T. David Sustar

B. Childress
March 11, 2008

The Greek word
praotes, which is translated "meekness" in the King James, means mild: mildness in dealing with
others."  Contrary to present thought, it has nothing to do with weakness.  Meekness is power in submission - strength
under control.

The Bible gives examples of men whose lives were explosive or out of control before God's Spirit touched them.  The
apostle Peter was but a rough fisherman when the Holy Spirit transformed him into an anointed servant of the Lord.  
Moses was not always so meek; it took him 40 years in the desert before he was fully brought under God's control.  
But he learned his lesson well!

When you look at lives transformed by God's Spirit, you see strength under control, power under discipline.  There is
no hint of weakness.  The meek man simply turns all his powers, all his abilities, over to God.  Barclay says praotes is
not "spineless gentleness."  While gentleness is there, behind it is the strength of steel.

A Great Need in the Church

Perhaps this fruit of the Spirit is needed more than any other in the church.  We live in a self-centered world where
everyone is looking after number one.  Civil rights and personal rights claim the attention of everyone.  No one can
infringe on another's territory (mental, physical, social, or spiritual) without threat of a lawsuit.  These are trying times,
and worldly attitudes often appear in the church, bringing suffering with them.  A haughty spirit or arrogance and
self-will can erect barriers to spiritual growth and unity.

On the other hand, we sometimes err by becoming altogether too spiritual.  We boast of our holiness, as if the mere
mention of the word performs some magic, but often there is a hollow sound in our words.

Meekness Should Accompany Holiness

Charles W. Conn, A Balanced Church, wrote, "It is strange indeed that some of those who profess the most holiness
possess the most of pride.  They have pride of ability, pride of position, pride of station, pride of holiness.  They look at
their fellowmen with an attitude that says, 'See, I am better than you.  I have more grace than you.  I have authority
over you.  I am superior to you.'  It is an insidious form of pride that swells itself in an arrogant love of self, a self-love
that is willing to abuse or misuse others in the name of holiness.  This self-righteousness was the sin of the Pharisees.

Andrew Murray said, "The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is its lack of humility."  The apostle Paul reminds us, "
who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou did not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why
dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
"  1 Corinthians 4:7.  

If we are to be like Jesus, we must harvest meekness or humility by the Spirit's work in our lives.  A divine humility was
the secret of His life, death, and exaltation.  In our lives humility is necessary if we are to allow God's holiness to dwell
in us and shine through us.

The Real Servants

John E. Mitchell said, "The great leaders of men in all fields have not been the arrogant and the greedy, but the
servants.  The real servants are the true nobility."

Jesus declared, ".
..Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and
their great ones exercise authority upon them.  But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among
you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man
came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
"  Mark 10:42-45

It is easy to tell if a Christian is growing.  In proportion to his growth in grace, he will elevate Jesus Christ, talk less of
himself, and become smaller and smaller in his own esteem. He will also have the joy of the submissive mind which,
according to Robert E. Fisher in
Pressing Toward the Mark,  "comes from helping others, sharing in the fellowship of
Christ's sufferings, and knowing that God is being glorified through obedience."

Please do not feel that as Christians we give an abject, unworthy meaning to the word
meekness.  The meek are
mighty in God's purposes.  But their might is received when they humble themselves and allow the Lord to exalt them
(1 Peter 5:6).

Christ is Our Example

The combination of strength and humility is best seen in the life of Christ.  Notice the contrast in this verse, "TELL YE
"  Matthew 21:5.  He is the King, yet He is meek!  In all things He had power to do
things differently, yet He submitted to the will of His heavenly Father.

There is probably not a better picture of His meekness and gentleness than that given in Mark's gospel.  Some
mothers brought their children for Christ to touch and bless.  The disciples thought Jesus would not want to be
disturbed with the children and rebuked the parents, "
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto
Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not:  for of such is the kingdom of God."  Mark 10:14.  

