It is like the Rocky movies. Twelve rounds, winner take all, the arrogant, brutish slugger up against the over-matched but hopeful challenger. The first nine rounds are somewhat typical in that the amateur rival is getting the snot beat out of him by the champ, along with a good deal of blood. However, this match is different. The challenger does not even throw a punch. He is continually knocked down, gets back up, staggers but stays in the fight. Finally, it is round twelve. This is where it all changes, right? Nope. The champ batters and bloodies his opponent to the last bell. The challenger never threw a punch. The judge renders the decision. The challenger wins! What? How can that be? Well, you see, he did not throw a punch, because he did not have to. This isn’t boxing. This is a picture of the Christian life – triumphant meekness. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
Meekness is not a natural trait. It is not timidity or shyness, nor is it weakness or cowardice. On the contrary, it is developed through discipline. We only observe meekness in someone who has power. The meek person constrains his power and restrains his passions. So where you encounter the meek person, you find gentleness, graciousness, patience, forgiveness, attentiveness, teachableness, courtesy, deference, and submission to authority.
It is not reckless self-neglect that produces Christian meekness. On the contrary, believers are very concerned about their own welfare. That is what drew them to Jesus. They came to him in poverty of spirit (Matt. 5:3) and mourning over their sin (Matt. 5:4) and found comfort and refuge in the meek Savior. Consequently, the meek disciple does not need to fight, manipulate, or promote himself. He is secure in Christ who cares for him.
Meekness Triumphant in Christ
Furthermore, not only does the meekness of Christ draws us to him, but Jesus entreats us to learn it from him. “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29). We see his meekness in the healing touch of the leper (Matt. 8:3), in his welcome of children (Matt. 9:13-15), and in his compassion for the “harassed and helpless” (Matt. 9:36). We see it in the garden of Gethsemane where he took the dreadful cup in loving submission to his Father and for the sake of unworthy sinners (Matt. 26:39; Rom. 5:6-8; Heb. 5:7-8). We see meekness in his crucifixion where “when he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet. 2:23).
Therefore, when the apostle Paul wanted the Philippians believers to look out for the interest of others, he pointed them to Christ who triumphed through his humility, service, and submissive obedience “to the point of death, even death on the cross” (Phil. 2:8). When the apostle pleaded with the obstinate Corinthian church to humbly receive correction, he implored them “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1). Also, he exhorts the Colossians, in keeping with their new nature, “risen with Christ” and “being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator,” to put on meekness (Col. 3:10-12). After having exhorted believers to honor Christ by being prepared to defend their faith, Peter added, “yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15).
Meekness Triumphant in Glory
Thus, meekness is Christlikeness. It is not merely a pathway to glory, meekness is an essential element of glory. Unlike the previous beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn…” (Matt. 5:4), there is no indication that this characteristic of meekness will be removed or diminished in eternity. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). On the new earth, those who once mourned will never mourn again. Yet, the meek will remain meek, and only they will populate the heavenly earth from pole to pole. The image of the meek, triumphant Christ will be stamped indelibly upon every saint in glory.
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