Often, people will confuse meekness with timid. Someone who looks down at his or her feet while speaking barely above a whisper appears to be meek when in actuality that is timid.
Jesus is, without a doubt, the main character of the Bible. When asked, “Name a character of the Bible other than Jesus,” most people respond with “Moses.”
Consider Moses. God told him to return to a country where he was wanted for murder, then go to the most powerful man on the planet and command him to free all his slaves. The king of the world, Pharaoh, will tell him to get lost, but Moses would return to the palace every so often to inform Pharaoh that God will send plagues upon him and his people to the point where his nation, the greatest nation the world has yet seen, will lay in ruin with countless dead. All of this destruction will not be done by an invading army, but by God through Moses. Moses was not a man that would stare at his feet and speak with a whisper, but the Bible says, Moses was the meekest man on earth (Numbers 12:3).
In looking at the life of Jesus, often His comforting words are remembered, but His aggressiveness is forgotten. Twice, Jesus physically flips the moneychangers tables, driving them out of the Temple. On the first occasion, He takes the time to make a whip and uses it to remove the people (John 2:15). Jesus, in several of His speeches, would condemn the religious elite of His day to the multitudes with the Pharisees standing right there (Matthew 5:20 is one example). Yet, just like Moses, the scripture uses the term “meek” to describe Jesus (Matthew 11:27).
From the examples given by the lives of Jesus and Moses, we can see that meekness is not timid, but a quiet and gentle nature, that does not desire a confrontation but does have the courage to argue or fight when necessary; a character that will endure injury with patience and without any resentment. Meekness knows when to “turn the other cheek” and when to stand before Pharaoh.
As we saw in Matthew 5:5 a promise of inheriting the earth comes to the meek. When Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom, the meek will occupy positions of prominence.
Meekness is something we should all seek. Zepheniah 2:3 says, “Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.”
We find another promise given to the meek here in Zephaniah – protection from God’s anger. It also appears from this verse that righteousness and meekness go hand in hand.
Salvation only comes through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), but it appears that a certain level of meekness is needed to make saving faith possible. Saving faith comes through believing in the Scripture. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The Word of God then must be taken with meekness, James 1:21 says, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
The Bible tells us everyone has sinned, and that is the reason Christ died on the cross – to pay the penalty for our sins. By having faith in God’s Word, that Jesus has done it all, we cash in Jesus’ payment for our sins and salvation is granted.
The problem lies in the fact that most people believe they have not been bad enough to be sent to hell, or that the good in their life has outweighed the bad, or they need to perform some religious ritual to obtain salvation.
What James 1:21 is telling us is we need to meekly accept what God has said – we are sinners, there are not enough old ladies I can help to cross the street or there are not enough church ceremonies I can participate in, that can save my soul. Jesus paid my entire debt to God. I need not, and I cannot add anything to what Christ has already done. Only a meek spirit can bring the repentive, faith-filled heart that allows the word to save our souls.
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points may be found at preacherspoint.wordpress.com.