“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
We continue focusing on the Beatitudes, wherein Jesus outlined eight circumstances of blessedness for believers. (Matthew 5:3-12) Teaching the crowds, Jesus identified desirable characteristics for his followers, along with corresponding outcomes.
Today’s Beatitude emphasizes the value of meekness. It’s no surprise, of course, that meekness is misunderstood and underrated in modern culture. Many people seemingly value a bold, brazen, winner-take-all attitude. When folks focus on self-centered pursuits motivated by presumption and pride, they may dismiss meekness as weakness or helplessness.
From the biblical worldview, however, the word “meek” signifies strength constrained by gentleness and mercy. In fact, when Jesus walked this earth, he told followers to “learn from me, for I am gentle [meek] and humble in heart.” (Matthew 11:29) Looking to the life and ministry of Jesus for examples of meekness, we are inspired by Christ’s caring, compassionate response to people.
We must ask if we, accordingly, are gentle, patient, humble, kindhearted, and obedient to God. Do we exercise restraint, remaining calm when provoked, as the Bible counsels in James 1:19-21? “[. . .] Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away [. . .] wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Meekness is a virtue that we, as believers, best exemplify when the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives. First, however, we must repent of our sins and receive God’s gift of salvation through Christ’s redemptive sacrifice on the cross. To the degree that we humbly submit to God’s will over our own inclinations, the Holy Spirit enables us to place—in meekness—the welfare of other people before ourselves.
As we study the Bible, the Spirit implants God’s Word in our hearts, as found in 1 Corinthians 10:24. “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” Jesus’ teaching of the “Golden Rule” (Matthew 22:39) confirms this commitment to love and meekness. Unfortunately, those who do not submit in repentance to God—those who selfishly strive “to gain the whole world”—do not ultimately inherit the earth. In fact, they stand to lose all, including their souls. (Mark 8:35-36)
We are instructed about the state of the meek in Psalm 37:11 (AMPC): “But the meek [in the end] shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Jesus echoes and blesses this truth in Matthew 5:5. We pray, O God, for guidance in humility and gentleness that reflect Christ’s meekness. Amen.
Kay Henry is a columnist for the Claremore Progress. All Bible quotations are from “The Holy Bible, English Standard Version” (ESV), unless otherwise noted.