Meek – humble, submissive, preferring to bear injuries rather than return them, power under control
We had an aloe plant that we left outside during that last cold snap of the winter and it died – we thought. We had not meant to mistreat it but were negligent of its care. Even the part that survived turned brown except for one small tip that was still green. Aloe plants are wonderful for healing burns, so when I burned my hand, I broke off part of that tip to soothe the pain. That little broken, mistreated aloe still provided healing for me. Surprisingly, with a little water and warmer weather, it sprang back to life.
Are we like that aloe plant? Are we resilient and return good for evil? Or do we choose to strike out against those who hurt us? Kindness changes hearts. That aloe plant taught me a valuable lesson. Don’t return evil for evil. Instead, do good to those who hurt you.
Meekness is listed among the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This fruit only appears in the life of those who are born of the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. It is evident in those who cultivate the character of Christ in their lives. We cannot achieve meekness on our own. We are certainly not born with meekness. Much to the contrary, we are born in a world that declares survival of the fittest, a “me first” culture.
In this world of vengeance and hatred, it takes real power to be unmoved from the path the Father places before us. We only receive that power through the Spirit of God at work in us. Just as fruit trees have an unseen force at work in them throughout the year making it possible for them to bear fruit in season; we must have the force of the Spirit at work in us every day if we are to be able to develop His fruit in the various seasons of our lives.
It takes a heart like Jesus’ heart to heal the wounds of those who have hurt us, to return good for evil and kindness for spiteful actions against us. Jesus said when we learn meekness from Him, we will find rest for our souls. That rest doesn’t mean we won’t have battles to face and problems to overcome. It simply means we stay focused and are content in the Father’s will whatever the outward circumstances.
Jesus never pushed His own agenda as a man, even though He had the power to do it. He possessed the boldness and authority to act, but never used it for the advancement of His humanity. He used it only for the Father’s purposes. If persecution was not the Father’s will at that time, He simply walked away from it. There were occasions when men took up stones to kill Him or sent soldiers to arrest Him, but those attempts on His life were futile until it was God’s timing. There were other times when men tried to force Him to become their earthly king, but He evaded them, too. Jesus never considered the will of man. It made no difference, had no bearing on His decisions. He was set on accomplishing the purposes of the Father only.
When persecution and death were in God’s timing, Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing what lay ahead of Him. Why? Because He was meek and submissive to God’s will. He was strong enough to walk into a trap knowingly because He wanted nothing less than God’s will. We see that so clearly in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed just before His arrest; “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” He had the power to deliver Himself, but He used it instead to press on in the face of death.
In the fourth chapter of Acts, we read that Peter and John had healed a lame man at the Temple. As the man rejoiced and praised God, a crowd gathered wanting to know how this happened. Peter took that opportunity to preach about Jesus, the One in Whose name the man was healed. So, Peter and John were arrested, threatened, and commanded by the religious rulers not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus. Their answer to these leaders was honest and clear. They said, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” They weren’t defiantly disobeying authority, but they had to answer a Higher Authority, the same Authority these religious leaders claimed to follow. If the disciples kept the leaders’ command, they would have to disobey Jesus’ command to preach and teach in His name. They were threatened further and released because the religious rulers were afraid to punish them. After all, a notable miracle had been done and many of the people saw it, heard their preaching, and believed.
Upon release, Peter and John went to the gathering of believers and told them everything that had happened. They immediately went to prayer, but their prayer wasn’t one for vengeance. It wasn’t one for protection or even deliverance. They prayed, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30) They asked God to give them boldness in the face of persecution, in the face of the threats that they knew would be carried out if they continued. They knew there would be repercussions and they needed courage. They needed power to follow the commands of Jesus.
Meekness is power under control, power to do what is right even when facing evil. They didn’t ask for boldness to fight the religious people. They didn’t pray for courage to take up arms, protest or bring down the hierarchy. They didn’t ask for wisdom to outsmart the enemy. They prayed for boldness to continue doing what Jesus commanded them to do. They would not be deterred.
These believers had an immediate answer to their prayer. “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” God heard and God answered.
When is the last time you prayed and chains of fear were broken? When the words of the enemy against you lost their power because of the Word of God within you? When your whole world shook and left you with a boldness and power that nothing could shake? When the Holy Ghost filled you again and empowered you for the task ahead? If we want an answer to our prayers, we have to pray them! We have to mean what we pray.
If we want meekness to prevail in our lives, we must have power, the power of the Holy Spirit. This power is not to destroy lives, but to build them. It is not to seek vengeance against those who persecute us, but to seek their salvation. Jesus forgave those who crucified Him, even in the midst of their murderous act. They mocked Him and called on Him to come down from the cross if He was the Son of God. He could have. He had the power to come down from the cross, wipe them all out, and vindicate Himself. Wouldn’t that have been a wonderful show of His authority? Wouldn’t that have shown them the majesty and glory of God? Yes, it would. But it would have left us all lost in our sins. Jesus was more interested in securing our salvation than in a flashy show of power that would last in the memories of maybe one generation. Jesus was set on finishing what He came to do. Possessing the power to deliver Himself, He allowed Himself to be mocked, tortured and killed. It not only bought our pardon, but He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
Jesus hasn’t called us to show how powerful we are, how gifted, how eloquent or well-known. He calls us to save the lost, encourage the discouraged, strengthen the weak, care for widows and orphans, preach the gospel and show Jesus to the world. From time to time we need to examine our motives in our prayers and our service. We should want nothing less than the will of God.
Jesus still gives boldness and courage to those who ask, to those who follow Him. He still answers prayers, fills us with the Holy Spirit and gives us the power of meekness. What are we praying for? For God to bless our bank account and keep us in a comfortable position? Or are we praying for the boldness to love our enemies, do good to them that hate us, bless them that curse us, and pray for them that despitefully use us?
Christ calls us to put the will of the Father above our own selfish will. He calls us to be kind and loving even in the face of evil. We are to give the message of the cross to those we come in contact with. We are to show the love of Jesus to the world around us.
Only through the meekness of Jesus in our lives can we have the power to accomplish His work. His way is not always easy, but He will give the power to those who ask.
“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”