Christians Need to Learn the Blessing of Meekness

What do you think would happen if the next time someone asked you how he or she looked, you replied, “You look rather meek to me”? Do you think it would be taken as a compliment or would he or she be offended? Or what would happen, if you heard a schoolteacher describe one of her students as the “meekest child in the classroom,” what would your image of the child be? I ask these questions to illustrate a point: we don’t have a very high opinion of those who are meek. When we hear someone described as meek, we automatically picture him or her as being something of a weakling. We live in a society that extols strength and looks down on anything that smacks of weakness, a society where no one wants to be described as being meek. But Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)  So let me ask you a question, “If Jesus says the meek are blessed and that they shall inherit the earth, why aren’t more Christians displaying this attitude?”  Perhaps it is because we don’t really understand what the word “meek” means.

What Does It Means to Be Meek?

Contrary to popular opinion, “meekness” does not refer to someone who is submissive, mild, or unassertive. We say, for instance, that a person is “meek as a mouse,” meaning he or she is shy, skittish, and afraid of confrontation, but this does not capture at all what the Greek word meek (praus) means. The Greeks had a very different saying; rather than focusing on a person’s lack power, they used the word meek to describe someone who exercised composure.[1] The Greeks, therefore, would say that someone was as “meek as a lion.” The Greeks used the word meek to describe animals that had been tamed or domesticated. This particular use of the word shows us the value of cultivating the virtue of meekness. A horse, for example, is a beautiful and powerful creature, but until it is broken, it isn’t much value to human beings. Once a horse has been tamed, however, its enormous potential and power can be turned into something productive. This same principle holds true for people. We are of no practical use to the kingdom of God until we learn to live under full submission to the will of God and the control of the Holy Spirit.

This attitude of submission is the direct result of the way meekness relates to the way we see ourselves. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, “Meekness is essentially a true view of oneself, expressing itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others. The man who is truly meek is the one who is truly amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do.”[2]  Over the next few days we are going to further examine what the Bible says about being meek by examining the life of Moses, whom the Bible says was the “meekest man on the earth.” (Num 12:3).  But for today, I want to encourage you to stop right now and pray about how you might cultivate the attitude of meekness in your life.  


[1] John MacArthur, The Beatitudes: The Only Way to Happiness (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), 99.

[2] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976), 57.


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