguenots while my non-Adventist mates were reading about ogres and wicked witches. In hindsight, the stories were not all that different in many respects. I can remember sleeping under the bed so that the Catholics could not find me in the middle of the night and torture me. I note that this persecution theme runs deep even today and in the last couple of years it has been the theme at Camp-meetings for in the primary and earilteen children's divisions.

    I have had conversations with Adventists that have gone something like this:

    "Won't it be great when persecution and Sunday-laws come it because when that happens we will know that we are right with God!" The implication is that if we are not being persecuted then we are somewhat deficient when it comes to salvation.

    There are a couple of things that I have learned as my spiritual journey has developed. Firstly, the papacy was not primarily targeting the "true believers" Their persecution and suppression were directed at anyone who they thought opposed them. The great crusades to the Holy Lands were directed at the "infidel Muslims" and the great inquisitions were primarily directed at the Jews. They even issued papal bulls against one another.

    Persecution did not define the faith of those who were persecuted but it clearly showed the faux-Christianity of those who used persecution to control and suppress others.

    I would like to remind readers that often the protestant reformers used persecution in their own sphere of influence. Knox, Luther, and others still had much to learn about the freedom of the individual. Even in the Seventh-day Adventist church history, we have some persecution events that are worse than just embarrassing.

    I think that the current set of lessons were probably prepared with the idea in mind of preparing us for the "tine of trouble" in the future. The problem is that I am an old man now and have heard the same warning many times over. And, I think that the emphasis on the future apocalypse has been a frightener to get us to behave ourselves.

    Here is a suggestion. We have our own crucibles right now, the crucibles of indifference and complacency. Right now, I don't see anyone leaving the faith because they cannot stand the persecution. But, so many lose their faith to indifference and complacency. The big picture idea is that we have enough to keep us busy spiritually in the present.

  3. Meekness is needed in many different forms depending on the circumstances - the different crucibles in which we find ourselves, whether physical, mental, or emotional.

    I believe our Rock and Refuge - the LORD - is revealed in His Word. I have found a way to develop the meekness I need from the LORD by memorising sections of His Word and repeating them to myself on a regular basis.
    When some in the church disagree with certain understandings and meanings of Scripture, I have found that the Holy Spirit brings to my mind passages that I have stored in my memory. Then I need to remember my spiritual gift - 1Pe 3:14-15 MKJV  But if you also suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. And do not fear their fear, nor be troubled,  (15)  but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope in you, with meekness and fear;
    Another favourite is: Heb 4:12 MKJV  For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    I was intrigued to discover that the delegates of the 2015 General Conference felt the need to make this statement:

    As delegates to the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas, we reaffirm our commitment to the authority of the Bible as the infallible revelation of God and His will. In them, God revealed His plan to redeem the world through the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and mediation of Jesus Christ. As a trustworthy record of God’s acts in history from creation to new creation and framed with doctrinal and ethical instructions, the Scriptures shape the intellectual and practical experience of believers.
    We recognize that the Scriptures offer a divine perspective to evaluate the intellectual and ethical challenges of the contemporary world.
    Infallible revelation

  4. I believe I can be submissive without being a slave. I don't equate submissiveness with slavery. I love the Lord which compells me to submit my will to the Lord. It does not mean I am a robot because I submit to the Lord my will. You must understand the charactor of God. As I submit He encourages me to do so of my own free will. Submitting opens the windows of heaven from where all blessings flow. Submitting to God brings a lot of good things to me. It makes the devil flee from me, draws God near to me, humbles me before the Lord, then He lifts me up. James 4:7-10.


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