Stirling falls, South Island, New Zealand

‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth’ (Mat 5:5)

This verse taken from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus is an intriguing verse because it appears to collide with reality. Man is not wired to think that by being meek he will inherit anything. The way of the world is one of force, coercion and domination. Yet, Jesus appears to offer an alternate reality. How do we understand this verse?

First it would help to recognize that meekness is not to be equated with weakness. A weak person is one who has no power, but a meek person is one who controls his power and regulates it. The picture that meekness should evoke in our minds is that of a horse that was running wild, but that has now been reined and so directed to move in the direction that the rider wants it to go. The horse has great energy but every movement of that horse is controlled so that its energy is bridled to accomplish its master’s purposes. At the end of the day, a wild horse would have run about without achieving any good, but that same horse when reined would have won a battle for its rider.

How does meekness manifest? At the heart of practical meekness is forgiveness and gentleness. When you choose to forgive a person who has wronged you, when you choose to ignore the snide remarks that unfairly come your way, when you choose to look at the other person’s interest more than yours, it is meekness in action. Meekness does not give high regard to oneself, understands one’s wretchedness before God and readily concedes that the person interacting with you has intrinsic God-given value despite the way you are treated. Meekness manifests itself in the gentleness with which one deals with others. Paul talks of the ‘meekness and gentleness’ of Christ (2Cor 10:1). If we wish to see meekness in action, look no further than Christ.

No one in his right mind would say that Jesus was weak when he walked this earth. Demons fled before him, sickness melted at the touch of his hand and nature bowed in reverence to his commands. He chose not be manifest as an earthly ruler, but did demonstrate adequate evidence of the absolute power that he controlled in the spiritual realm. Nothing was beyond him. In his own words, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Mat 26:53) He wielded enormous power yet he was also gentle and forgiving. His authority was not showcased, rather controlled in a manner that God’s purposes would be accomplished through his life. It was a demonstration of meekness that ‘when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate’ (1Peter 2:23).

In Paul’s words, we are called to emulate that supreme meekness that our master demonstrated. ‘Your attitude should the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,—-’(Philip 2:5-7). Whether we are in positions of earthly authority or not, we wield great power in the spiritual world because we are in Christ, seated with him in the heavenly realms. Yet, to truly forgive when we are wronged, to not react to every impulse that meets us lest God wishes us to, to demonstrate gentleness with those around us and control our soul and bodies so as to harness our spiritual and physical energies to accomplish God’s ultimate glory is meekness at its best.

What follows is blessedness- a state of contentment and satisfaction, one wherein we are at peace with ourselves and with God. And the Lord of all the earth, will truly lead us to inherit the earth and accomplish much. He will take us beyond our capabilities and help us to dwell in the realm of the miraculous. We will constantly surprise ourselves, and others with our output. And while we do await our eternal glorious reward, we will also handle authority and success along the way as we live out our lives here on earth. Much like the earth bowed to Jesus when he walked the earth and continues to bow to him today centuries later, to one who was supreme in meekness; it will bow to one who belongs to Christ and replicates the meekness of Christ.

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