18 May Meekness: Living in God’s Strength
The shark. The closer. The alpha male. The mama bear. What comes to mind when you hear these phrases? The business woman in a suit. The guy with the biggest muscles at the gym. The mom who works hard so her children can get ahead.
Since we were young we’ve been ingrained with the “Darwinist” approach that only the formidable and assertive will prosper. So when Jesus drops the line, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” in Matthew 5, it’s no surprise that the foundation of our worldview starts to crumble.
What does ‘meek’ even mean?
While many people associate the word meek with the word weak, it comes from the greek adjective praüs, meaning gentle, considerate, and courteous. Considering the context of this passage (Matthew 5), biblical scholar D. Martin Lloyd-Jones define meekness as “a true view of oneself, expressing itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others.”
As Pastor John mentioned in his Blessed are the Meek, Humanity values strength, power, accomplishment, and advancement. So we naturally want everyone to know the best of what we do, even when it comes to our faith. However, the one in whom we place our faith values our humble view of ourself in relation to God and neighbors.
No doubt the best example of meekness would, in fact, be Jesus…the man who Paul described as “gentle and lowly in spirit.” But remember, this is the same man who stepped up to defend his turf when he flipped over the cashier boxes that polluted the church with corrupt businesses deals.
So where does that leave us to walk the line between asserting our own strength and becoming a “doormat” that everyone walks over?
We already have the world
I believe we can look to Psalm 37:11 (which Jesus was likely quoting) for clarity regarding meekness and the outstanding promise of inheritance.
“Fret not yourself because of the wicked … The meek shall possess the land … Those blessed by the Lord shall possess the land … Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way, and he will exalt you to possess the land; you will look on the destruction of the wicked.”
Just as Jesus was surrounded by doubters, hypocrites, and conspirators who wanted his head, we have evildoers all around us, and they have bad intentions.
But because we understand the promise of inheritance and can actively enjoy and “possess” the earth, we don’t have to respond or show up to every battle that we are invited to. Meekness means exercising strength under God’s control. We let go of our own rights to prove who we are, because we have confidence in our Father – that his agenda will win.
The meek woman does not run in panic when her friends turn their back. The meek man does not get anxious because of the political situation or the conspiracies that darken the day. The meek have a strong confidence in their God. That doesn’t mean they’re oblivious to what is going on around them, but because they know God, they understand these problems don’t measure up to the one who’s fighting in their corner.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is strikingly applicable when summing up what it means to be meek. It explains that our promise of inheritance is not only true, but has already been won. Jesus says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”