Read His Words Before Ours!
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 (NIV)
Full disclosure? The word always seemed…meh to me. Perhaps it has something to do with the way it rhymes with “weak,” but as a much younger person, when I read or heard the verse above, I remember feeling my very independence bristle in response.
If you were to hear my inner dialogue, it went something like…
MEEK. Ugh. Okay, so He says they will inherit the earth. But is being “meek” WORTH inheriting the earth? Because tbh that sounds like pretty much the worst ever. I’d rather be just about anything other than weak.
Weak people aren’t good leaders.
Weak people don’t stand up for others, or stand up for what they believe in.
Weak people don’t do the courageous thing when others ridicule or question them.
And after all, JESUS wasn’t weak. He challenged the status quo. He spoke truth without fearing what others might say or do. In fact, He spoke truth while knowing full well exactly what others would say and do. Why on earth would He say that the meek are blessed, and they will inherit the earth?
Maybe my inner dialogue sounds a little like your own. It’s understandable.
But what does the text really mean? When we dig deeper, we uncover a different story.
First, it’s vital we understand the context and placement of the use “meek” here. “Blessed are the meek,” falls after “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” and “Blessed are those who mourn…” and before “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…”
At first glance, it’s tempting to think that Jesus is calling all the sinners to do better and be better. But we know that works righteousness is not the gospel at all, so what do we see happening here?
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was the only person to ever fulfill each of the five-fold spiritual gifts. He was fully God, and fully man, therefore He actively operated in the roles of evangelist, preacher, teacher, prophet, and apostle during His earthly ministry. When Jesus gave what we call the “Beatitudes,” He wasn’t merely giving a “how to” sermon, or a biblical era “listicle.”
He was effectively prophesying about the transformation which inevitably happens when a person chooses to fully surrender every aspect of their life to the Lord and follow Him.
A person who comes to salvation and surrenders to God will first recognize that they are spiritually dead outside of life in Christ. They mourn their sinful state and recognize there is nothing they can do on their own to enrich their own spirit. They will accurately appraise their sin nature, and will hold an accurate view of themselves. They will be genuinely humble because they know they are wretched, apart from Christ. As they are transformed by the work of the Spirit, their spiritual appetite is awakened. They will begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness, rather than the things of the world.
So, how exactly does “meek” fit into the picture?
The Greek adjective praüs means ‘gentle’, ‘humble’, ‘considerate’, and ‘courteous.’ In the Old Testament, the word meekness comes from the Hebrew word ‛ānāw’, which means “suffering,” “oppressed,” and “afflicted.” In Old Testament usage, these words are used to describe the qualities found in a spirit which has endured much.
Dr. Lloyd Jones says ‘Meekness is essentially a true view of oneself, expressing itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others. (…) The man who is truly meek is the one who is truly amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do.’
But what was Jesus really saying here?
He was prophesying about what it would mean to surrender a life to His way, but He was also preaching the gospel. He wasn’t issuing a list of “you musts” here. He was declaring a “because of Me, you will.” He was saying those who surrender their lives fully to Him and take up the way of the cross will possess true humility by the transformative power of the cross, and will subsequently receive the inheritance God passes along to them as co-heirs with Christ.
Woo. Talk about a paradigm shift, right? But Love, isn’t that the way it simply must be?
Isn’t that the way of the Kingdom?
Isn’t the Kingdom all about paradigm shifts?
Rich are poor, and poor are rich.
First is made last, and last is first.
Being meek isn’t a matter of behavior at all; it’s a matter of recognizing our own spiritual poverty so we can submit to His supernatural strength!
Lord, You alone are worthy of all praise and honor. You alone know my heart. I repent of holding spaces where I haven’t let You rule and reign. I choose today to relinquish my control, my desires and my purposes, and I lay them at the feet of Your throne. Today, I choose to submit to You, and to pick up Your desires and Your purposes. Create in me a humble spirit that lovingly defers to every person You have tasked me to love. Teach me what it means to walk in meekness, and craft that daily desire within me. Everything I have belongs to You. Take and use any part you desire. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!