Thus far in our examination of The Sermon on the Mount we have learned that to be happy God wants us to be poor in spirit and He wants us to mourn. And now it is time to learn why, in order for us to be happy, God wants us to be meek.
Meek can be defined as “enduring injury without resentment (and face it…a lot of us do resentment really well, like a beloved hobby), deficient in spirit and courage, submissive, not violent or strong, docile, spiritless, tame, yielding, and soft.” There’s no way around it folks…in 21st century America being meek isn’t really considered all that desirable of a trait. It’s basically a good way to have others take advantage of you, walk all over you, and leave you in the dust. Being meek is being a loser…or atleast that tends to be the human perspective. Not surprisingly, God seems to view things differently.
The Greek word for meekness is praos, which literally means “’to be gentle, humble, considerate, and courteous”. The Greeks used it to describe the tamed state of domesticated animals. In other words, God is telling us that to be trained, to be under control, to be focused on The Lord as our Master will make us happy. I am sure many of us have pets that we command to sit, stay, fetch, etc. Is your pet unhappy?? Probably not as long as you feed it and give it love. Do you love your pet and do anything you can to make its life comfortable and happy?? Of course. Now I am not saying that we are pets or that God thinks of us that way. I am just trying to illustrate that our definition of meekness is erroneous. It should not imply weakness, sadness, or passiveness… it implies an inward strength and poise. It merely means that a person is approachable and kind. It means that a person is not temperamental or harsh…they are even tempered. A person who is meek walks in Godly peace and stays focused on their duty. Meekness does not seek vengeance because that is The Lord’s. A person who is meek knows that their life is nothing without God. Psalm 37:11 tells us that “the meek shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace”. But what does it mean to inherit the earth?? I believe it has a dual meaning. First it means that if we bear this fruit we will receive our reward in Heaven. But I also think it means that if we exhibit the quality of meekness our earthly lives will be better, contrary to the poppycock that society tries to feed the masses. Our human goals of being strong, tough, and independent often lead to arrogance, selfishness, and a superiority complex. And even if they don’t, we need to ask ourselves what the endgame of our actions might be, or rather what we hope might be our reward. Too often the rewards we spend so much time and effort seeking…money, power, notoriety and all the fun stuff that comes with those things…come at the expense of a relationship with God. Instead we are to seek God with a meek heart, full of humbleness, submission, and humility.
One of my favorite movies is Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner. And one of the best parts of the movie is when Costner explains to James Earl Jones that when he was 17 years old he was fighting with his father, that he said something awful, packed his bags, and left. Jones asks him why he said and did what he said and did, and Costner replies “I was 17”. I think we all go through that sort of rebellion, to varying degrees, when we are young. As Christians we sometimes go through it as well. But ultimately, if we grow in our faith and bear fruit as we should then that rebellion is suppressed. If we are continuously rebelling against God then we are not bearing fruit. If I, at the age of 37, still acted like I did when I was 17 people would look at me like I was crazy. So why then do we think it is okay to become stagnate in our faith and not exhibit growth, i.e. bear fruit?? Why do we get so caught up in how the world tells us we should act and what the world tells us our goals should be?? Why do we buy into the idea that we need to be ambitious, aggressive, and must assert & promote ourselves in an effort to take what we want?? Why are the ideals of humility and politeness so frowned upon??
Obviously we need to change our mental and emotional paradigm, becoming more like what God wants us to be rather than what society tells us we should be in order to compete. The question is…how?? I don’t want to sound like a broken record here folks, but the answer is the same as usual. The only way we can begin to bear the fruit that God wants us to is to become more like Him, and the only way to do that is to forge a closer relationship with The Lord. Pray. Study your Bible. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting, inspirational friends, images, and entertainment. Faith is a living, breathing thing that we must practice, not just read about. James 1:21-22 tells us to “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only”. Do you think Joe Montana became a great QB without practice and effort?? Did your family physician just decide to become a doctor and start treating folks overnight?? Are attorneys, accountants, teachers, and engineers people who just happened to fall into a great job?? No, of course not. Success demands a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Meekness may just require more conscious practice than any other fruit, if for no other reason than it goes against everything that is ingrained into us from the time we are wee tots through grade school and high school and on throughout our working adult lives. But in this case success cannot be defined in terms of money, fame, or power. The only successful outcome is eternity in Heaven. So it is up to you…will you choose to buy into what a flawed and sinful world tells you is right, or will you choose meekness and bear the fruit that God tells us He requires??
- Understanding the Fruit of the Spirit of God (brighthub.com)