In our pursuit of applying the Beatitudes to our daily lives we need to continually remind ourselves that we are not meant to fit in! Great! Just what I want to hear. It is difficult to maintain, embrace and accept that the teachings of Jesus infer that His followers (Christians) are to be altogether different from the world around them. We are supposed to ‘salt’ and ‘light’. We are not supposed to blend in. Down through the centuries we have often struggled to get this right, and have often got it wrong. I am not calling for anyone to join up with some Monks and become part of some Monastic movement, nor am I endorsing a legalistic worldview that established a list of things not to do and places not to go. Not at all. Growing up in church I often heard the phrase ‘don’t drink, smoke or chew, or go with girls who do’. Somehow, that logic did not yield positive results.
The difference that Christ calls for is not rooted in outward appearances or form. It is an inward difference in essentials. As a ‘new’ person (born again) and ‘new’ creation we now belong to an entirely different ‘new’ Kingdom (2 Cor. 5:17). Therefore, our very nature (essence, quality, character) is to be very different from the culture around us. In this week’s blog we will see how true this is when it comes to meekness.
“Blessed are the meek, because they will inherit the earth”.
Our current culture celebrates bold expressive individualism, aggressiveness, strength, power and ability. There is a ‘drive to succeed’ that is inherent within our civilization. Pushing to the top of the corporate ladder seems to be the name of the game, and those who do are viewed to ‘have it all’. In the face of this common cultural norm comes the words “Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth”, and they alone. How so?
Meekness is difficult to maintain as we interact with people around us. To help us understand what this looks like consider the following OT examples. Moses was said to be the ‘meekest man on the face of the earth’. Not a bad self-description. In the face of steady criticism, complaints and crankiness (from God’s people) Moses never once pined for the palaces or privileges he once had in Egypt. Moses relied on God. Likewise, Abraham allowed the younger Lot to take first dibs on the best land; David did not strike back at Saul when provoked, chased and hunted; Jeremiah the prophet continued while being stabbed in the back by the people of God and his own family. All these people demonstrated the character of meekness.
In the NT we see Stephen standing in front of those who were about to kill him, and the Apostle Paul writing to help a church (Corinth) even though they spoke negatively about him. Meekness.
The best example is Jesus who did not use His Divinity for His own purposes, but lived in obedience to the Father. Meekness. What is it?
I can tell you that meekness is not being easy going, nice, laid back, smooth it over, or peace at all costs. That is not meekness. Neither is it being joyful or happy all the time. Not so.
First, meekness is great strength. Biblically it is compatible with great authority and power. The ability to stand and die for what you believe is not weak. In fact, to do so without being tied up with thoughts of personal defence or protection is great strength. A meek person has their utmost confidence, trust and dependency in something other than themselves. Furthermore, a meek person never pities themselves, feels sorry for themselves, or says that they are misunderstood and complains about the treatment they are receiving because of it. Putting it very plain, to be meek means that you have finished with yourself altogether and you have come to see you have no rights at all. See how this flies in the face of our modern culture. Like Christ, we are to be humble, lowly of heart, gentle, long suffering with the absence of retaliation (1 Peter 2:21-23).
Second, meekness is great teachability. Meekness always implies a teachable spirit. A meek person is always ready to listen and learn because they have such a ‘poor’ (in spirit) idea of themselves and their own capabilities that they are ready to be taught, or filled at any given moment. Remember that in order to be filled, you must first be emptied. The Eternal Logos became a man (Jesus), who was led by Spirit in obedience to the Father. A meek person is hungry to learn, grow, and be filled all the time.
Third, meekness is great abandonment. The meek person leaves everything (themselves, their cause, their future) in the hands of God, especially if they are suffering unjustly. Vengeance is not theirs, it’s The Lord’s. A meek person has a quietness in their spirit, mind and heart because of whose Hand’s they are in. This is why meek people inherit the earth.
The meek person is truly satisfied and contented because they have nothing and everything all at the same time. The meek person truly understands the greatness of God and the strength found in His Son. Strength to endure, and overcome comes to the meek person who truly knows the truth of God’s eternal Kingdom and their place with Him in it (joint-heirs with Jesus, Romans 8). We can be meek, because we know that we will reign eternally!
My prayer for us this week is this: Luke 14:11 “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted”
Meekness can only be achieved by the Holy Spirit . Monks tried to make themselves meek, but failed. It can’t be naturally done. God’s Holy Spirit is the only source who can make us poor in spirit, mourn our sin, and produce in us what is true. Holy Spirit is the One who show us the right view of our selves and then gives us the mind of Christ.
For us who have received God’s Spirit at conversion, we have no excuse for not being meek (you can say ouch or yikes). It is impossible for the unbeliever, but is to be a character of Christ’s followers produced by God’s Spirit. With His help we can have it. The earth is yours to inherit. Blessed are the meek.