The Bible teaches us many lessons about how to live a righteous and fulfilling life. One important virtue emphasized in scripture is meekness. But what does it really mean to be meek? And how can we apply this concept in our own lives?
Meekness, as defined in the Bible, refers to having a gentle and humble spirit. It involves being patient, kind, and submissive instead of seeking power or dominance over others. In short, it means putting others before ourselves and displaying humility in our actions and attitudes.
In this article, we will explore the biblical definition of meekness and its significance for believers today. We will delve into specific examples of meek individuals mentioned in scripture, such as Moses and Jesus Christ himself. By understanding the true meaning of meekness according to the Bible, we can learn how to cultivate this virtue in our own lives and experience its transformative power for ourselves. So let’s dive into this topic with an open heart and mind!
Understanding the Concept of Meekness
Meekness is a virtue that is mentioned in the Bible, specifically in the third Beatitude in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). This concept is further highlighted in Galatians 5:22-23 where it is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness) and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). But what exactly does it mean to be meek according to biblical teachings?
In simple terms, meekness can be understood as a humble and gentle attitude. It involves having a spirit of humility and being willing to submit without resistance to God’s will and desires. This submission to God’s will is highlighted in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10). Meekness is not synonymous with weakness; rather, it is considered a strength under control.
The Greek word translated as “meek” is praeis, which refers to mildness, gentleness of spirit, or humility. It implies an inner disposition that allows individuals to remain calm and not easily provoked. This calmness is encouraged in Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
Biblical Definition of Meekness
According to biblical teachings, meekness goes beyond external actions; it stems from an attitude or quality of heart. It involves surrendering one’s own desires and agenda in order to align with God’s plans. This surrendering is exemplified in Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane: “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Meek people are willing to be submissive, humble, and gentle. They rely on God for strength instead of relying on their own abilities or power. They understand that true strength comes from surrendering control over their lives into His capable hands, as stated in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Importance of Meekness in Christian Life
Meekness plays a significant role in the life of a Christian. Jesus emphasized its importance when He said: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me because I am [praeis] (gentle) and lowly/weak (meek) at heart” (Matthew 11:29).
Being meek allows us to imitate Christ’s character more closely as we grow spiritually. It helps us develop patience when faced with offenses or challenges while maintaining an attitude of grace and forgiveness towards others. Meekness also enables us to find peace and contentment as we trust in God’s provision and guidance. This peace that transcends all understanding is described in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
The Example of Jesus Christ’s Meekness
Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of meekness. Despite being the Son of God, He humbly came to earth as a servant, willingly giving up His divine privileges to become human, as stated in Philippians 2:5-8: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8).
Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus displayed meekness in various ways. He consistently submitted Himself to God’s will, even when faced with immense suffering and persecution. From washing His disciples’ feet to willingly laying down His life on the cross for mankind’s redemption, Jesus exemplified a spirit of gentleness and humility.
By following Jesus’ example of meekness, Christians can embody His love and grace in their interactions with others.
Applying Meekness in Everyday Interactions
Meekness should not be confined to our relationship with God; it should also govern how we interact with others on a daily basis.
In practical terms, this means responding calmly rather than reacting impulsively when faced with conflict or offenses. Meek individuals choose words wisely and seek peaceful resolutions rather than engaging in heated arguments or seeking revenge. Ephesians 4:2 encourages this behavior, stating: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
Meek people are not easily provoked or offended but instead extend patience and understanding towards those who may have wronged them. They demonstrate genuine empathy towards others while offering forgiveness freely, as highlighted in Colossians 3:12-13: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:12-13).
Cultivating a Spirit of Humility and Gentleness
To cultivate meekness within ourselves, we must first recognize that true strength lies in surrendering control over our lives to God. It involves acknowledging our limitations as humans while fully trusting that God is ultimately in control.
Developing humility requires actively seeking opportunities to serve others selflessly without expecting anything in return. It entails setting aside pride and valuing the needs of others above our own desires or ambitions. Romans 12:10 states, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).
Gentleness accompanies humility as an indicator of inner strength under control. A gentle person speaks kindly even in difficult situations, treats others with respect and dignity, and strives to bring peace rather than discord. Ephesians 4:29 underscores this, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
Overcoming Pride and Arrogance through Meekness
Pride and arrogance are the opposite of meekness. These qualities hinder our ability to fully embrace God’s will for our lives because they prioritize self instead of surrendering to His plans.
Meekness requires us to acknowledge our own weaknesses and shortcomings while recognizing that we need God’s strength to overcome them. It challenges us to let go of any sense of entitlement or superiority, allowing humility and gentleness to take their place.
By consciously choosing meekness over pride, we can experience spiritual growth, deeper relationships with others, and a closer walk with God. The Apostle Peter encourages us in 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).
The Blessings Promised to the Meek in Scripture
The Bible associates several blessings with living a meek life. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared that “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). This promise speaks volumes about the significant role meekness plays in our relationship with God and others.
Additionally, Psalm 37:11 states that “the meek shall possess the land” (Psalm 37:11). Similarly, Proverbs 16:19 notes that “better is a humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Proverbs 16:19). These verses emphasize how those who practice meekness will receive blessings from God such as peace, prosperity, and inheritance.
Embracing a spirit of humility can lead us to experience contentment in all circumstances while enjoying fruitful relationships built on love rather than prideful ambition.
Encouragement for Those Struggling to Embrace Meekness
While meekness may not be widely valued in modern Western culture today when compared with confidence or assertiveness, it remains an essential virtue for Christians. You might find yourself struggling against societal pressures or personal inclinations towards pridefulness or arrogance; however, the Bible offers encouragement and guidance for those seeking to cultivate meekness.
Remember that meekness is not a natural response but rather a choice. It requires intentional daily effort, humility, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. By praying for God’s help in developing this virtue and studying the life of Jesus as the perfect example of meekness, we can begin to understand the transformative power this characteristic can have in our lives.
As we embark on this journey of meekness, let us rely on God’s grace and strength to cultivate a gentle and humble spirit within us. May we continually seek His guidance and surrender our own desires, trusting in His plans and purposes. In doing so, we can experience the blessings and fulfillment that come from living a meek and righteous life.