In the last post we briefly discussed the topic of lowliness or humility. As we continue on with a brief word study of the word Meekness, we find that many sermons have been preached and books have been written on each of the characteristics described in Ephesians 4:2. In just a quick internet search I found over 360,000 hits referencing meekness and the Bible.
In our search we found a variety of definitions for the word Meekness. Many will use the word meekness and gentleness interchangeably but these two words are truly different. Gentleness (epieikeia) refers to our outward actions while meekness (prautes) describes a heart and mindset, an internal attitude. Matthew Henry describes meekness as, “that excellent disposition of soul which makes men unwilling to provoke others, and not easily to be provoked or offended with their infirmities; and it is opposed to angry resentments and peevishness.” A.R Fausset has this to say about meekness, “that spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us without disputing and resisting; and also the accepting patiently of the injuries done us by men, out of the thought that they are permitted by God for the chastening and purifying of His people ( 2Sa 16:11 ; 2Ti 2:25 Tts 3:2 )…” And A.W. Tozer wrote, The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto.” Today in the Word, September, 1989, p. 19
I consider my own heart in this area of meekness and how it relates to my vocation(s). Gentleness is something I find fairly easy to show. As they say, I’m a lover not a fighter and so because confrontation for me can be difficult, having an outward gentleness can be somewhat a default action.
I reflect back on my childhood and can see how this played out in my young life. I grew up with two older brothers and a sister that is 3 years my junior. I can remember times when I would get so angry with her that I would rush at her and raise my fist to strike a devastating blow all to end up bring that fist down on her arm with such gentleness she could have mistaken the “hit” as an infant’s tap. While I had learned that hitting her would bring the wrath of Mom or Dad down on me and so I constrained myself and showed “gentleness”, I was far from being meek.
I find it so much easier to show gentleness to others in my daily walk, whether it is as a father, husband, employee, boss, neighbor or any other vocation I have, than it is to actually have meekness – the right heart attitude. I find that for me, and I suspect each of us, it is so easy to put on a facade and to hide our true heart attitudes. Why is this? I suspect the root sin of all sins, pride keeps us from allowing the Holy Spirit control in our hearts because in short, we think more highly of ourselves then we ought. It is interesting how this ties back to our discussion on lowliness / humility isn’t it?
Dear Lord, help me to learn humility (ok, take it easy on me please) so that I can not only show gentleness to those around me, but to show meekness. May I strive to have a pure heart and not just goodly actions. And may I often remember, in myself nothing, in God, everything.