“Weak or Meek?”
The first Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3), requires us to empty ourselves of all self-worth before God and recognize the only thing we bring to God is our need. This poverty of spirit gives us an acute awareness of our inability to pay for, earn or deserve salvation. We realize the only thing we deserve from God is judgement and everything we receive from God is a gift born out of His goodness, grace and mercy in spite of what we deserve. In our need, we recognize our need for salvation and receive this gift by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. (Read here).
The second Beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” is the SUPERnatural outflow of being “poor in spirit.” When we recognize who we are before a Holy God, we begin to see our sin and the sinfulness of mankind in a new Light and we mourn. Spiritual mourning is a condition, characteristic and attitude of a follower of Christ and is not something the world can try to do to find happiness. Those who mourn in spirit are the ones who will be happy because they are comforted by God in their grief. (Read here).
The first two Beatitudes involve the character and overall disposition of a follower of Christ both in how we view ourselves before a Holy God and our grief over just how utterly sinful we are. We also mourn over the spiritual condition of the lost around us. But this third Beatitude, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” offers a new set of challenges for the believer because it involves our relationships and interactions with others. Meekness is an internal work of character and attitude, not just an outward action. Our Lord says, “Blessed ARE the meek,” not “act meek” or “respond with gentleness” to others.
Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit, an attribute of Christians and the sanctifying work God is doing to perfect these character traits in those who follow Him. While people apart from Christ can be mild-mannered and gentle in their natural dispositions, biblical meekness is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is not for unbelievers to “be meek” so they inherit a benefit from God.
In this rough-and-tumble world, it’s easy to respond to frustration in a harsh way. As Christians, our Lord says to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45). Love is a fruit of the Spirit and like the Beatitudes, one leads into the next. You can’t have joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control if you don’t first have love. You can’t be meek if you don’t first mourn over sin. And you won’t mourn over sin if you don’t first recognize who you are before a Holy God and come to Him poor in spirit.
The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
When we see ourselves for who we really are (and were before Christ) and realize how much grace God gives us daily, we should respond to others with the grace given to us. To me, this is the essence of being meek. It’s expressing to others the grace that God gives to me – especially to those not showing grace to me.
Being meek certainly doesn’t mean avoiding confrontation. What it means is when confronting (or being confronted), be gentle and filled with love and grace through the power of the Holy Spirit.
But as all things are in the kingdom of God, this is the opposite of what we experience in the natural default setting of humanity. It’s been a real struggle throughout my life to be meek and gentle and it’s a work that God continues to do in me. (This is another way of saying that God gives me plenty of opportunities to see just how lacking I can be in meekness).
I used to think someone who was meek was weak. I resisted God’s sanctifying work of building meekness and gentleness in my life because I couldn’t let my guard down completely. I would “drag my feet” into half-hearted attempts to be obedient in this area because I had a real fear of being meek.
When I was a young teen, I was beat up a lot. Once I got into high school and grew tired of living in fear of the bullies, I turned into a brawler who intimidated people to protect myself. I enjoyed hurting people who would try and bully me. It gave me power and control over them and I became someone you didn’t want to mess with. I brought this into my adult relationships, and even after I became a Christian, people were still intimidated by me. This is certainly not the character trait of a Christian and is the opposite of being meek. While God has certainly done a lot of pruning to these branches already, there is still plenty of work to be done in this area.
“Meek” in the original language was used to describe reining in a stallion. When a headstrong stallion is fighting to go his own way, the bit pulls back on his mouth to bring him under control.
Because I resisted the bit and bridle of meekness, I missed out on many opportunities to handle conflict with meekness and gentleness.
Jesus provides the perfect example of spiritual meekness. When they came to arrest Him, Peter “drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?'” (Matthew 26:51-54).
I love what Paul writes in Philippians 2:3-8, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
The meekness of our Lord was not weakness, it was a strength. The Jews were looking for a warrior to come and establish His kingdom by force. But His kingdom would not be taken. It would be inherited by the meek.
Father, I ask you to search me in this moment and reveal any areas of resistance where I turn away from the bit and bridle of meekness. Lord, this has been a major weakness in me for so long but I know that you’re in the business of making weaknesses strengths in your kingdom. Your Word invites me to come to you, to take your yoke upon me and to learn from you, for you are gentle and lowly in heart. I turn my head towards you Lord, without hesitation. Here I am – ready for your bit and bridle. In the blessed name of my Lord Jesus I pray, Amen.
Thank you for reading my Daily Bible Journal!
Reading, reflecting and writing from the Bible has so radically impacted my life in Christ, it’s as if I’ve been on auto-pilot when reading the Bible in the past. There’s something about “sitting with the text” and through prayerful reflection, sharing what comes to mind. Because I’m posting online for others to read, I consider my words carefully and try to be clear and accurate.
This daily process enhances my understanding of God’s Word and embeds it into my conscience. It literally gets “hidden in my heart!”
I hope this encourages others to be in God’s Word every day.
For God’s Glory,