The Lord took that incident to teach meekness to His disciples, "
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the
kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.  
And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them,
and blessed them."  Mark 10:15,16.  

Meekness Rather Than Privilege

Too often the disciples and those around them thought they would be a part of the kingdom of God because of
privilege.  After all, they were part of Abraham's seed.  In Matthew's account of Christ's upbraiding of the cities, where
mighty works of God had been done without repentance, a clear note is sounded.  
Privileges increase responsibility,
and we will be judged according to our privileges
.  Jesus declared it would be more tolerable for Sodom in judgment
than for some of those claiming "special privileges," yet failing to respond to the call of repentance.

Although brokenhearted over the obstinance, Jesus found solace from another source, "
At that time Jesus answered
and said,
I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.  Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
"  Matthew 11:25-26.

After reaffirming His ownership of all things and His Sonship (strength), He issued this great invitation, "C
ome 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

The Beauty of Meekness

What power under control!  What submission!  What an example of how we should live!  There is little wonder the
psalmist declared, "
For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people:  he will beautify the meek with salvation."  Psalm 149:4

That is a rather strange statement, worthy of a second look.  It appears that it should read, "He will beautify the saved
with meekness," but it doesn't.  Rather, the picture shows the people of God, who have been in lamentations and
weeping, longing for a better time, suddenly delivered by the hand of God.  As they come forth in victory, their beauty
is not in the flashing of swords and the noise of armor nor in the pride and arrogance of the victorious but rather in
meekness.  As they bow before Him, they give honor and glory to God, not claiming any of His power to deliver. They
sing praises to His name!

A godly lifestyle will be revealed from the "hidden man of the heart" through  "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit."
This hidden man is the one the Spirit of God forms and develops in the secret workshop of your heart; namely, the
new way of thinking, feeling, and willing.  It flows from the life of Jesus in new spiritual life and a new nature for the
believer and is adorned with the beauty of holiness.

The meek and quiet spirit is the contrast of self-will, pride, presumption, obstinacy, hardness, anger, and envy.  Your
new spiritual life is infused into your heart by the Holy Spirit and gives a calm, tranquil behavior without passionate
excitement.  Such a lifestyle is "in the sight of God of great price."

"Meekness may be defined as the accurate assessment of oneself," according to Homer G. Rhea in a
A New
 "It avoids both the extreme of thinking we are more important or more capable than we really are and the
extreme of thinking we have less ability and less worth than we actually have.  It is the blessed experience of reaching
a happy medium and applying that principle to every aspect of life."

Meekness is of Great Value in the Church

Meekness is an exemplary attitude when one sees another make a mistake in following the Lord, "Brethren, if a man
be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest
thou also be tempted.
"  Galatians 6:1.

How much better our churches will be and how much less our losses if we only learn meekness!  Even when it is
necessary to rebuke those who are in error, we are to be gentle, "
In meekness instructing those that oppose
themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
"  2 Timothy 2:25.

Whenever we're challenged or persecuted for righteousness sake, our testimony is to remain holy:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a
reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of
you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
"  1 Peter 3:15.

The soft answer still turns away wrath, and a word fitly spoken performs as well as ever.

Meekness in Action

The apostle Paul said, "But godliness with contentment is great gain."  1 Timothy 6:6, and he proved it.  He warned
Timothy about the deceitfulness of riches and the perils they bring.  He issued a general warning to ministers and laity
alike, "
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience,
meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a
good profession before many witnesses.
"  1 Timothy 6:11,12.

Did you notice that meekness came just before the command to fight?  That's the only way it can be. It is strength
under control.  This helps us make sense of two other verses:  "
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the
kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
"  Matthew 11:12. and "Blessed are the meek: for
they shall inherit the earth.
"  Matthew 5:5.

Perhaps the church will soon recognize the power in meekness.  Then the promise of God will be brought to pass, "
my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their
wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
" 2 Chronicles 7:14.


The Layman's Guide to the Fruit of the Spirit, by T. David Sustar, Copyright 1990, Pathway Press.