Dealing with the Heart

February 19, 2018

“Blessed are the meek” Matthew 5:5.

The world extols the strong and powerful, the self-assured and confident, the assertive and aggressive. But Jesus tells us just the opposite: “Blessed are the meek” (5:5).

This trait of meekness is often misunderstood. People think a feeble or cowardly person is meek. That’s not meek; that’s weak. Meekness is not shyness or a withdrawn personality. Nor can it be reduced to defining a really nice person.

The Greek word for “meek” is translated in a number of ways into English: “gentle,” “lowly,” “humble,” “considerate,” “courteous.” John Wycliffe, the first person to translate the Bible into English, translated this Beatitude, “Blessed be mild men.” These words paint for us a picture of a meek person.

Strength Under Control

In classical Greek the word “meek” was used to describe tame animals. A lion is a ferocious beast, but under certain circumstances it can be tamed. This gives us the best picture of meekness: the idea is really strength under control. A meek person is actually strong, but his strength is under the control of the Spirit.

We find a great illustration of meekness with Abraham. Abraham was the heir of all God’s promises, while his nephew Lot was a recipient of the blessing simply because of their relationship. When conflict arose between their herdsmen, Abraham went to Lot and said, “Let there be no strife between you and me. … Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left” (Genesis 13:8–9). Abraham could have asserted himself and said, “Look, Lot, you’d be nowhere if it wasn’t for me. And now you’re causing trouble. All this land is mine; God gave it to me. Go find your own place.” But he didn’t do that, because he was meek.

Meekness Manifested

The greatest example of meekness is found in none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus stated, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your soul” (Matthew 11:29 KJV). It astounds me to think of the Lord of the universe saying, “I am meek and lowly in heart.” Jesus’ appearing as a man is in and of itself an incredible demonstration of His meekness. We see it further in His endurance of hostility from sinners against Himself. His suffering silently is another great demonstration of His meekness: “When He was reviled, did not revile in return” (1 Peter 2:23). That’s meekness manifested.

How to Become Meek

 So how do we become meek? Well, Jesus told us how: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.” A yoke is a device that joined a young ox to an older, more experienced one so that the older might train the younger to heed the direction of the master. Jesus was essentially saying, “You can’t become meek on your own. Be joined together with Me.” As we are joined with Him, He sets the pace and takes us in the direction of the Master, and we learn. Then, through His Spirit, we are made more and more like Him.