Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
You may remember that there is a degree of overlap between ‘meek’ and ‘poor in spirit.’
Here’s something to help clarify the difference: ‘poor in spirit’ is about recognising what you lack, and so what you need from the Lord, whereas ‘meekness’ is a specific quality of character that should be growing in your life as a Christian.
But this word ‘meek’ is not something you hear in everyday conversation these days. Many people will not be able to explain the meaning. So what is it?
Well, let me first risk some raised eyebrows by saying that this word is a poor, possibly incorrect translation. I have 2 reasons for saying this. The first is that the word simply is not in common usage any more, and translations are supposed to help understanding and not to confuse. The second is that, at one time, this may have been a reasonable translation in the past, but not any more. Because the modern meaning is about weakness and subservience. About being ‘easily overcome’. In dictionaries I have read ‘easily imposed on’ and ‘submissive.’ But these are passive attributes.
What the Greek word in the original means is not passive. The word is associated with gentleness in actions and behaviour. I can certainly say that this is sometimes lacking in the way Christians occasionally speak to each other! But I don’t think that this is the main meaning here…
The original Greek word was also used of a wild horse that had been ‘broken’ so that it is now trainable and safe to ride on.
Aha!! Here is a meaning much more appropriate!
So if you think about being ‘broken’ in spirit, it doesn’t mean that you have been damaged. It means you have been tamed from your wildness and wilfulness. It means you are teachable. It means you are ready to put the will and desire of another before your own.
For God to be working in your life, you have to be willing to submit to Him, to listen to Him, to be taught by Him, and so on. Your pride and arrogance and your own selfish desires all need to be put aside.
Some in the church have called this ‘dying to self’. Jesus was certainly an example to us in these things. In the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed ‘not my will but thine be done.’ And he taught that he only does what he has seen the Father do.
So, by the life of Jesus, we have an example of meekness. We can see that it is quite the opposite of the weakness associated with the modern interpretation of the word ‘meek’.
When we are moving in the will and the strength of the Lord, we are an unstoppable force!!
This leads naturally into the second part of the text: inherit the earth.
I have read and heard arguments about whether this means the earth now, or the new earth that will be after the judgement. This is the wrong argument! It moves away from the point of the text!
Jesus was very clear to point out that the Kingdom is at hand – today! Now! And we are all ambassadors of that kingdom if we are in Christ, saved and born again.
Being filled in the spirit, we have the power to reclaim that which was lost: this world and all the people in it. So, submitted to the Lord, full of His Spirit, obedient to His will, we are unstoppable in this work of reclaiming that which was lost.
It is not about some future time or kingdom. It is about walking in victory right here and right now.
I heard one evangelist describe it this way: to claim every place where your feet tread for the Kingdom of God, and declaring His Lordship and ownership of it.
So as we go out into our everyday lives, we should not fear the world ‘infecting’ us, or trying to ‘control’ us – because if we walk in submission to our God and in the power of the Holy Spirit, it will be the opposite that happens!
Remember that Jesus taught us that we are salt and light in the world. So we disinfect the world from the ‘infection’ of rebellion and sin that leads to evil, and we show the way to escape into salvation.
We are the light, and where there is light, there cannot be darkness. Amen and Hallelujah!
Our inheritance is Now! But… if we are meek.