Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. — Jesus
Hey, I don’t know about you, but inheriting the Earth would be pretty cool. But what’s up with this meekness stuff? What does it mean to be meek, anyway? Spineless? Wimpy? Weak?
Nope! The Greek words translated “meek” and “meekness” in the NT mean “to be mild and gentle”; not rude, obnoxious, overbearing, unkind. A meek person is not a wimp or a pushover. We can kindly say no, and we can stand our ground without being angry or overbearing.
The Greek words for “meek” and “meekness” are often translated as “gentle” in modern translations. This probably is a better term to use in our modern language than “meek”, which can have a negative connotation. However, for the purposes of this article, I want to use the term “meek” because it means not just “gentle”, but also having a mild spirit. In addition, “gentle” can also wrongly give the impression of a person who is a pushover.
A meek person is one who relies on God, not one who trusts in their own power, might, and charisma. They are strong on the inside instead of the outside. Just because someone looks strong on the outside does not mean that they are strong on the inside. It can simply be a front to hide their true inner weakness.
Throughout the Bible, God shows us that meekness is a characteristic of Godly people.
But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. Against such things there is not a law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
(Note how many things in this verse have the implication of calmness, mildness and kindness: love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, meekness, temperance. That’s about ¾.)
Then I, the prisoner in the Lord, exhort you to walk worthily of the calling in which you were called, with all humility and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Therefore, as elect ones of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassions, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering, bearing with one another and forgiving yourselves, if anyone has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also you should forgive. And above all these, love, which is the bond of perfectness. (Colossians 3:12-14)
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and don’t lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18)
The world wants you to believe that a meek person is wimpy and weak. Remove that picture from your mind and replace it with these ideas:
- Full of faith and conviction
Those last four are very important. Remember, they are what God has called His people to be: bold, strong, courageous–the same people that He calls to be meek. Meekness and boldness are not opposite. Instead, they are both the characteristics of a good leader.
Anybody who knows the life of Jesus knows that He was no wimp. He openly confronted the top religious leaders and called them “hypocrites”, “serpents”, “children of Hell”, and other strong terms. He even went into the Temple–twice!–and drove out those who bought and sold in it.
But this same Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus, the king of all creation, said that He was meek and humble. If He is meek, then surely we should be as well.
The kingdom of God is not built by those who make a lot of noise and create a great following of their dynamic personality. That is how carnality happens. The kingdom of God is built by the meek, who point others to God.
As God prophesied of His Son:
“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit on him. He will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not strive, nor shout; neither will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He won’t break a bruised reed. He won’t quench a smoking flax, until he leads justice to victory. In his name, the nations will hope.” (Matthew 12:18-21)