‘‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.’’ Matt.5:5
Additional reading: Psa. 147:6; 149:4; Isa. 11:4; 61:1; Gal. 5:23; Jas. 3:13; 1Pet. 3: 4 – 5
We centred on cleanliness of our thoughts and feelings yesterday. As the verse before us indicates, we shall be looking at something though different, yet an essential ingredient of the Christian character.
In continuing His sermon on the mount, Jesus said: ‘‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.’’ It is expedient to ask this question; what does it mean to be meek and who is a meek person?
A thorough examination of this word will help us a great deal.
‘‘Blessed are the meek:[Praus … mild, that is, (by implication) humble] for they shall inherit the earth.’’ We can, therefore, say that a meek person is one who is humble. Now this is what some other translations say:
‘‘Blessed are those who are humble. The earth will belong to them!’’ (CEV.) ‘‘Great blessings belong to those who are humble. They will be given the land God promised.’’ (ERV.) ‘‘Blessed are those who are gentle. They will inherit the earth.’’ (GNB.) ‘‘Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favour and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth.’’ (AMP.) ‘‘You’re blessed when you’re just content with just who you are-no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.’’ (MSG.)
Both the Contemporary and Easy to Read versions make it clear that a meek person is a humble person. However, the Good News Bible, Amplified and the Message Bibles use different adjectives. The Good News Bible describes a meek person as a gentle person. On the other hand, the Amplified Bible says that a meek person is one who is mild, patient or one that shows long-suffering in his character. While the Message Bible says that a meek person is one who is content.
Who then would you describe as a meek—humble, gentle, mild, patient, long-suffering or contented man or woman? To get a clearer picture of this, we must again look at scriptures as only scripture can interpret scripture. James in his book said: ‘‘Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.’’ (Jas. 4:10) So what does it mean to humble oneself or what does it mean to be humble?
‘‘Humble yourselves [tapeinoo … to depress, figuratively to humiliate (in condition or heart):- abase, bring low, humble (self)] in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.’’ Again, to abase means to belittle somebody or oneself or act in undignified way—to behave in a way that lowers your sense of dignity or self esteem. In other words, this means to bring oneself low.
We can, therefore, say that a meek—humble person is one who willingly takes upon himself a lower position in anything than he really is, especially for the purpose of service. More expressly, a humble man is one who decides to be a servant instead of holding onto or assuming a lofty (high, exalted) office. Humility, therefore, is a deliberate act of the heart or mind. It is a choice—we choose to be humble—meek.
A peep at the life of Jesus Christ will reveal something unique about Him. Paul admonished: ‘‘The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked in the path of obedience all the way to death—his death on the cross. For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.’’ (Php. 2: 5-9 GNB)
Paul through these verses pointed out the humble attribute of Jesus Christ, which he said all followers of Jesus Christ should showcase. So how did Jesus Christ show an exemplary life of humility? Paul said that though Jesus Himself is God He did not (force) Himself to be equal with God. Instead, He of His own free will gave up all He had—He voluntarily relinquished, gave up His lofty—high and exalted position and became a servant. Jesus who Himself is God became a human being and subjected Himself (will) under the will of God and suffered a shameful death.
As said earlier, humility is a choice and it is a kind of choice every believer must make as it comes with great reward. For this singular act, Jesus was lifted high above all else. ‘‘…For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.’’ And in this regard Jesus said, ‘‘Great blessings belong to those who are humble. They will be given the land God promised.’’ (ERV.) A humble man will always be lifted high just as the proud will be brought low (Lk. 7: 8 – 11; Matt. 23:11 – 12; 20:26 – 27)
In ending, we can say that a humble man submits his will to the will of God as Jesus did. And he is not proud but is of a broken heart and contrite—repentant spirit (Psa. 51:17.)
Meditation: How does my life compare with that of Jesus Christ in view of Paul’s call on Christians to be like Jesus Christ in humility?
Prayer: I cannot measure up with you, Lord. But I ask that you through the Holy Spirit help my heart to be humble in all things even as you are.
Question: (1) Who is a humble man? (2) Having gone through this study, would you describe yourself as a humble person? Point out your areas of weaknesses and ask God to help you.