The Power of Meekness

A man once had a vision of a gold plated king’s carriage with six pairs of horses properly decorated with plums and harnesses. Underneath the carriage, the driver was lying on his back fixing something. The person shouted, ‘be careful, if those horses take off and run you will be crushed by the wheels of the carriage!’ The man underneath the carriage confidently replied, ‘they won’t. I trained them! They only move when I tell them to!’ 

Meekness is strength under control. Picture a strong, black horse, with muscles rippling and ready to charge! But when the Master comes and saddles it, the horse stands perfectly still and is totally willing to trot, canter or gallop at the Master’s command. Although the horse can go much faster and leap over hedges, it is content to obey according to the instructions given by the rider. That is a perfect picture of meekness! There is no weakness in that.

As a result of a misrepresentation of these valuable, foundational concepts, that Jesus emphasised, but men distorted, our concept of Jesus-meek-and-mild, forgets the great authority and strength of our Lord that even drove the businessmen out of the temple with a whip of cords woven by His own hand. He was not the sad faced, long haired Hippie as Hollywood movies try to portray Him, but He was a man’s-man, a carpenter, hardworking man and meekness to Him was not a sign of weakness but of strength, divine strength under the control of His heavenly Father. He could say with great self-control, ‘I only do what My Father shows me!’ (John 5:19)

If Jesus told you to climb a mountain to be like Him, it might interest some people. If He said, “Fast and pray for a week”, others would respond. If He said, “Give a large sum of money”, it may entice a few. But He said, “Come and learn humility and meekness from Me and you will find rest for your souls”. How many of us would respond to this invitation? Notice it is no quick-fix: it is a process of learning! 

The Greek philosophers hated these ideas because it would make them weak and ineffective as wise and influential men. They promoted “self” instead. The entire world is geared to promote self: self-interest; self-advancement; self-assertiveness; self-analysis; self-talk – but the only self Jesus allows is self denial! When self is completely out of the way, then the Life of Christ can kick in, as it were. Until we really want these two qualities in our lives, not even Jesus can teach it to us! We have to ask the Holy Spirit to make them sound appetizing to our senses, naturally and spiritually. We have to develop a taste for humility and meekness, otherwise they will remain dormant for ever. 

The fact is, that once you are born again by the Spirit of God, once Christ lives inside of you, you already possess meekness and humility in your spirit. You do not have to try to strive to obtain them – chasing carrots in the religious sense of the word. But these qualities need to surface and begin to control our lifestyle.

The only two qualities that Jesus ever suggested that His disciples should learn from Him was humility and meekness. He never told them that they should learn how to preach or how to pray or even how to heal the sick! Why are these two qualities so important to life?
Well, Jesus knew that without humility and meekness the task that lay ahead for the 12 would be too great. They were unknown fishermen, tax-collectors and zealots, a motley crew, but their names would become household names for the next 2 000 years! Even today the most popular names in the world are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John! The weight of their fame and the trials of faith they had to undergo required humility and meekness in their character.

The Oxford Dictionary definitions of these two qualities are inaccurate if weighed by the meaning the Greek concepts in the bible:

Humble: (Oxford) having or showing low estimate of one’s own importance, lowly, modest, of small pretensions. To make humble, abase, (Latin humus: ground) to eat humble pie means to be humiliated.

Meek: (Oxford) submissive, tame-spirited

Vine’s Greek Expository Dictionary

Humble: tapeinos signifying low-lying. It is used always in a good sense in the New Testament to denote of low degree, brought low, literally of mountains and hills, abase. Matthew 11:29 it is used in the sense of being humble in spirit. Acts 20:19 talks about humility of mind (tapeinophrosunê).

Meek: Praos denotes gentle, mild, and meek. It consists not in a person’s outward behaviour only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men; as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather it is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of Spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with the word humility. It is only the humble heart that can be meek and does not struggle and contend with Him. Meekness in the face of vile men allows insults and injuries which they may inflict as being permitted and employed by God for the chastening and purifying of His elect. It is associated with self-control.

