by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: James 4:1-10
I. One aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is meekness - Galatians 5:22-23
A. Few view meekness as a desirable trait
1. Instead, people take assertiveness training
2. We are conditioned to be aggressive, to watch out for our own interests.
B. Rudeness is in, consideration for others seems to be out of fashion
C. Yet we must humble ourselves - Matthew 18:4
II. What is meekness?
A. Meekness is defined as gentleness
1. Yet, it is usually viewed in a negative manner
2. “Humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness”
3. “Compliant: evidencing little spirit or courage; overly submissive or compliant”
B. Vines: “The meaning of prautes is not readily expressed in English, for the terms meekness, mildness, commonly used, suggest weakness and pusillanimity to a greater or less extent, whereas prautes does nothing of the the kind. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find a rendering less open to objection than ‘meekness’; ‘gentleness’ has been suggested, but as prautes describes a condition of mind and heart, and as ‘gentleness’ is appropriate rather to actions, this word is no better than that used in both English Versions. ... Described negatively, meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.”
C. It is related to humility, but it is not the same thing.
1. To be meek, a person must be unconcerned about self . They must have a lack of self-pride
2. This is why the poor and the oppressed are often called meek
a. Isaiah 11:4 - poor related to meek (or afflicted or humble)
b. Proverbs 16:19 - Better to be poor and humble
c. There is no cause for pride in their current position
D. A trait of a Christian - Titus 3:1-2
1. Depending on the translation, it is rendered “gentleness,” “humility,” or “consideration.”
2. How do we show meekness toward all men?
III. Jesus as our example
A. Matthew 11:29-30 - Jesus describes himself as meek and lowly in heart
B. Before his accusers, he was silent - Isaiah 53:7
1. He took his punishment quietly
2. I Peter 2:23 - He did not revile or threaten
C. Jesus’ meekness did not come from cowardliness or a lack of strength; his meekness was due to confidence in the Father’s power.
1. Matthew 26:50-54 - Jesus had but to ask and he could have stopped the violence about to be done to him.
2. But Jesus wasn’t concern about himself, but fulfilling what needed to be done - Philippians 2:4-8
IV. Meek is not weak
A. Meek men are gracious, congenial, easy to get along with, a gentle disposition.
B. Their strength comes from compassion and loving spirit
C. Example: Moses - Numbers 12:3
1. Yet, this man was the leader of the Israelites
2. He stood up to Pharaoh, the leader of the greatest country of the time.
3. He talked with God when all the Israelites trembled at God’s voice.
D. Meekness is a quality of wisdom - James 3:13
1. Too often our educated are filled with pride, overbearing, and condescending in dealing with the less educated.
2. True wisdom doesn’t have to prove their position is superior.
3. True wisdom comes from God, so the wise should simply be confident that the Lord is always right; such leads to a calm, peaceable demeanor - Philippians 1:27-28
V. Why be meek?
A. Zephaniah 2:3 - Seek meekness (most translate it as “humility”).
B. Needed to teach others - II Timothy 2:24-26
1. I Peter 3:15-16 - Defend in meekness and fear
2. Christianity is not spread by force. It is made attractive by gentle confidence.
C. Needed to learn - James 1:21
1. Before we can teach, we must learn
2. We cannot learn with a prideful attitude.
3. Our confidence in God leads to a willingness to listen and apply His teachings.
D. Unity, oneness of spirit, comes from meekness - Ephesians 4:1-3
1. Pride leads to many individuals going their separate ways
2. When a person is not concerned with their own agenda, but confidently follows God’s will, then unity springs forth.
E. A quality needed to forgive others - Colossians 3:12-13
1. Pride interferes with forgiveness because the prideful is focused on their injuries
2. The meek is not concerned about himself, but in improving the lives of others - Galatians 6:1
F. It is valuable - I Peter 3:3-4 - very precious in God’s sight
VI. The impact of meekness
A. It is the soil from which faith springs
1. A self-righteous, haughty, egotistical person has no need of God
2. Until we see our frailty and our inability to save ourselves we will not come to God to learn
B. To the meek, God gladly gives Himself
1. Psalm 34:17-19 - God saves the contrite
2. James 4:6-10 - Humble yourself in the sight of God and he will lift you up
C. The meek are the ones who change the world
1. Matthew 5:5 - the meek inherit the world. After this world dies, the meek inherit the world’s estate.
2. The meek leave an indelible mark on those they meet
a. Not by force, but by their confidence in God – the force of their conviction.
b. It is so different from what men expect, that it causes people to take notice and to say “they have something that I want to have.”
VII. I Timothy 6:11-12
A. Compliance and non-assertiveness does not describe God’s idea of meekness and gentleness.
B. It would be odd to say, “be gentle” and follow it immediately with “fight the good fight”
C. People might oppose us, but they will admire the meek for their quiet confidence in the Truth.