Matthew Henry, the great Bible commentator, published The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit in 1698. It turns out that we still need meekness and quietness 400 years later (at least I do!) so I’m going to use the next several posts to highlight a few of his points from this encouraging little book.
First a definition. Meekness is what he calls easiness of spirit. Not easiness about sin, but easiness about inconvenience and hard work and obstacles and all kinds of provocations. Meekness is in direct opposition to anger.
“Meekness is easiness for it accommodates the soul to every occurrence, and so makes a man easy to himself and to all about.” In other words, when we are meek, we do not react or get fussed up or fired up. We stay in control of ourselves and “keep possession of our souls” in the midst of unforeseen occurrences. I love the word he chooses here: provocation. He allows that this world is full to overflowing with all sorts of provocations, so we might as well get our souls adjusted to it and learn the drill.
Henry argues that before we can be meek toward others (or be easy toward ourselves), we must first be meek toward God, which means quietly submitting ourselves to “his whole will, according as he is pleased to make it known whether by his word or by his providence.”
If we are meek toward God, not only will we have control of our own anger, but we will “patiently bear the anger of others.”
“Meekness, in the school of Christ, is one of the fruits of the Spirit. It is a grace, wrought by the Holy Ghost both as a sanctifier and as a comforter in the hearts of true believers, teaching and enabling them at all times to keep their passions under the conduct and government of religion and right reason.”
Do you sometimes snap at the kids or react toward others impatiently? Then learn meekness and quietness of spirit. The Holy Spirit is willing to teach us, and we are enrolled in His school. First we should recognize our need for it; secondly, we should pray that He will teach us. Finally, we should walk through the day with a look-out for provocation. Ah! Here comes one! Let’s test our meekness and see how far we are along in our lessons.