Blessed are the meek

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5 ESV

This is a much misunderstood and overlooked passage of Scripture. The root of the problem is the unfortunate associations with the word "meek" in the English translation. It often puts in mind an image of one who is weak and helpless, or the kind of timid soul who wouldn't say boo to a goose. Is this the kind of meekness that is blessed by the Lord? Are these the kind of individuals that will inherit the earth?

The scriptures are clear; there is nothing weak or timid about the Spirit we have received from God.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2Timoty 1:7 NIV)

Moreover, we know that the Spirit we have received is the Spirit of Christ, and that meekness was part of his nature [2Co 10:1]. So this Christ-kind of meekness cannot have anything to do with timidity or weakness.

Vines describes meekness as "an inwrought grace of the soul. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting." [Adjective,4239,praos]

A better translation might therefore be "soft-hearted" or "yielded-obedience". It is this kind of meekness towards God and our brothers and sisters in Christ that carries the blessing of God.

We know from the examples of Abraham on Moriah, and Christ in Gethsemane, that such yielded obedience, far from conveying inner weakness or timidity, is actually borne out of the toughest kind of inner steel!

Any parent will know that this kind of meekness does not come naturally to their children. There is a stubborn wilfulness that runs through the heart, and an independent streak coupled with foolish pride that thinks it knows better than the instructions given. Any parent will know the frustration in dealing with this kind of attitude in their children, and also the joy and pleasure it brings their heart when their children obey the first time without questioning or grumbling.

So it is with our heavenly father and us. True meekness is a joy to his heart. It is this kind of meekness he is looking for in his church today and in your life and mine.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom (James 3:13 ESV)

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