Giving Up Control
Chances are you don’t pay a lot of attention to horse racing; truthfully who among us really does? But this year’s Kentucky Derby, held last Saturday, marked the 50th anniversary of a victory by legendary Triple Crown winner Secretariat. Even if you don’t watch horse racing, you’ve probably heard of Secretariat. To this day, Big Red, as he was affectionally known, still holds the record for the fastest times in all three Triple Crown races!
As amazing as Secretariat, or any great, winning race horse might be, they had no chance of reaching their potential if they weren’t tamed and under control. Believe it or not, there is a vital trait that these horses have that Jesus taught we must also have if we want to live a blessed life!
In the third Beatitude, Jesus taught:
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
So what does it mean to be meek? What comes to mind when you hear the term meek? My guess is, what comes to mind is weak. Meek and weak sound like siblings, don’t they? But those two characteristics are distant cousins at best and truthfully, they really aren’t related at all. Biblical commentator Matthew Henry notes that in Latin, the idea of meekness means “used to the hand” as in the taming of a wild animal, like a horse for example. A horse that is not yet broken is not “used to the hand.” So when someone comes near, it bucks and kicks. Horses, even like Secretariat, would be wild too, if they weren’t “used to the hand”.
Secretariat was anything but weak, but he was remarkably meek. He was a powerful, strong animal, but he was also very much under control. When a thoroughbred horse becomes “used to the hand”, its wild passions are subdued, it is brought under control; no longer a wild, bucking beast, but a thoroughbred at peace!
God wants us to experience success in life. He wants us to win, to be blessed. But to experience those blessings, we must be “used to His hand.” Maybe you’ve been struggling in life to this point; in many ways, perhaps because you are anything but meek. I have told my children more than once that meekness leads to success in life… success vocationally, success relationally and success spiritually. If you want your marriage to soar, seek meekness. If you want to advance in your career, learn meekness. If you want to progress in your faith journey, doggedly pursue meekness.
Meekness is controlled strength. Do you know what the silver bullet is for meekness? Submission. Think about the wild horse analogy again. The horse is brought under control as it submits to the bit and the bridle. Submission is a word in English that breaks down pretty easily and clearly. It is a combination of two words, “sub” and “mission”. So it means to sub your mission for someone else’s. As it relates to faith, submission is to sub your mission for God’s mission. That is to submit to Him in every area of life.
How can we do that? There are Three Key Areas To Submit in the pursuit of meekness.
1) Submit to God’s Word
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21 (NKJV)
Last week, we learned about the importance of sinful mourning; that is a heart felt sorrow for our sins that leads to forsaking them to experience life change. James gives us insight on how to do that… by receiving with meekness God’s Word. Have you taken our 30-Day Challenge to read, reflect and pray with a purpose… to experience life change? If not, start today! As you read, reflect and pray, ask: Is there a sin to confess? Is there a command to obey? Is there a promise to embrace? Will you submit yourself to Scripture, allowing God to reorder and reshape your desires, your beliefs, your affections in light of His commands, His truths, His promises?
2) Submit to God’s Will
The truth is God may use difficult circumstances to bring you under His control. There will be times in your life when God takes you to places you may not want to go or may not have chosen. He may put you in difficult circumstances at work, in your family, at church, or with your health for a purpose… to make you meek. What does it mean for your strength to be brought under control as you submit to His will?
Consider the model Jesus offered us in the Garden of Gethsemane, with the cross just hours away. He found Himself alone, His closest friends unable to stay awake to pray for Him, lamenting the pain and suffering to come, literally sweating blood in anguish. Yet in that moment, Jesus prayed: 39 “…Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 29:36b. What did Jesus model for us? Meekness. A complete, wholehearted, unconditional abandonment to God’s will. Would you be so bold, so committed, so abandoned to submit yourself to God’s will in every area of your life?
3) Submit to God’s People
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21
In context, submission to one another is one of the distinguishing marks of someone who is filled with and directed by the Holy Spirit. To submit to one another, it is imperative to be fully engaged in a local church. Without that, you can’t possibly fulfill this command.
The Apostle Paul offers more clarity about submitting to one another in the context of the local church when he writes: 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3
If you find yourself tempted or willing to walk away from any relationship because you know better or have a better idea or want people to bend to your desires, you may be struggling with submission and meekness. Meekness, healthy Christian relationships, involve submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ.
To learn more about meekness, including seven ways to cultivate meekness in your life, click here to listen to: The Blessed Life: A Journey Through the Beatitudes - Part 3 - I Give Up Control.