Summary: Jesus said the happy people in this world are the meek. There have been many debates as to exactly what meekness consists of.
The Preaching of the King – Part 3
Jesus said the happy people in this world are the meek. There have been many debates as to exactly what meekness consists of. Some defined meekness as humility. This definition does not fully reveal all that is included in meekness. Its usage in Scripture reveals a link between meekness and lowliness that cannot be separated (Matthew 11:29; Ephesians 4:1-2) It is associated with and cannot be separated from gentleness (2 Corinthians 10:1; Titus 3:2). The psalmist tells us God “leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way (Psalm 25:9). In the Beatitudes Jesus is describing the orderly development of God’s work of grace in the soul.
Meekness is a by-product of self-emptying and self-humiliation; or, in other words, a broken will and a receptive heart before God. It is not only the opposite of pride, but of stubbornness, fierceness, and vengefulness. It is the taming of the lion, the making of the wolf to lie down as a lamb. In the ungodly and religionist the meekness that is found in the love of ease, absence of sensibility, stability, and other passions, is susceptible to change in form or nature, must be separated from biblical meekness. It is susceptible of being modified in form or nature, from good, and persuaded to evil. It is often found in ungodly men and in the character of the religious.
Biblical meekness to which the blessing of gracious is added enables men of the most intense, passionate, impetuous, and merciless character, by looking to Jesus through the grace of God, learn to curb their tempers, cease from resentment, avoid offending by injurious words and actions, and forgive injuries. It is the opposite of self-well toward God, and ill-will toward men. The meek Jesus refers to are those who quietly submit themselves to the will of God, His Word, His rod, and follow His directions and comply with His plan for their lives and are gentle toward their fellowman.
The fruits of meekness are first God ward. Where this fruit is dominant the enmity of the carnal mind is subdued, and its possessor bears God’s chastening with quietness and patience. Second it is man ward, inasmuch as meekness is that spirit which has been schooled to mildness by discipline and suffering, and brought into obedience to the will of God. It causes the believer to bear patiently the insults and injuries which he receives at the hands of his fellowman and makes him ready to accept instruction or admonishment and moves him to think more highly of others than of himself. Meekness enables the Christian to endure provocations without being provoked to anger or vengeance. Paul told the Galatians, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness” (Galatians 6:1). This means, not with a lordly and a domineering attitude, a harsh and censorious temper, with a love of finding fault and desire for inflicting discipline but with gentleness, humility and patience.
Contrary to what is believed in this world meekness is not a sign of weakness. It is manifested in an individual by the yielding to God’s will and will not yield to or compromise with evil. God-given meekness enables His people to stand up for God-given rights. When God’s glory is profaned we must denounce the profanity and those who profane God’s glory. We need to follow Moses’ example. He was "very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (Num. 12:3), yet when he saw the Israelites dancing before the golden calf he broke the two tables of stone, and put to the sword those who had dishonored Jehovah. The apostles firmly and boldly stood their ground when they were beaten for preaching the gospel message (Acts 16:35-37). Jesus in concern for His Father’s glory made a whip of cords and drove the desecrators out of the temple. Jude tells us we are to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (v 3). Biblical meekness is never in conflict with the requirements of faithfulness to God, His cause, and His people.
The spirit of meekness is what enables us to get enjoyment out of what God has given us. It delivers us from a greedy and grasping disposition, what “a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked" (Ps. 37:16). The proud and covetous do not "inherit the earth," though they may own many acres of it. The humble Christian is far happier in a cottage than the wicked in a palace. The author of Proverbs wrote, "Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble with it. (Proverbs 15:16).