August 25, 2011 by Chris French
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“Meek” isn’t an easy word to understand. We don’t use it very much anymore and it doesn’t hep that there’s not really an English word that translates the meaning of “meek”. That being said we HAVE to understand what this word means and how to go about being “meek”. Jesus blessed those people who were meek. We NEED to understand what He was talking about! First of all, being meek does not mean you are weak. Jesus calls Himself meek (Matthew 11.29) and He was certainly powerful enough to defend Himself. Remember the guys in the Temple who were making money off of God (John 2.13-17)? When Jesus made that whip they didn’t hand around and ask Him why He was so mad. They just got out of there! He’s not a weak man. He has the power to prevent any kind of personal harm from coming to Himself even. Remember when Ahaziah sent 50 men to capture Elijah? Go back and read 2nd Kings 1. God consumes two different squadrons of 50 soldiers with fire. Remember when the Syrian army was sent to get Elisha? Go back and read 2nd Kings 6.8-23. They’ve got the city surrounded and Elisha’s servant is scared, but Elisha is calm. He prays that God will open the servant’s eyes so he can see what Elisha sees. God does and the servant sees an angelic army that covered the mountain with horses chariots of fire! Awesome! That’s the God that says He is meek! Obviously this has nothing to do with being weak.
Think of the last time you got in an argument with someone. That argument was because you didn’t get what you wanted. Maybe you didn’t get the respect you thought you deserved or maybe you didn’t get the grade, electronic or response you thought you deserved. Whatever the case 99% of arguments happen because you didn’t get what you wanted so you asserted yourself in an attempt to gain whatever it was you wanted. That’s the opposite of meekness! If you were meek you wouldn’t have demanded that your interests be met. You would have conceded to someone else’s interests. Meekness means you don’t insist on your own way.
Here’s something to chew on. It doesn’t have much to do with the meek lesson, but it’s free. You may be thinking, “How will I ever get what I want if I’m always giving other’s what they want?” God will change what you want. He’ll re-order your priorities! Back to meekness.
Meekness doesn’t mean you’re weak, but it does mean that you have your power under control. It’s like the lion or elephant you’ve seen at the circus. Those animals can do some pretty amazing things! They’ve been trained to do them. Is a circus lion any weaker than a wild lion? Of course not! So what’s the difference? One has learned to be controlled and the other has not. We need to learn to control ourselves too! What would happen if we just did whatever we wanted to all the time? What would you say if you said everything you wanted to say instead of biting your tongue? God wants us to control our actions and thoughts. We actually hurt ourselves when we don’t (Proverbs 25.28). We’re like a city without defenses if we don’t have self-control! Scary thought, huh? Meek is power under control!
If you’re reading thru some of the verses on meekness (Matt. 5.5, Gal. 5.23, 6.1 etc.) you’ll probably find it translated “gentleness”. That’s not a great translation because when we think of gentleness we think of someone’s actions. They say nice things, they do gentle things. I wouldn’t know if you were gentle or not if you never said or did anything, so gentle shows up in our actions. Meekness shows up in our mindset! So it would be true to say that meekness (power under control) could certainly lead you to be gentle, but they are not the same thing in Jesus’ mind.
Maybe an illustration will help. In Galatians 6.1 Paul says that if we see a brother sinning we have the obligation to go to him and show him his sin. We do that in a meek way, again most likely translated gentle here. Here are some do’s for an encounter like this. Maybe this will help you understand what it means to be meek on a daily basis. You’re going to be patient with the person. It’s not easy being told you’re wrong and they will argue with you and try to justify their actions. You need to be patient and humble with them. It might be you on the receiving end of this conversation next time. You do need to go to them with a broken heart. Your words are going to hurt them deeply. That’s not something you should be excited about doing, but it needs to be done so you do it in the most meek and gentle way possible. Do forgive them quickly.
Here are some don’ts. Don’t go to this person angry, even if their sin had hurt you. You wouldn’t want them to come to you angry and the next time they might be coming to you! Don’t exert any influence you might have over them. Maybe you’re older, smarter or more popular than this person. You’re coming to them as one sinner coming to another. You don’t have anything over them. Don’t act like you do. Don’t talk about how the sinning person has offended you or say bad things about them. Keep the focus on how they have offended God and broken relationship with Him. Again those are actions, and meekness is the mindset that those actions come from.
So “meek” means “power under control”. So Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have their power under control (God’s control), because these people will inherit the earth. What’s He mean by, “inherit the earth?” The word Jesus uses for “inherit” is used by Moses to talk about the Promised Land of the Jews. The Israelites would inherit that land. Unfortunately, because they refused to kill all the peoples in the Promised Land when they got there they would always have to deal with wars and even being kicked out of the Promised Land for a while. Since they had all these problems with Canaan the phrase, “inherit the land” became a future thing for them. They would “inherit the land” when the Messiah came and drove everyone else out of their land. Little did they know that the Messiah was going to turn everything on its head! They still could “inherit the land”, but now there was a whole new set of commands to follow to do so. In the New Testament “inherit” is used exclusively to talk about Heaven or eternal life (Mark 10.17, I Cor. 15.50). Jesus is saying that the people who hold their power in check by God’s control will go to Heaven! It is interesting that Jesus uses the word “inherit”. We didn’t earn this right, this is something He gives to us because we were born into the right Family…God’s Family!