Meekness: The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD. Isaiah 29:19
July 10, 2014
Christ-likeness. Is this not our goal as Christians - to be like Christ? In spite of our failures, when we can say with Paul, "the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do" (Romans 7:19), is not our heartfelt desire to be like our Lord Jesus Christ? But just what exactly is Christ like? If our goal is to be like Him, then how would we describe Him?
I'm sure none of us would have a problem creating a list of His qualities - loving, merciful, forgiving, wise, gracious... the list may very well be endless. But do you know that Jesus Himself described His own character? He told us exactly what He is like in Matthew 11:28-29...
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Did you catch His description of Himself? Not strong and mighty, or loving and merciful, but instead 2 little words:meek and lowly. Very simply, using the words of Jesus Christ Himself, if our genuine longing is to be like Christ, then we are to be meek.
Well, if that's the case, just what does it mean to be meek?
Perhaps you think that meekness is an undesirable, demeaning characteristic: a meekness = weakness idea. Our modern day dictionaries describe the word in such terms as: without courage, spineless, spiritless. With that description, it's no wonder we have little regard for meekness. However, such a definition is incorrect as our Lord Jesus Christ is not weak and there is nothing undesirable or demeaning about Him. We must understand that the meaning of this word has changed over time from a good quality to a lesser, rather undesirable quality.
However, maybe you've heard the definition I was always taught: meekness = power under control. Although this definition sounds great, I've always had a problem with it. I mean, just how is "power under control" lived out in my day-to-day life? When, where and how do I display this "power under control" business? I've also heard thatmeekness is a synonym to gentleness. Although this may be close, Scripture mentions gentleness and meekness together in the same passages (for example, "the fruit of the Spirit is... gentleness, meekness...") so there must be a difference between the two words or why are they both used?
Well, let's check out Webster's 1828 Dictionary for a definition of meek...
Meek: mild of temper, soft, gentle, not easily provoked or irritated.
How's that for clarification? Does it sound a little more practical than "power under control"? It sure does for me. But now that we know clearly what meekness is ... would you describe yourself as meek? Would your family and friends use this word if asked to describe you?
Before we start to make excuses for ourselves by saying, "I'm just not like that", "That's just not the way God made me", or "You don't understand my circumstances" ... let's take a closer look at what the Bible says about meekness.
Titus 3:2 ...speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God ... follow after ...meekness.
Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved,bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind,meekness, longsuffering;
Ephesians 4:1-2 I therefore...beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
1 Peter 3:3,4 Whose adorning let it not be that outward one... But let it be the hidden man of the heart ...even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Hmmm... I think we'd have to agree that Scripture has quite a bit to say about meekness. Does it not also put an end to our so-called "reasons" for our "unmeekness". Did you catch what God said?
Show meekness. Follow after meekness. Put on meekness. Walk with meekness. Adorn yourself with meekness.
A serious consideration of these verses leaves us without a doubt about one thing - not only is our Lord Jesus Christ meek but God desires us to be meek as well.
Studying this definition of meekness and the above passages promotes some serious thinking about ourselves...
Am I mild of temper? Are my words soft-spoken? Do I show meekness to all men? (and all women and children?!) Am I calm, not easily provoked or irritated? Is meekness something I am striving to follow after? Have I "put on" and "adorned" myself with meekness?
These soul-searching questions leave me convicted of how "unmeek" I really am! Maybe I'd rather stick to that "power under control" definition that I didn't really understand!! At least it's less convicting!
But according to the Bible...
Meekness is a character trait God desires each of us to have. Is it one of yours? Meekness is a goal He urges us to strive for and to pursue. Is it one of your goals?
Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
When things happen, we can do one of 2 things: react or respond. Consider what our life and the lives of those around us would be like if instead of reacting in an "unmeek", fleshly way, we responded with meekness having "crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts". If we lived and walked displaying meekness, would we see any changes happen around us?
With Christ-likeness as our goal, may we respond to the call of our Lord Jesus Christ as, with open arms, He bids us to come and "... learn of Me for I am meek and lowly." May meekness become the cry of our heart and our lifelong goal. As we strive for meekness Isaiah assures us... "The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD." Isaiah 29:19