Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Ornament of a Meek & Quiet Spirit

I have been a born again Christian for nearly 20 years, and I’ve studied the Bible and attended college level Bible courses, but I have never studied the meek and quiet spirit that Scripture speaks of. When I found a book by Matthew Henry, a Puritan pastor, that was written in the late 1600's on this very subject, I decided to read it. As I passed from chapter to chapter, I questioned myself of whether I had this spirit he spoke of. Scripture shows in 1 Peter 3:4 that God places great value in the ones that possess a meek and quiet spirit, so I hoped that together we can see where we stand in this gifting.     

Meekness is spoken of as an adornment that is incorruptible. It is a softness of temper, gentleness, forbearance under provocation and injuries, void of passion, pride, and immoderate anger. Meekness enables us to control our own anger when we are provoked, and patiently bear the anger of others while not allowing it to excite anger or cause resentment in us. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in those Christians that are yielded to Him, and not brought about by self-effort. Meekness is more than the words we speak and the actions we display, it is the spirit behind those words and the intentions behind those actions. In some translations it is called self control. Meekness is the peaceful assurance that God is in control.

When someone possesses  the ornament of quietness in spirit, they speak soothing words, they are a peacemaker, they pass up the temptation to be sharp and hurtful, and they deny the desire to be boastful and selfish. They are gentle and mild, patient and kind, and they are not argumentative, pushy, self assertive, unkind or rude. Quietness is the evenness, the composure, the rest of the soul, which speaks both the nature and the excellency of the grace of meekness. The greatest comfort and happiness of man is sometimes set forth by quietness. (Matthew Henry)

In 1 Timothy 6:11, we are told to follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness.  I believe it takes seeking after the first five qualities in that verse before you begin to show the softness of meekness and quietness in our lives. If you continue to carry unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, and resentment in your life, then you will prevent the working of meekness and quietness. You will block the flow of the Holy Spirit, and the negative spirit of the flesh will be what flows from  your life. When you work through all these issues that are blocking the flow of the Spirit, you will then begin to see these gifts begin to work.

A changed life speaks loudly and clearly, and it is often most effective way to influence your family members for Christ. In 1 Peter 3:3&4, Peter instructed Christian wives to develop inner beauty rather than being overly concerned with their appearance. This is because their husbands and families would be won by their love, rather than by their looks. This brings to mind what my husband says to me sometimes. He feels that the perfect woman is one that can’t speak. Why? Because then he doesn’t have to hear all the sharp words and complaining they do. Of course he had me in mind when he said this, but it is the perfect example of how our words and actions effect the ones we love. I’m sure Peter felt that  way when he said we should work on the inner man. What a jewel in our husbands eyes we would be if only blessings flowed from our mouths.

Please don’t take me wrong about not spending time on our appearance, because our dress is a reflection of what is on the inside of us. You can have dresses down to your ankles, cover your head, and speak with a sweet voice and still be a snake in the grass. It will be just a matter of time before someone will be onto your front.

One thing that the modern woman has been told is to be assertive. Women have forged their way forward in the workplace with assertiveness, and have brought it home with them. It took many years of deprogramming after getting out of the military to learn not to be assertive with my husband. I think assertiveness is good in some situations, but being quiet in probably better.

God is surely working in your life, cultivating  a mantle of meekness and quietness. It often begins with a conscious effort on our part, and takes years to bring about to maturity. Praying and reading your Bible will not be the only thing that makes it manifest, but it is a start.

~This article was first published in the Kindred Spirits Journal, 
Issue #5, May 2004