Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” — Matthew 5:5
According to Webster, meek is defined as “not violent or strong; deficient in spirit and courage.” The Greek translation defines it as mild and gentle. So perhaps this beatitude—the third one in Matthew 5—is the most misunderstood of all because we don’t live in a world that seems to value meekness. Think about it: The last time you went in for a job interview and you were asked, “What is your greatest strength?”, did you respond by saying, “I’m really meek”? More than likely, you didn’t.
Meekness, though, is a great quality to have in our lives if we truly understand what Jesus is saying. It’s a characteristic we must develop in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23, KJV). Because meekness doesn’t mean weakness, being timid or afraid to stand up yourself. It’s about strength under control. Power under control. Strength through discipline. Jesus is the ultimate example of this. He was lowly and gentle (Matt. 11:28-30) but He certainly wasn’t weak. He wasn’t a pushover. But Jesus took all of His strength and put it under the control of His Father—“not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39).
A meek person says to God, “I now entrust my life to You. Take over the rule and authority of my life.” Why? Because God has the ability to take our talents and ambitions to help us reach our full potential of who we can be in the kingdom of God. But if you’re a strong-willed, independent person, this may be an unpopular beatitude for you. You like being in charge of your life. You think you know what’s best. Do what Paul did: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Jesus closes Matt. 5:5 with a promise: “For they shall inherit the earth.” The same phrase is found in Psalm 37:11. Bottom line: We’ll receive every blessing found in Christ. He doesn’t mean we’ll be handed a deed to a piece of property, or we’ll literally inherit ground on this earth. The earth will be burned up (II Pet. 3:10). When we submit to the will of God, we inherit a deep, rich relationship in this life with God. He gives us the best in this life and the best in the life to come—eternal life.
— Steven Matthews