Meekness is a rare concept in our culture – even among Christians. We can’t define it, we don’t know where to get it, and aren’t sure we’d really even want to keep it if we had it! It’s a word being used far more to describe our economy than our spirits. Tragically, meekness is becoming synonymous with weakness; when in actuality, meekness is odds with our weakness. Meekness will overturn your weakness if you will allow it!
The Object of Meekness
Meekness is the toughest of these nine virtues to define, yet it is very essential. Its ambiguity in meaning does not mean that it is less important. The best definition I’ve discovered: “strength under control… the ability to govern our passions and resentments, so as not to be easily provoked.” It is being unoccupied with self and genuinely concerned with others. This happens in the innermost part of a person: the spirit. This is where the battle rages so hot between selfishness and surrender. ‘Will I be humble? Why should I give up what is rightfully mine? How can I forgive? What does God expect of me?’ These are spiritual questions with spiritual answers – answers that come with meekness.
Two wives were doing their washing in a laundry mat. They were both sitting mend their husband’s pants. As they were sowing, the one lady said, “My husband is so discouraged, he is so cold. We can’t find anything good on TV. Nothing seems to go right for him. Every one at work picks on him and we are not appreciated by anyone. We cry a lot. Our home is so sad and we live in despair. Our kids are brats. When we go to church the song service is dead. The pastor is an idiot.” The other lady said, “My husband is so excited. He can’t wait to go to church. He loves the sermons. We go visit people all the time. He is so enthused. We laugh all the time. We can’t wait to see what God is going to do for us.” It got very quiet in the laundry mat as the two women continued sewing on their husbands pants. Seems one was patching the seat of the pants, the other was mending the knees.
The Origin of Meekness
Meekness is a spiritual fruit. It’s not something we attain to or grow with much effort. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 Just because Christians have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, they should not expect to see this amazing spiritual strength called meekness growing automatically. The only way to see meekness overcome your weakness is by letting the Holy Spirit bring it to pass: as Paul says: “Walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16).
As the Holy Spirit gains control, we begin to lose our self-absorption and self-assertion – we don’t find as much use for it as we used to. We begin to see what David meant when he said the meek are easily satisfied, they delight in the abundance of peace, lifted up by God, and beautified with salvation (Psalms 22:26; 37:11; 147:6; 149:4). Jesus promised that the meek would inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5), but perhaps Isaiah said it best: The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD… (29:19). Meekness comes from God – and it really changes things!
The Outflow of Meekness
All of the Spirit’s fruit have both inward & outward effects; He makes me better (in relationship with God) and makes me a better father, parent, pastor, friend and citizen. Here are five ways which meekness helps me and works through me:
1. Meekness overcomes the weakness of contention. [James 3:14 – “shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom”] Wisdom in action: knowing how to appropriate knowledge without even the hint of pride. Meekness diffuses strife, conflict, discord and disagreements.
2. Meekness overcomes the weakness of self-righteousness. [Galatians 6:1 – “ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness…”] Humility considers that it is only God’s grace that keeps anyone from diving face-first into their temptations. It helps me keep my belittling tongue quiet and points me to pray more for my own continued purity.
3. Meekness overcomes the weaknesses in church. [2 Timothy 2:24 – “the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle…in meekness instructing those…”] Gentleness keeps me in the game, serving the Lord by serving others. I must never be too big to learn, never too busy to teach, never too proud to serve.
4. Meekness overcomes the weaknesses in marriage. [1 Peter 3:4 – “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”] Submission is the only route to peace in any relationship, but especially in one so close as marriage. If mutual submission is not consistent, neither will be the marriage (Eph. 5:21).
5. Meekness overcomes the weakness of fear. [1 Peter 3:15 – “be ready always to give an answer…with meekness and fear”] Deferring my fear from man to God, enables me to be bold in my witness for Christ. Why should I fear man (who could destroy my body) when I should fear God (who has power to destroy both body & soul)?