Meekness is not weakness

Meekness is often misunderstood, yet Jesus says that we must learn meekness from Him, and the meek will inherit the earth …

What is meekness? Meekness is not weakness!

Meekness is a glorious virtue that has many good and beneficial effects, which are of great significance for us in our ministry and in our dealings with one another. Patience enables us to act in the right way in all kinds of trials and difficulties. Meekness enables us to do what is right in our ministry and in whatever we do.

Jesus invites us to come to Him and learn from Him, for He says, “I am meek and lowly in heart …” Matthew 11:29. Meekness had become flesh in Jesus. It had become a part of His nature. This can also be our experience if we are diligent to come to Him and learn from Him. God be praised!

How meekness manifests itself

Being too hasty in word and deed are possibly two of the most frequent weaknesses in people. They speak and act before they have thought about it, and one of the consequences is that they say and do things that they regret soon after – things that harm themselves and others. They lack meekness if this is the way they behave.

Meekness causes a person to consider his actions before he acts hastily. Therefore, what a person says and does will be said and done in a completely different manner than if he had acted impulsively. Quite often he will stop doing altogether what he had thought to say or do. What we read in James 1:19 gives us a hint of how meekness manifests itself: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath …”

Of course we know that, but let us take it thoroughly to heart: swift to hear, slow to speak! We have this advantage if we are meek. Quite often we can experience (e.g. in a conversation) that a person does not take the time to hear, to wait, and to be quiet until the other person has finished speaking. No, he interrupts, and quite often both of them will be speaking at the same time. Is this what it means to be swift to hear? Is this being meek? Not at all! People act like this because meekness is lacking.

Many accounts in the Bible tell us that Jesus was meek. One precious example is when the Pharisees came to Him with the woman who had been caught in the act of committing adultery. (John 8:1-11) Jesus did not immediately answer their question about what He thought they should do with her. He bowed down and wrote on the ground. He was swift to hear, and slow to speak. Nevertheless, after He had heard the Father’s voice He spoke with authority and the answer He gave was a “direct hit.” What a glorious and beneficial effect that flowed from a meek heart!

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Meekness means acting in the right way at the right time

We can make particularly good use of this virtue as a servant of the Lord. “A meek tongue is a tree of life …” Proverbs 15:4. We have to be meek to be able to hear God’s voice and have spiritual food to give. We must always be ready to give account of the hope that is in us “with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15. If a person is overtaken in any trespass, we shall help such a person “in a spirit of meekness.” Galatians 6:1. “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in meekness correcting those who are in opposition …” 2 Timothy 2:24-25.

Meekness enables you to be quiet so that you can help the other person in the right way according to what the Spirit works, and act at the right time so that the effect of your action can have the best possible result. How blessed it is to be quiet and hear what the other person has to say when you are contradicted! And, when he is finished, quietly and calmly say a few words that can give light. “By meekness a ruler is persuaded.” Proverbs 25:15.

Meekness is a part of wisdom. Listen to what James so fervently and simply explains to us: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” James 3:13. Meekness lends dignity to wisdom, and this makes it easier for others to listen to you.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5. Yes, the meek have certainly proved that they are worthy of it!

This article has been translated from Norwegian, and was first published under the title “Meekness” in BCCs periodical 
“Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”) in March 1961.
© Copyright Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.