For the past few weeks and for the next several weeks, I’m studying the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-12. These are some of the most familiar words of Jesus. These are the “Blessed Are” statements, and one of the most interesting things about these eight promises of blessing is that the recipient of each blessing is so not what we would expect.
#1—the poor in spirit
#2—those who mourn
#4—those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
#6—the pure in heart
#8—those who are persecuted
While spiritually speaking, this might sound like a list of things to strive for, these words of Jesus, just like most of His words, go against the grain of our culture. So, we are left with this question:
What are we going to deem most important? The things that Jesus defines as priorities or the things of this world?
While there is much to pull from this list of eight, I want to pause today on #3:
“Blessed are the meek.”
For whatever reason, perhaps even due to ignorance, the word meek seems to come with a negative connotation. However, if Jesus holds this quality in high regard, it may warrant us spending a bit more time on it. Why do we associate meekness with weakness? Why do we assume that the meek are the ones who get walked all over and taken advantage of? Why do we think that we must flex our power muscles, even if it means bulldozing people along the way, in order to get what we want?
Let me offer you an accurate, Biblical definition of meekness, and let’s see if our perspective starts to shift a bit. Meekness is gentleness, humility, and power under control. Let that soak in for just a minute. Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Humility was first and foremost embodied and exemplified through the life, ministry, and ultimately the death of our Savior Jesus Christ. And power under control? That doesn’t sound like weakness to me. It sounds like self-control, another fruit of the Spirit.
To be like Jesus is to be meek. At any moment in Jesus’ life and ministry, He could have struck every single person dead who opposed Him. But He didn’t. At any moment on that brutal cross, He could have called down upon the angels in Heaven and removed Himself from such torture. But He didn’t. At any moment in any given day, Jesus could lift His grace and mercy from our lives, those of us who continually turn to lesser things than Him and continually break His heart in our sin. But He doesn’t.
That is meekness. The ability to harness the power you have been given by tempering it with a perfect blend of gentleness and wisdom. I don’t know about you, but I want to be meek.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 (ESV)