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The Fruit of the Spirit: Meekness

The Meek Person Will Be Blessed

Galatians 5:22, 23

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

One of the things that has been happening in my life, as I have been studying the Fruit of the Spirit, is that I have been realizing again how high the standard is and how far short my own life falls from meeting that standard.  When the Lord gave to us the characteristics that we have been studying in the Book of Galatians and He said, “This is the fruit of the Spirit” and this is what spirit-filled Christians will be like: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faithfulness, meekness and temperance. I paused to pray.

Each description of the “fruit of the Spirit” seems to put the rung on the ladder just a little bit more beyond my reach until I remembered that these are not listed to us as characteristics that we are to produce by our own efforts.  I challenge you to take this one description of the fruit of the Spirit and make a project out of it for your own life and to that I am going to work on each of these qualities, until I have mastered them.  The Word of God, however, tells us that we can’t do it that way in and of ourselves, without God.

There is absolutely no way we become the kind of person that is painted in the portrait of the Fruit of the Spirit by our own efforts.  It is only as we come to the Word of God in obedience to do what God says, depending on the Holy Spirit to empower us, to be that kind of person, that those characteristics can be reproduced in and through us.

The fruit of meekness seems to be even more beyond the reach of the human potential and we know it is a quality that can only be achieved by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.  Meekness, the kind that God is talking about, is not spineless, not spiritless or lacking in strength.  God tells us in His Word that the meek person will be blessed: “Blessed are the meek,” and additionally He tells us that individual is going to inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:5 (Jesus speaking)

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

If we are to understand the word meekness, in the spirit that the Word of God presents to us as a characteristic of our lives, we will have to learn something more than what we know by way of its common meaning.  Meekness is not weakness.  It is not laziness.  It is not some defect in one’s personality if he happened not to be an outgoing person.  Meekness is not compromise.

A good definition of meekness is power under control, a man or woman who has great power at his disposal but always uses it in the right way.  It is always under the control of the Holy Spirit’s power.  Meekness, as it relates to human character, is the grace that brings power and gentleness together.

Meekness is tough and yet it is tender.  If you’re going to be a conqueror you have to be meek.  As you read through the pages of God’s Word you see meekness displayed in the characteristics of men like Abraham, for instance.  He had it in his power to take all the good land but in his meekness he gave the option to his nephew, Lot.

I think it was meekness that caused Moses to look at all the possibilities and probabilities of Pharoah’s court, and having looked at all of them, he decided that he had rather serve the Lord.

Hebrews 11:24, 25

24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

It was meekness that caused David to refuse to assert himself and become king, even though God had told him already that he was to be the King of Israel and Saul was still on the throne and David was in the Kingdom, but he never asserted himself, not one time, during all those encounters with angry and jealous King Saul.  Even though power was in David’s hands to do so, he never exercised that power.  In fact, even when the King abused him, David did not retaliate.

Meekness is what caused Stephen to accept martyrdom and give the glory to God.  Meekness is what caused Paul to accept injuries from many people he met throughout life and never complain.  Meekness also was seen in the life of two of God’s servants, Paul in the New Testament and Moses in the Old Testament, more seen in them than in others.

Numbers 12:3

Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.

The Word of God says that the meekest man who ever lived was Moses.  Moses is a perfect illustration of the fact that meekness is not weakness.  He was a man who on one occasion, could be openly and glaringly angry and then on other occasions, he could be compassionate.

You remember Moses coming down from the mountain after God had given him the Ten Commandments while he was up on Mt. Sinai, God having written the Ten Commandments with His finger on the tablets of stone.  The people had pooled all their jewelry together and they had made a golden calf to worship during Moses’ forty days and nights’ absence on the mountain with God. Moses, seeing all of this, caused by his righteous zeal and his meekness, Moses rose up in anger and he threw the Ten Commandments, two tablets of stone, breaking them in pieces at the foot of the mountain, the stone shattering into pieces. Moses ordered the Levites to slaughter those who worshipped the golden calf by killing his brother and friend and neighbor. The Levites slew about three thousand people.

That same man, in the Book of Exodus 32:32 when Moses was faced with the anger of the Lord, when he found out that God was going to destroy His people, Moses interceded for the people.

Exodus 32:32-35

32Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.  33And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. 34Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. 35And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Here’s a man who can rise to hot anger against unrighteousness and in the next moment he can be a man of compassion, a caring individual willing to put his own life on the line for his love of his people.  Strength and compassion, fused together in a beautifully balanced personality:  that’s meekness.   That was Moses!

