September 29, 2011 by Chris French
Moses was called the meekest man in all the earth (Num. 12.3). That’s quite a claim despite the fact that today we don’t really know what it means to be meek! Jesus calls Himself “meek” (Matt. 11.28), but what exactly does this word mean? He tells us that the meek will inherit the earth (Matt. 5.5) meaning that they will go to Heaven. Meekness is even one of the Fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5.22). Being meek is one of the ways the people around us can tell the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, so it becomes vitally important to understand what this word means!
Most of your translations will probably say “gentleness” instead of “meekness” when you are reading about the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5. Gentleness isn’t a very good translation for meekness though because gentleness implies action. I can be gentle in my actions and my words. In fact a person’s actions are how you might know they are gentle. You can’t look at a person and just know they are gentle, they have to show you. Meekness is the mindset that makes one perform the gentle actions. It literally means, “power under control”.
Think of a lion in a circus. Does that lion have any less power than a wild lion would? Of course not! He’s simply been trained to only do the things his master wishes. That’s what Paul is talking about in the Fruits of the Spirit. The Spirit lives in Christians who have turned their power over to God. They still have the power to hurt others with their actions and their words, but choose not to because they’ve turned that power over to God. We’re being trained to have the heart of God, we’re putting His desires above our own. Slowly we are putting our power under His control.