The man who is truly meek is the one who is amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do. – D. M. Lloyd Jones
May I introduce you to Mademoiselle Meekness?
She befriended me years ago, but it’s been a bit on-again, off-again. I’ve been the weak link, and there’s no good reason for it: there’s nothing high-maintenance about her. Only recently have I sought out her gentle, easy friendship. So I’ll have to borrow words from those who knew her better.
I now present to you…
Her Grace Mlle Meekness.
Matthew Henry was one who knew her well. In 1698, he devoted an entire biography to the gentle lady. In The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit, Henry described meekness as the easy and quiet submission of the soul to God’s will as he makes it known, whether by his Word or providence.
|Meekness as a toddler, may have resembled my niece Anna.|
She is gracious easiness to be wrought upon by that which is good. Meekness knows that God is good and all He does is good (Ps. 119:68).
My sweet niece Anna has a gracious easiness to be wrought upon. She sits upright in my lap, wide eyed and mouth agape. She’s eager to hear my silly snoring and to be jostled by Hyper Horsey leg. Just waiting for good to act upon her supple little body. Then hear those happy squeals!
Maybe you’re not at a place where you can devote time to a new friend. Or you’re wondering why you should nurture this particular relationship?
Here are three reasons:
1. A meek, quiet spirit is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:4).
2. The Lord Jesus himself calls us to learn his meek, gentle ways (Matthew 11:29).
3. Until you know her personally, you might confuse her with weakness or whateverism.
I thought I knew her, but I had misjudged her. Meekness is not:
D. Martyn Lloyd Jones contrasts meekness with easy-going. Those who appear naturally meek may in fact be indolent and lazy, or- and he uses the term advisedly- flabby! And it’s not niceness, which is what you get in animals, he adds. (One dog nicer than another.) Instead, meekness is a true view of oneself, expressing itself in humility toward God and gentleness toward others, springing from trust that God is in control.
Meekness is not mousy. Meekness is courageous. True meekness is a resolution never declines the evil of pain when exposing ourselves to it is the only remedy against a greater evil (p. 56). It allows a man to suffer rather than to sin, to pass over an insult and be thought a fool, and to stay silent rather than have the last word. It is the victory over ourselves and the rebellious lusts in our bosoms (p. 51). Matthew Henry glowingly describes,
The meek and quiet soul is through grace a conqueror over these enemies, their fiery darts are quenched by the shield of faith, Satan is in some measure trodden under his feet, and the victory will be complete shortly, when, “he that overcomes shall sit down with Christ upon his throne, even as he overcame and is set down with the Father upon his throne, where he still appears in the emblem of meekness, “a Lamb as it had been slain,” (p. 52, ).
Meekness is not a natural temperament. She is spirit endowed work of the Spirit.
2. Whatever-works-for-you relativism. Meekness is open to reason and objective truth.
John Piper says true meekness is teachable and open to reason. He describes conversations where two people express different opinions, giving the impression of being so self-effacing by saying, “It’s just my opinion,” and “Let’s not argue about it.” Live and let live.
Too often we think this is the spirit of meekness. Two people making no claim on the other person’s opinion, refusing to submit their own opinion to an independent standard of truth, unwilling to make themselves vulnerable to the claims of truth and the possible need to admit error—that is not the spirit of meekness, no matter how soft-spoken or self-effacing it looks on the outside. It is not self-effacing. It is self-protecting and truth effacing. What could be more serviceable to the spirit of pride than the view that neither you nor I have to give an account of our opinions before any standard but our own private selves?
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount wrote,
The meek man is one who may so believe in standing for the truth that he will die for it if necessary. The martyrs were meek, but they were never weak; strong men, yet meek men (p. 68).
Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is supernatural strength.
What does meekness look like? See it in active in:
David, saying as he fled Jerusalem and Absalom, “Let [the LORD] do to me as seems good to him,”
Job, trusting, “God knows the way I take; when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Moses patiently bearing Aaron and Miriam’s complaints against him.
Mary’s “May it be to me according to your word, O Lord.”
Nehemiah, who “was very angry with his countrymen,” but”consulted with himself,” before uttering a word to them, and in
Stephan, who in the midst of a shower of stones, submitting and praying for his persecutors. (Acts 6:15).
Meekness reminds us that He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he who rules his spirit than he that takes a city, and that the meek shall inherit the earth.
And this evening when I decade old disappointment got me in the gut again, I heard her whisper quiet, “He doeth all things well.”