“Power is the moral principle of those who excel others.”
For someone who died in 1827, Beethoven would have fit perfectly in the culture of 2017. With each revolution of the earth it seems we grow increasingly more self-centered. We live in an “All about Us” environment and we want it yesterday. Patience is only a virtue when it concerns something we are not really interested in and being humble is something that we will proudly tell you about on our social media pages.
Is it any wonder that when we came to The Beatitudes in our study of The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that we would all get hung up on “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5).
Being meek just doesn’t fit our picture of success, at least according to the world’s standards. Out of habit, even as followers of Christ, we default to a failed standard. When we come to a point where we are trying to understand something that God is trying to tell us, we run it through the prism of our understanding based on what the world has taught us. This prism distorts truth and calls us to question God in the same way He was questioned in the Garden. “Did He really say that?”
As followers of Christ we are called to understanding through the prism of Truth, which is Jesus, His Word and The Spirit. It is counter-cultural from what the world demands. Hence our struggle with meekness.
When we hear meekness we think weakness, cowardice, less than manly, loser and many other words that are completely wrong because we have used the wrong prism, the wrong standard. God tells us that His ways are not our ways and our ways are not His ways. Clearly this is evident when it comes to understanding what true meekness is and why we should strive for it in our lives.
“Meekness is one of those mysterious virtues that we hardly even ponder. We may gossip that some blowhard is hardly humble, but we don’t think, ‘You know, what that guy needs is a little more meekness.’ Meekness sounds wimpy, almost negative. If someone’s meek, it sounds like they’re a pushover. A doormat. A wimp. But here’s the reality: true meekness exerts incredible power. Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is strength. It has softened hearts and toppled empires. It’s a power that can’t be countered.” – George A. Edgar.
Numbers 12:3 (KJV) says: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Can you imagine having that title in the world today? Can you imagine what social media would do to someone called the “meekest man on earth”? Do we consider Moses meek? Not really, even though scripture states it. So do we consider him weak? Again, not really. After all he confronted Pharaoh and led the people out of Egypt. But this meekness would benefit him in dealing with the people of Israel and in not being allowed to enter the Promised Land.
Moses didn’t just decide one day to be meek. It was a process that took time. He was raised in Pharaoh’s Court, you know that couldn’t have been a real place of meekness and humility. He would be banished for killing an Egyptian who was mistreating a Hebrew and spend 40 years in obscurity. That obscurity tending sheep would produce the meekness that would lead him to ask, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11 NIV).
“Meekness is power completely surrendered to God’s control.” John MacArthur.
“Meekness is when you are in a position of strength and power – yet choose not to use that power against your opponent, our critic, your accuser, your prosecutor.” Michael Yousef.