Summary: A continued look at the Fruit of the Spirit, examining the defintion of meekness, it’s demonstration in the life of Christ and the blessings that await those who manifest it’s virtue in their lives
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (KJV)
As we draw to near to the close of our study of the Fruit of the Spirit we encounter today a word that is not often used in our society and culture. That word is “Meekness!”
In fact “Late twentieth-century Western culture does not hold meekness to be a virtue.”1 It is seen today in our society as a weakness to be avoided and shunned.
Yet as we will discover in the Word of God today, God places a high value on this virtue.
John Maxwell speaking on gentleness notes that the last three in the list of the Fruit of the Spirit are faithfulness, gentleness and temperance. He says, “I think these three are listed last because they really show maturity when we’re able to conquer the flesh and be filled with the Spirit of God within our lives.” I think he may be on to something for I believe these three require the greatest amount of surrender/submission on our part to work and person of the Holy Spirit within us.
If I were to ask you to define meekness how would you describe it to someone.
I) Meekness Defined
a) humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
b) overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.
c) gentle; kind
a) the feeling of patient, submissive humbleness
b) a disposition to be patient and long suffering
3) Bible Defines Meekness
a) James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (kjv)
(i) (niv) Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom
(ii) This means as the Easton Bible Dictionary points out that to be meek is to have a “Calm temper of mind – not easily provoked
4) So we can see that meekness is linked to humility
a) The bible speaks of Moses as being meek
b) Numbers 12:3 says, " Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.” The Revised Standard Version says he was “very meek.”
c) “It was John Riskin who said, “I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a ... feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them.”
Andrew Murray said, “The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised while he is forgotten because ... he has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and who sought not His own honor. Therefore, in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ he has put on the heart of compassion, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, and humility.”
M. R. De Haan used to say, “Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have.” Quotes from The Test of a Truly Great Man (Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.)
d) On Meekness = humility – Dr. Samuel Brengle (Salvation Army) said “The axe cannot boast of the trees it has cut down. IT could do nothing but for the woodsman. He made it, he sharpened it, he used it. The moment he throws it aside, it becomes only old iron. O that I may never lose sight of this.”
5) Perhaps this is why meekness is one of the virtues that demonstrates true maturity in Christ, because it requires of us to go against our human pride.
a) We must realize that only the work of God’s grace through his Holy Spirit in us can bring this about. It is not something you or I manufacture in or of ourselves.
b) John Maxwell says, “…It is not human for us to be meek or gentle. The evil, sinful nature that dwells within man in the beginning is a grabbing, greedy, climb the ladder and knock the-other-person-off-the-rung-if-you-can kind of a mindset. So only the grace of God can help you and me to have this wonderful aspect of the fruit of the spirit in our life.” FRUIT THAT IS NEVER OUT OF SEASON –GENTLENESS John Maxwell www.sermoncentral.com
6) The word that is translated Meekness is also at times translated Gentleness
a) So I remind you that the greek definition of that word “literally means “strength under control.” Meekness describes a wild stallion who was tamed and taught to be ridden. That stallion still has all the strength it had when it was wild but now it is strength under control. It is strength bottled up for the master’s use.