“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)
What is meekness? Random House’s most recent dictionary defines it as “docile, as under provocation from others (as in under someone’s anger); forbearing, yielding, calm; overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame. Also weak, spineless; deficient in spirit, confidence, strength and ability.
Doesn’t sound like a great quality to posess, does it? No wonder many people today scoff at the verses in 1 Peter 3 that read, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands…(have) even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price.” verses 1a and 4b
It may come as a surprise to you that Random House does not give the full and correct meaning of the word meek! It has not always been seen as a characteristic of a weak-minded, stifled person squashed under someone else’s authority. Webster’s 1828 dictionary gives this definition of meek: “Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; submissive to the divine will; not proud, self-sufficient or refractory; not peevish and apt to complain of divine dispensations. ” In the classical Greek, meekness was used to describe an animal that was powerful, but fully tamed and under control.
Meekness is enduring injury with patience; it is not being someone trampled under another’s feet.
Meekness is one who is good-natured, considerate and kind, not someone who lacks spirit.
Meekness is possessed by one who is under control and resists impulsive reactions toward those who offend them; it is not someone who is deficient in strength or ability.
God wants to develop meekness (gentleness) in our lives. Christ is a beautiful example of this meekness. He submitted to authorities as someone powerful but under control. He was under the will of His Father, fully submitting to the Father’s will, but yet Jesus was not weak. Jesus is gentle and kind to His children.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28, KJV
Are we growing in meekness? Can we define ourselves as Webster defines this word? Meekness is the opposite of harshness, abrasiveness, and aggression. Do we embody the positive qualities of meekness with our children, spouse, friends, and co-workers?
Each day, I ask for the grace to be meek and gentle. God’s Word can encourage you as you desire to be submissive to God’s will and rely on the Holy Spirit for the power to change you.
“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” 1 Timothy 6:11
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” 2 Timothy 2:24-25
“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm 37:11
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” James 3:13