Today’s Scripture: Matthew 5
Today we are reading Matthew 5, which is full of many important and well-known passages. One verse in particular caught my eye and made me think about how we develop a close relationship with God:
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
I always thought that this is a very interesting verse. So who are the meek? Jesus declared himself to be meek (Matthew 11:29). In today’s world, “meek” is defined as “quiet, gentle, easily imposed on, submissive,” but in the Greek New Testament, “meek” is derived from the Greek term “praus.” The meaning is not that of weakness, but rather it denotes “strength brought under control.” It was apparently a term the ancient Greeks used to describe a wild horse tamed to the bridle. I read that in biblical terms, being meek actually describes someone who submits to God and has channeled their strengths into the service of God.
If you have ever sat on a horse, you can feel the power of at least 1,000 pounds underneath you. A horse has a lot of strength, yet it submits to the rider and channels its strengths to obey his or her commands. The horse and the rider work together for a common goal. To do so, they must have a close connection.
So how can we be meek? How can we follow God’s instructions as a horse obeys the bridle? How can we have a close connection with God? One obvious answer is prayer. As we talk to God and listen to him, we grow closer. Another way we grow closer is through serving others because it connects us to the heart of Jesus. Growing closer to God is something that happens internally. Heart work can be hard work though, so sometimes it is easier to create the illusion that we are close to him. We decorate our houses with Christian-themed items. We place huge, elaborate crosses in every room including the kitchen pantry, religious paintings, Jesus-themed pillows, and tableware with crosses (to name just a few). Could such things be a distraction from a more internal and personal connection with God?
While there is nothing wrong with any of these displays, we should nevertheless look within ourselves and ask ourselves why we surround ourselves with these things? Is it to prove to others that we are close to God? To demonstrate to ourselves that we are “Christian enough” or to show to others that we have “Christian street cred”? If so, do these items really help you build a closer relationship with God?
Ultimately we become close to God when we grow internally. It is not about the external things. It is when we trust him. Trusting is what allows us to take steps toward meekness as we give him control to use and direct us. As the horse obeys the bridle, we can obey and take God’s direction, working together to accomplish his purpose for our lives.
How could being meek bring you closer to God?
Do you focus more on an internal bond with our Lord, or are you focusing on external things?
Are you trying to prove to others that you are “Christian enough”?
Make a list of three ways you could forge a closer bond with God without relying on material things.
For example, finding a peaceful location where you can pray regularly and be near God, or serving others in a meaningful way, or channeling your personal strengths on a dream team @ CedarCreek.
Make a plan to implement these ideas in your life on a regular basis.
Dear Father, thank you for allowing us to be part of your plan. Thank you for giving each of us strengths that we can use to serve you. Please help me discover ways I can apply my strengths to follow your plan for my life. Please help me focus on an internal relationship with you rather than being distracted by external, material forms of worship. Amen.
This post was written by Cordula Mora. Cordula is a neuroscientist who currently works in the Provost office at Bowling Green State University. She was born and raised in Germany, then spent many years living in New Zealand before settling in the US almost 16 years ago. She was raised in a German Protestant church but feels blessed to have been spiritually awakened when she was introduced to CedarCreek Church. She thanks God every day for all the blessings in her life, including two amazing daughters. She is currently looking for someone who would like to serve the Lord with her.
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