Meditations on Meekness - Part 1
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5)
Over the next month we will meditate upon meekness…in bite size pieces. “Blessed are the meek” is the third Beatitude and it’s important to remember that the Beatitudes describe the Christian. Displaying the Beatitudes is not how you get saved. Being saved is a prerequisite for displaying the Beatitudes. In other words, they describe the character and attitude of Christ: all Christians are new creations in Christ and therefore have all the Beatitudes, not just one or two.
Now you might look and think that you don’t see much evidence of them in your life. Of course, the truth is that we are and yet we are becoming these things as we increase in the fruit of Christlikeness. And to be like Christ and inherit all the blessings of Christ is what it means to be truly blessed.
So what is meekness? Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones sums it up well: “Meekness is essentially a true view of oneself, expressing itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others. The man who is truly meek is the one who is truly amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do.”
Meek (praus - Gk), means gentle; the moral quality that deals with people in a humble, kind, forgiving, considerate manner for their good. This is not the attitude of the world, which thinks that power, assertiveness, ability and giftedness are the ways to get success. The Jews were expecting the Messiah to be a military leader who would lead them to victory and a material kingdom through conquest and fighting. And then Jesus comes along and says, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”. They alone will inherit the earth: not those with a worldly mindset about success.
Finally remember that you can’t be meek before you are poor in spirit and mourn sin. The first two Beatitudes link together as a basis for the third. To be poor in spirit means to recognize your own spiritual bankruptcy before the Lord (Matt. 5:3). It is to realize your weakness and sin and need for God’s mercy. However, it is one thing to confess spiritual poverty but it is another to grieve because of it (Matt. 5:4). Jesus never had any of his own sin to grieve over but he did grieve over ours. The poor in spirit mourn over their sin and the devastating effects of sin around them. As John Stott put it: “There is not enough sorrow for sin among us”. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and faith in the Lord for salvation.
So the beginning of true meekness is that we trust in the Lord not ourselves. That’s the only way meekness can be produced. Apart from faith it is impossible. That’s one of the reasons God presents us with difficult circumstances – to make us meeker as we trust him more. Remember Gideon? Gideon was faced with a difficult and frightening prospect. He was stretched beyond his own strength and power. And the Lord didn’t increase his army he reduced it. Gideon trusted God and got meeker, and God got glory.
What difficult circumstances will you face this week? Are they to do with relationships, finances, vocation or health? Have you considered how the Lord is making you meeker through these situations as he exposes unbelief and increases repentance and faith, so that you become what you are in Christ? Meekness is not angry or anxious, loud or self assertive in difficulties. It is not high and proud and vengeful, it is lowly and humble and trusts the Lord. Meekness has a true view of oneself as a forgiven sinner who deserves hell and got heaven, and expresses this in attitude and conduct towards others. It is amazing that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do.
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