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Monday, September 9, 2013

UNDER or IN Control?

This past winter was a bear for many in the Eastern half of the US and those in Canada.  The winter storms just lingered and lingered, slamming the affected with tons of snow, damaging winds, and ice storms galore.  What I heard over and over from those living in those "winter places" was the overwhelming theme of "Isn't this enough already".  The idea of frustration with one season which seemed to linger way too long for their liking just came through loud and clear!  What we often fail to recognize is the value of the present season in preparing us for the next!

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. (Matthew 5:5 MSG)

The idea of "meekness" is really one of being under control.  Notice, I did not say being IN control - it is the attitude of spirit which remains UNDER control during the seasons which seem to linger just a little too long.  When we begin to recognize the difference, we are well-underway toward the changing of the seasons in our lives!  UNDER control is a place of power - IN control is a place of weakness.  As long as I am UNDER the control of the Holy Spirit's guidance in my life, I am going in the right direction.  When I take over control and demand to be IN control, things get a little wonky.  

One of the things I think best demonstrates the character trait of meekness is what we do when someone in our lives just doesn't get it right.  What we demonstrate in those moments really defines the person, doesn't it?  How we respond to them matters.  If our attitude is one of extending grace when they don't always deserve it, then we probably are beginning to move in meekness. Grace is one of the character traits meekness puts on display in our lives.  To this end, I will ask us to consider a few thoughts as we ponder this idea of being IN or UNDER control - truly exhibiting the character traits of an individual who is manifesting meekness.

When faced with another who is different than we are - behaving differently, a little out of the ordinary, how do we treat them?  Did you ever stop to consider how we treat another is a sign of being IN or UNDER control.  Are we gentle or judgmental with those individuals?  If you answer this one as being a little judgmental, you probably are not unlike some of the rest of us!  It is easy to jump to conclusions about others, isn't it?  At the point we jump in with both feet, we find out just how much we exercise the character traits of a meek individual - for grace likely does not abound when we are jumping into judgment creek with both feet!

Probably a more telling test of our attitude is how we treat others when they want to help us.  If we find ourselves just a little unwilling to allow another to help us when they are moved upon to do so, we are probably determining we need to be IN control and not UNDER the control of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God places individuals in our lives to assist us when and where we need the greatest amount of help - like it or not!  Accepting that help when it is offered is quite another thing!  

In the course of time, I have come to the conclusion there are a lot of ways to do things correctly - not all of them need to be my way!  It is a sign of a meek spirit to be willing to allow another to do things their way, as there are many ways to get to the same end.  It says a lot to let go and let another go at things according to their ability and at their speed.  Trust me, I have seen a whole lot of confusion come when my own selfishness demanded its own way in the course of things.  People just aren't lined up to always do things the way I want them done - just sayin!

Issues are sure to come in life - no one living and breathing on this planet can say they never face issues.  They have a way of creeping up on us.  When we see them creeping up, we have one of two options - we can react to the issue; or we can react to the surface of what we see - completely missing the issue and focusing on how it was presented to us.  The latter focuses how it is presented - the former focuses on the issue itself.  There is a huge difference between the two.  One will display meekness - self-control; the other will display criticism and negativity - the lack of self-control.  Truth be told, how we see the issue will determine whether we give another grace enough to actually grow as a result of the issue.

Here are a few thoughts in closing - 

1.  Jesus never asked for the bold to inherit the earth - he offered it to the meek.  One characteristic of the meek is their willingness to be taught.  There us something quite spectacular about being willing to be taught IN the issue. If we remain teachable, we will always be reachable.
2.  We need to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to get angry.  The meek truly are willing to live UNDER the control of Christ - their own way is not the determining factor in their lives.  Changed minds lead to changed hearts. Changed hearts are open to grace.  Grace received will be grace tendered to another when they most need it.
3.  We have to learn to act, not react.  Someone once challenged me to think not so much about winning, but winning a different way.  Think on that one a little.  There are a whole lot of ways to win in life.  I am determined the best way to win is not so much by being IN control, but by being UNDER the right control!  
4.  Last, but not least, no one determined YOUR reaction in life.  You do that all on your own.  Just sayin!