Summary: This is what Biblical meekness is all about: "Strength under control," "being unoccupied with self and genuinely concerned for God and others." It is the exact opposite of "self-assertiveness" and "self-interest."
THE MANGO OF MEEKNESS
Intro: A mango is a tropical fruit which hasn’t really "caught on" like the orange, the pineapple or the banana. For those who have acquired a taste for it, it’s sweet and delicious. But for those who haven’t, it’s "different" enough to taste "funny." Like the spiritual fruit of meekness, the mango is often misunderstood and under-appreciated!
Today we come to the eighth fruit of the Spirit - "the often misunderstood fruit" of MEEKNESS. Many people have the mistaken idea that meek equals weak, that the meek person is one who always keeps to himself, never takes a stand for anything and lets people walk all over him. Was Moses that kind of person? Well, Numbers 12:3 says, "Now Moses was very meek above all that were upon the face of the earth." Moses was one of the strongest leaders who ever lived - he was, even by nature a very hot-tempered individual. However, on most occasions, Moses was able to control his passion because of his compassion and concern for the people of God. Moses was humble toward God and mild-mannered before the people. He was not so concerned for himself or his own position - but for the glory of God and the good of God’s people.
This is what Biblical meekness is all about: "Strength under control," "being unoccupied with self and genuinely concerned for God and others." It is the exact opposite of "self-assertiveness" and "self-interest."
I. WHAT IS MEEKNESS?
A. Heb. - anvah = "humility"
This word basically refers to our humility before God - "our total dependence on Him, our submission to His will and our hope in Him alone for salvation."
-Ps. 25:9 "The meek will God guide in judgment, and the meek will He teach His ways."
-Ps. 147:6 "The Lord lifts up the meek, but casts the wicked to the ground."
-Isa. 29:19 "The meek shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor in heart shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel."
-Zeph. 2:3 "Seek the Lord, all the meek of the earth-seek righteousness, seek meekness - that you may be hid in the day of the Lord’s wrath."
There are also several proverbs which speak about acting humbly toward others - not proud or boastful:
-Prov. 15:33 "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom: and before honor is humility."
-Prov. 18:12 "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before victory is humility."
-Prov. 22:4 "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life."
B. Greek - praotes = "mildness" (a gentle, soothing disposition").
Illus: The same word is used of a "domesticated animal" - again, not weak, but strength under control."
So, in the NT, meekness refers primarily to the mild, gentle manner in which we are to treat others- not in pride and arrogance, but in humility and deference. Of course, the supreme example of a "meek man" was Jesus Christ.
Mt. 11:29 He said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls."
i.e. "I don’t put ’unbearable burdens’ on you, as the Pharisees do - My yoke is easy because I have borne the burden for you - I don’t make unreasonable demands, I will treat you with gentleness and kindness."
Mt. 21:5 "Behold your King comes to you, meek and sitting on a donkey."
Again, Jesus didn’t come riding into Jerusalem on a white horse declaring Himself to be King. He humbly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey -to show that He first came, as the servant of the Lord, to suffer for the sins of His people.
1 Cor. 10:1 "I beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent I am bold toward you."
i.e. Paul is admonishing them to listen to his teaching based on the meek and gentle spirit of Christ, which also ought to characterize the life of every believer.
Definition: "Meekness is humility toward God and mildness toward people."
F.B. Meyer said, "I used to think, that God’s gifts were on shelves - one above another, and the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God’s gifts are on shelves - one beneath another, and the lower we stoop, the more we get!"
II. HOW IS MEEKNESS EXPRESSED?
There are only eleven places in the NT where the word, meekness is used…each one of them gives us an area of life in which we should "yield our rights for the benefit of others."
1. Meekness in discipline
1 Cor.4:21 "What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?"