Meekness - strength under control

Meekness - strength under control

Meekness, I fear, is a very misunderstood word in our modern culture. One of the very best definitions I have found is, “An attitude of humble, submissive and expectant trust in God, and a loving, patient and gentle attitude towards others.” Meekness is mentioned often in Scripture, but I do not remember a great amount of time being given to discussion and teaching of the word.

We find it in Zephaniah 2:3, Proverbs 16:19, and 1 Peter 3:4. God also makes several promises to those who are meek in spirit. We find those in Psalm 37:11, Matthew 5:5, 1 Peter 5:5, Psalm 25:9, and Psalm 69:32. Meekness is a correct and worthy attitude in prayer, and we learn as we study that godly wisdom produces meekness. We have examples of meekness in God’s servants in Moses, David, Ahab, Job, Jeremiah, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Stephen, and the Apostle Paul. Jesus demonstrated a kind, gentle and meek spirit, as well, but that did not mean he was weak.

I particularly like the rendering in 1 Peter 3:4: “But 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.”

The short definition is “mild and gentle.”

“Meek” has been a difficult root word to translate and garner all of its meaning, and it means more than we generally assign to it. Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control — i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness. We find in study that the English word “meek” often lacks this blend — of gentleness and strength that is fully needed to convey its merit.

Michael Krauszer writes that we can come up with a working definition of what being meek is. “According to the Bible, meek is being humble and gentle towards others and willingly being submissive and obedient to the Lord. It is not being selfish and arrogant, loud or obnoxious. Rather, it’s having a quiet but confident trust in the Lord and being willing and able to do whatever it is He commands. In regards to how a meek person would treat others, they would definitely be humble and gentle both in their words and actions.”

Numbers 12:3 teaches, “Now the man Moses was very humble (meek), more than all men who were on the face of the earth.” That’s a pretty bold statement. Moses never trusted in himself. In fact, there are instances we can read when he was afraid to do what God asked of him because he did not think he was qualified for it. But he later came to realize that God seldom calls the qualified — He qualifies the called. Many associate meekness with weakness, and they think of an attitude that allows others to run over you because you are fearful of them. This, my friend, is not meekness. In fact, some of the strongest men who have ever lived have been meek.

Seldom do I hear the word “humble” or “meek” used that I don’t think of the old Mac Davis song “It’s Hard to be Humble.” Sports editor Chad Cooper often sang it in the newsroom in the old days on a late night of putting the newspaper to bed. The thought is that the guy is simple all together and has it going on, and when he looks in the mirror, he just has to say, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” This is probably the most distant from humble and meek we can find.

The word “meek” has been used by doctors to describe a soothing medicine, by sailors to describe a gentle breeze, and by farmers to depict a broken colt.

How meek is our spirit and our walk today toward others? Remember, true meekness is strength under control.