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What is Meekness?

11th December 2017

Is Jesus still meek? What is meek anyway? Has meek, paired with mild, damaged our understanding of how Christians should fight? This is not the place for discussing the huge subject of a ‘just war’, pacifism, non-violent protest or civil disobedience. But meek is not synonymous with quietist behaviour, shyness or mildness.

Moses was the meekest man on earth[1]. He trusted and received whatever Yahweh would do with him.  His example demonstrated that meekness is formed first in our relationship with God, then towards others. Meekness is not mildness or timidity. Only a bold person can be meek. Paul prayed for boldness in ministry more than anything else and sought to walk in the meekness which he taught the church. The word akin to it is gentle. Gentleness or humility is controlled and purposed strength. A weak person cannot be gentle.

Jesus Christ was meek so he could help us learn the ways of the New Covenant. Jesus is still meek as he sets in play the great judgments upon the earth because of its sin and treatment of his faithful bride[2].

Meek makes mighty. Alongside prayer it is part of spiritual warfare and the deployment of Christ’s church in the daily victorious lives of believers. Meekness is taking up the fight for righteousness, in righteousness, with hearts afire with love for God. It is jealousy for the honour of our Redeemer.

Paul used the basket in Damascus, his citizenship in Jerusalem to avoid a beating and his knowledge of Roman law to embarrass the Philippian magistrates and to get a trip to Rome. We may likewise walk in meekness and take up similar ways in our day for his Kingdom. Perhaps countering with our own  ‘offence’ complaint under anti-discrimination laws that are being used so freely against Christians today, or bringing into play a term like ‘Christianophobia’, to counter the free and unfair use of phobic language against Christians. In a blasphemy-peppered and ‘omg’ culture confidently stating the truth at all times. When something good is mentioned in the flow of conversation, affirming with a ‘thankyou Jesus’, straight and clear.

Turning the other cheek, and giving your tunic as well as your cloak, were ways of conquering secular and abusive power with superior intelligence (wisdom) and character. Suffering with Jesus has more to do with the taking of wounds as a battle is fought rather than passive quietness. Our Lord’s passion was the wounds that he took while he smashed through the gates of hell, making his Accuser choke on the accusations against the redeemed.  Jesus Christ did all in the might of his Father and we can follow. Meek makes mighty!

Rev Ian Clarkson is a UCA Minister in South Australia, and this article was published as Ian's column in the December 2017 edition of ACCatalyst


[1] Numbers 12.3 and see all the occasions Moses fell face down and cried out to the Lord when he was opposed by Israel ,eg14.5;16.4,22;20.6, His one glitch was striking the rock twice,20.11 in piqued anger not meekness toward God. But he still held the title,12.3

[2] Matthew 11..29; Rev 5.5

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