It is not spineless; it is not spiritless.  It is not a negative quality.  When you study the life of Moses you see that his life illustrates the truth that meekness is a word that describes the tension between the two qualities.  I don’t think meekness can be understood until you see that meekness is not an absolute that you see by itself.  It cannot be understood in isolation.  You have to see meekness as a middle place between two virtues that are in tension with one another.

Meekness and anger both belong to the passionate part of man’s nature.  To meekness belongs the ability to bear reproaches and slights with moderation and not to embark on revenges quickly, not to be easily provoked to anger but to be free from bitterness and contentiousness. To be passionately angry is wrong but to be slavishly submissive is also wrong. Since both of these states or characteristics are wrong, it is clear that midway between the two of them is the state that is right for it is the two of them that bring that quality into focus.  A meek person is neither too hasty tempered nor too slow tempered.  Meekness does not get angry with, nor does it fail to get angry with the people with whom it ought to get angry.

The man who is meek is the man who feels anger on the right grounds and against the right persons and in the right manner and at the right moment and for the right length of time and forgives. You see, meekness is not the absence of anger. Meekness is the presence of anger in its proper setting.  Meekness is strength and we will not understand it until we look at the New Testament person who illustrated meekness and that is none other than our Lord Himself, Jesus Christ.

We have already read one of the Scriptures that describes Jesus as meek.  One of the great invitations of our Lord is recorded in

Matthew 11:29 (Jesus speaking)

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 21:5

Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

If ever there were a perfect example of meekness, here it is:  the King of Glory and power riding on a donkey, under control!  Someone has said that meekness is the human spirit with a governor on it.  It is the ability to never go beyond the boundary.  It is always in the right perspective.  Jesus was that kind of person.

There was a third time Jesus was referred to as meek.  It was by the apostle Paul who spoke these words in

2 Corinthians 10:1

Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:

Once again, Jesus is the example of the balance that you find between anger and compassion.  Jesus was the perfect example for His power was always under control.

The compassion of Jesus is everywhere, but let’s look at the anger of Jesus.  The Bible says that it’s possible to be angry, but sin not.  Anger is not sin.  It is sin only when it is done for the wrong reason and in the wrong way.  Three times in our Lord’s life we are told He got angry.

Mark 3:1-6 (Jesus speaking, verses 3, 4, 5)

1And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.  2And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.  3And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.  4And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.  5And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.  6And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

The first thing that made Jesus angry was the indifference of religion.  Here was Jesus in the presence of one who desperately needed to be healed and as He reaches out to heal that one, rather than seeing the need in that individual’s life, the Pharisees decided that it was time to debate the Lord on the Sabbath’s “use” of the Sabbath.  They focused their attention on the external things and they missed the real purpose of what was happening in the Divine miracle that Jesus was working in their midst.

They were indifferent to the very privileges that they had, to observe the Lord of glory at work, and rather, they chose to debate His ministry.  When Jesus saw that happening in front of Him, He was angry.

Matthew 21:12-14 (Jesus speaking, verse 13)

1And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.  14And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

Both Jesus and Moses demonstrate that meekness is a quality of power under control.  We need to demonstrate that kind of meekness as is present in God’s Word.

James 1:21

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

It means, though I have all the faculties which were granted to me by my Creator, I am not capable of knowing what to do spiritually apart from this Book, the Bible, God’s Holy Word.  With meekness we should choose to receive the engrafted Word, coming to it with a sweet open spirit. It is able to save our soul!  If we understand and apply meekness,  it can change our lifestyle or at least improve it. Oh, God, just to know what You provide for us is amazing!  Meekness, may we apply that virtue in our lives as that which honors You and Your Word.

Galatians 6:1

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Psalm 25:9

The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

Jesus is saying to us that if we serve Him and adhere to His Word, He will guide us and lead us in whatever situation or circumstances we find ourselves or the crisis that we may face.

I Peter 3:3, 4

3Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

God looks on the heart.  Man looks on the outward appearance.

I Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Meekness is needed, not only when we’re considering God’s Word but when we’re encountering opposition.  Paul wrote to Timothy in

2 Timothy 2:24, 25

24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.

Author: Nannie Mae Jordan
(Transcribed by Joyce Carter   Transcribed and Formatted by Jerry Knight)


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