The English language uses the word, meekness, to express weakness and pusillanimity, which the original Greek meaning does not allow. Praos or ‘praütês‘ describes a condition of heart and mind. 

It must be clearly understood that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself. But the Lord was meek because He had the infinite resources of God at His command. Described negatively, meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.

The apostle Paul appeals to the meekness of Christ in believers and charges them to show all meekness towards all men. In his dealings with the ignorant and erring he is to exhibit a spirit of meekness and towards those who oppose themselves he is to correct them in meekness (II Timothy 2:25). James the apostle, exhorts his beloved brethren to receive with meekness the implanted word (James 1:21). The apostle Peter says meekness is required to set forth the grounds of the Christian hope (I Peter 3:15)

In the present Apostolic Reformation (since 1990) our knowledge and understanding regarding spiritual concepts have been enhanced and two of the words that have taken on a new dimension in meaning are ‘humility and meekness’. I would like to add the present truth regarding these otherwise vague words:

Humility is a sane estimate of one’s self and one’s own capabilities and talents. Pride is an over estimation of one’s self and an under-estimation of other people; whereas inferiority would be just the opposite: an over-estimation of other people and an under-estimation of one’s self. 

Imagine a church full of ‘meek’ people! Imagine a family where meekness is part of their make-up! Imagine a school full of meek scholars! Imagine a business with meek employees! This is not a bunch of weaklings, but people who can take orders and do what they are told with absolute conviction and strength being displayed! This changes the picture of the traditional view of meekness altogether!

It was interesting for me to note that the German dictionary (nor the Afrikaans one!) has a word for meekness. The concept of meekness is eradicated from the psyche of the German and Afrikaans nations due to a total absence of understanding what Jesus required! Could this be why Germany committed the atrocities during the Second World War towards the Jews and the Afrikaans nation showed man’s inhumanity against to man during the Apartheid era when they were in power in South Africa and brought a separation between races? See what happens where there is no meekness in place?

It is also amazing to realize that Jesus’ demand for humility and meekness opposes all the self-motivational courses in the business and sporting world! Political power also denies the qualities Jesus preached! No wonder the world is in such a mess! There can be no peace without the Prince of Peace, no matter how they try!

Meekness is one of the fruits of the Spirit and is an outgrowth of love and concern for the welfare of other people. Jesus exhibited a spirit of love, gentleness and meekness towards all mankind, setting us an example to follow

It is also amazing to realize that Jesus’ demand for humility and meekness opposes all the self-motivational courses in the business and sporting world! Political power also denies the qualities Jesus preached! No wonder the world is in such a mess! There can be no peace without the Prince of Peace, no matter how they try!

My personal definition of the virtue of meekness is this that Jesus (the Christ, Messiah and Saviour of the World) set the perfect example of absolute meekness in that He himself, having been the human manifestation of Almighty God The Father, in the flesh, on Earth (Emmanuel) and having access to all power and might, instantly summonable at His command at any time, chose rather to keep silent and be obedient to His Father in absolute perfect servanthood, for the entire duration of His sojourn on Earth. Even under extreme duress, having full knowledge of the extent of the injustice, suffering, the extreme beating and mutilation that He would have to endure even before finally being brutally nailed to a wooden cross and left to hang there, to die the most tormenting and agonizing death ever inflicted on any human being (Son of man) and not uttering a single malicious word, but to rather to loudly implore Almighty God, His Father. He asked Him to forgive those that had condemned Him falsely and had perpetrated His imminent death from this, His crucifixion, all the while not harboring a single thought for His own personal well-being.

To be Meek is to have humility, patience, a deep understanding of the human condition, a Godly kind of love for wretched man and a total love for God. This all of can only be attained through true and intimate relationship with The Triune God of the Bible who gives so great a virtue to a heart of faith and obedience as a gift (nothing could be further from human nature than meekness and so it therefore needs to be a gift from God).

Acknowledgement: Notes from apostle dr Andre Pelser.