Sunday, October 22, 2006

Meek as Jesus!


To our culture, the term implies weakness, wimpiness, shyness...certainly not something to which most people would aspire. But the Bible calls Jesus "meek" and speaks highly of meekness in several places. Does that mean Jesus was a shy, wimpy weakling... and that we should all aspire to the same? Of course not!

The term "meekness" doesn't translate easily from the Greek word "prautes". Another possibility is "gentleness." But that doesn't do it justice either because it implies outward action whereas the actual word focuses primarily upon a heart condition. Vine's Expository Dictionary refers to it as "...that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting." It goes on to say that meekness is "...the fruit of power." Note carefully that this is NOT a sulking resignation, but is rather a firm, heart-felt understanding that what God is doing in our lives is GOOD, regardless of how it may feel at the moment. The result is an intensity of character that comes with the power associated with it. Just think about Jesus. Weak and resigned would never describe Him; instead think of His single-minded focus on His Father's will, think of His cleansing of the Temple, think of His raising of Lazarus. This is power in meekness!

Now combine that with "quietness," as is commended for women in I Peter 3:4. The idea of quietness (or leading a quiet life) is listed elsewhere as a commendable quality for all, but here is the only place the two ideas are placed together. "Quietness" could easily be rendered "tranquil."

In effect, quietness could very well be the result of meekness. A person who is accepting of God's dealings with them as good would find it very easy to be tranquil.

Think of a large body of water where there is nothing to disturb it. It is "tranquil." Also consider a small puddle that is also tranquil. Now toss a fairly good sized rock into the puddle. It will splash about, rock and roll, and be quite disturbed overall. Now toss that same rock into a mile-wide tranquil lake. It will cause a splash, but the lake will quickly soak up the energy from the rock and return to its tranquil state, the majority of it having never felt its effects.

The large lake is a picture of the fruit of meekness and of quietness. The "rocks" that come into our lives are quickly absorbed and our countenance retains the tranquility of godly affections. People with these qualities can witness the love of God in Christ when others around them are falling apart because these people have a strength and power of character to persevere in dignity, calmness, and tranquility through times of difficulty.

While I would commend the qualities of meekness and quietness to all Christians, Peter obviously commended them both as a grouping to women in particular. Does that mean women are to be silent, weak fixtures in the background? Of course not. Based on what we know above, it means that a woman of meek and quiet spirit will exude a strength to absorb the hard things of her world, which allows her to carry on as the massive rock that supports her husband as his helpmeet. The world may attempt to dash her about, but she will remain steady...and that solid foundation is exactly what enables her husband to affect his world (i.e. sitting in the gate...Prov 31). If she breaks, he falls alongside her. Make no mistake... a woman of meek and quiet spirit in her role as helpmeet to a husband with vision is an indispensable part of God's order in the family and His plan for their effectiveness as Kingdom-bearers to the world. With her, her family is strong and powerful; without her, they are weak and ineffective. She is vital in her role.

Are we there yet? Probably most are not... both because they do not understand what it truly means to be meek and quiet, and because these have not been qualities prayed for and sought after.

So I pray... for me and my family, and for the church at large... through the power of the Holy Spirit, may we all seek and gain the power found in a meek and quiet spirit.

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