(This will wrap up my posts on Matthew Henry’s Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit.)
“We must gird it [meekness] fast to us and not leave it to hang loose so as to be snatched away by every temptation.Carelessness is no commendation of the soul’s adorning. Watchfulness and resolution in the strength of Christ must tie the knot upon our graces.”
If we are really serious about this idea of having meekness and quietness of spirit, we must knock ourselves out to get it. As Henry says, we have to tie it on tightly with a strong knot. We can’t just talk big about it while living, reacting, speaking, and spouting off carelessly. Meekness is not something that will just arrive on our doorstep one morning and, poof, we’ve got it. Meekness requires diligence and watchfulness. We have to mortify our passions, and that means putting them to death.
If we just think meekness sounds like a fun idea, we will let it sort of dangle loosely around us like a scarf. Whenever it is convenient (which means when ever we are not being tempted), we will demonstrate our meek spirit, but when a real temptation comes along, all our good resolutions will melt away. After losing several rounds, we may be tempted to just give the whole thing up. It’s far easier to just let the flesh have its way. We may tell ourselves that we are too old to change, that this is just our personality, or that our hormones make us do this. But none of those excuses will bring any real peace or comfort.
Notice in the quote above that it is “in the strength of Christ” that we put this meekness on. We must look to Him for it, not to ourselves. He can “tie the knot” of meekness on tight. When this happens, we give Him the glory and we don’t commend ourselves. When God gives us strength to give a soft answer, to overlook an insult, to cover sin with love, and to return good for evil, He gets all the credit and thanks because we know that in and of ourselves none of that would happen.
So don’t give way to the temptation to give up. Bad habits are hard to break, but they are not impossible to break, especially when you have a good, gracious, all-powerful and loving God who will enable you to do this by means of His grace. Pray for this peace-loving meekness and quietness of spirit. It is precious in God’s sight.