Lesson 9: The Fruit of the Spirit is Meekness
Meekness. The quality of being meek; described by the Penguin Dictionary as “lacking spirit and courage; timid or submissive.”
The web definitions are not much better:
“humble in spirit or manner; very docile; tame obedience; evidencing little spirit or courage; overly submissive or compliant; compliant and anxious to suit his opinions of those of others”
In our go-get-it, grab-life-by-the-horns, don’t-let-others-walk-over-you culture, meekness as defined above just doesn’t cut it. It is seen as a sign of weakness.
But the lesson gives us a slightly different definition of meekness, calling it instead “an attitude of humility toward God and gentleness toward people – when we recognize that God is in control and we can trust Him even when things don’t go the way we like…” According to this definition, meekness still involves submission and compliance – but not to others – only to God.
That’s all well and good in theory but what does it mean on a day to day level? What does being meek mean for me when the cashier is rude to me in front of a long line of people; or for an employee who gets terminated in a rather unethical manner; or for a church brother who gets criticized for his best efforts? How do you display meekness in those situations?
For answers to these questions, the Bible points us to men like Abraham, who practiced meekness by placing others before himself, particularly his nephew Lot whom he gave the better portion of land. Another model is Joseph, who practiced meekness through forgiveness, and did not hold his brothers’ sin of selling him into slavery against him. Instead of exacting revenge when he had the opportunity, Joseph blessed his brothers from the wealth of his hand. The Bible is filled with examples of people who took humility to a whole new level, such as David, who despite having every right to defend himself from Saul’s attempts on his life, chose instead to not harm Saul though he had multiple opportunities. And most obvious of all, Jesus, who bore the shame and humiliation of the cross to save people who He knew would turn against Him.
Though each situation differed there are common threads through each.
- Meekness is an attitude we must choose. It definitely does not come naturally, but Romans 12:3 counsels us with the words “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” The situations we face in life will call for us to decide if we will live for ourselves or for others.
- Through each situation, the men of God chose to submit themselves to the will of God, and thus were witnesses and gave glory to Him through their lives. In living lives of humility we die to self and God is more clearly seen through us.
Though the world may see such an attitude as weakness, Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” shows us that the Lord will reward us for it. In Psalms 22:26 we are also promised that “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.” As we surrender to God he satisfies all our needs.
Meekness is not about being weak. It is about having confidence, not in ourselves, but in the Lord.