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Mar 13 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

March 13, 2022



Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness . . . . Colossians 3:12

Intro: The first detail to notice, is where we find meekness on list

Meekness is hiding behind humility
– we wonder, was it even necessary to include meekness in addition to humility?
• if we were to be honest, we don’t take meekness seriously
◦ it is a virtue no one wants – like patience or submission
• we read that Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek”
◦ but it doesn’t leave a strong impression on us
◦ it is not as compelling as poor in spirit or mourn
– meek doesn’t draw attention to itself – doesn’t make headlines
• no one asks meek for the next dance
• we want to be the opposite of meek
◦ we’re convinced that “You don’t get anywhere if you let people walk all over you”

Our negative impression of meek is not far from the Old Testament idea

Hebrew, anav: to see oneself in a inferior position or condition
– it was the status of the poor, or servants, or the “afflicted” (physically, mentally, or socially)
• we need to remember, Israel’s pride never failed to produce disaster
◦ what we read regarding King Uzziah is a recurring theme:
But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction (2 Chr. 26:16)
◦ humbling itself was Israel’s was path to restoration
But I will leave in your midst
a people humble and lowly.
They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD (Zeph. 3:12)
• at the same time, God had a special concern for the poor and oppressed
◦ the weak and helpless, such as widows, orphans, and foreigners
– in the Psalms, God grants the poor and lowly special favor
• so the psalmists confess their desperate and depressed situations
◦ they find comfort in poverty and affliction — they knew one day they would be rewarded,
◦ and so learned to live in humble dependence on God
• accepting their lowly circumstances, they found God’s good-pleasure
◦ their attitude has been described as “Triumphant waiting on God”
◦ so it is a tribute to Moses that
Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on face of the earth (Nu. 12:3)

We can certainly learn from the Hebrew Scriptures:
– that regardless of our circumstances, we must put our full trust in God

When we come to the New Testament, meekness takes on a different character

The Greek word suggests something more than a disposition
– it includes the effect a person has on others
• the meek person has a calming, soothing influence
◦ meek could be used in regard to taming animals
◦ the meek was a good-natured person
• meek was a “gentle friendliness” – the opposite of
◦ “roughness, bad temper, sudden anger, or brusqueness” (TDNT)
◦ it softened the edge of sound teaching and correcting others
The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness [meekness] (2 Tim. 2:24-25)
– according to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,
• in Greek culture meekness was
“a mark of the high-minded and noble, of the cultured, and therefore of the wise, who remains calm even in the face of abuse; Socrates is a model here.”
• the only Gospel that uses this word is Matthew, where it appears three times:
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Mt. 5:5)
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart (Mt. 11:29)
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey . . .” (Mt. 21:5)
TDNT, “with the help of the fulfilled prophecy of Zech. 9:9, the entry of Jesus is depicted as that of a non-violent, non-warlike king of salvation and peace.”

You see, this is a different idea from the current definition of meekness

We think of it as a character quality that is empty – a lack of something
– having no will, no confidence, no fire
• we think meek is static rather than dynamic, idle rather than active
◦ to us, the meek person is almost a non-being, an “extra” on the set of life
◦ present, but easily ignored, overlooked
• the meek person stands down, stands aside, disappears
– for us, meekness doesn’t cut it – meekness looks cowardly
• human nature does not find gentleness compelling
• “gentle warnings” do not inspire compliance

In trying to address this wrong impression, preachers have told us,
– meekness is “power held in check” or “controlled strength”
• in other words, we know that compared to others,
◦ we’re stronger, wiser, better, but we hide it
◦ we act like we are less than what we are in truth
• I think those attempts to rehabilitate meekness miss the point
– meekness is a positive quality
• it isn’t a skill or act, but a character trait
• the meek person epitomizes a peaceful life
◦ they are unflappable, content, free-spirited,
◦ confident of God’s love and care

Our aggressive society sees meekness as a kind of cowardice

But if Jesus was meek, then he gives the word its true definition
– his story is one of strength, of bold claims, and obvious authority
• his enemies perceived him as a serious threat
◦ his followers perceived him as a provider and protector
• we never see him back down, hide in a corner, or run from danger
– Jesus was loving and kind, yes!
• but his love was strong and uncompromising
• Jesus’ life was rigorous and hard,
◦ but his touch was gentle

To be meek is no more or less than having Jesus for our example

Henri Nouwen tells a story about Trevor, a mentally challenged patient he cared for at Daybreak. During a time when Trevor was hospitalized for evaluation, Nouwen asked the hospital chaplain if he could visit him. The chaplain gave Nouwen permission and asked if it would be alright to host a lunch with him with invited guests–local ministers, priests, and hospital staff. Nouwen agreed, and when he entered the cafeteria, the first thing he did was look for Trevor. When he could not find him, the chaplain explained that the staff and patients never ate together and patients were never allowed inside the staff cafeteria. Nouwen said he would not stay for lunch unless Trevor could be there.

So it was that Trevor was sitting next to Nouwen as everyone settled into their places, engaging in small talk. Trevor asked Nouwen to bring him a coke, which he did and soon returned with Trevor’s coke and a glass of wine for himself.
Suddenly, Trevor was on his feet and with a loud voice announced, “Ladies and gentlemen . . . a toast!” Immediately there were anxious looks around the tables. I will let Nouwen tell you what happened next in his own words.

“But Trevor had no worries. He looked at everybody and said: ‘Lift up your glasses.’ Everyone obeyed. And then, as if it were the most obvious thing to do, he started to sing: ‘When you’re happy and you know it . . . lift your glass. When you’re happy and you know it . . . lift your glass. When you’re happy and you know it, when you’re happy and you know it, when you’re happy and you know it . . . lift your glass.’ As he sang, people’s faces relaxed and started to smile. Soon a few joined Trevor in his song, and not long after everyone was standing, singing loudly under Trevor’s direction.”
“Many people feel cursed—cursed by God with illnesses, handicaps, and misfortunes. They believe their cup doesn’t carry any blessings.”
“Trevor did what nobody else could have done. He transformed a group of strangers into a community of love by his simple, unself-conscious blessing. He, a meek man, became the living Christ among us. The cup of blessing is the cup the meek have to offer us.”

Conclusion: In spiritual formation, we learn about “the disciplines”

Specific rituals and behavior we practice regularly to promote our transformation
– the virtues are spiritual disciplines
Nouwen, “The are disciplines because we do not practice them spontaneously.”
• meekness does not come to us naturally
– practicing the virtues is all about us becoming different that we were
• the new self is a better person than the old self
◦ the actions of the old self are programmed and automatic
◦ even when we did not want to keep repeating the old patterns,
we stuck to the low path – trapped by our default settings
• but the new self is ready for this virtue list
◦ because Jesus shares with us his resurrection life
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. . . . having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God who raised him from the dead. (Col. 2:6-7, 9-10, 12)
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (Ro. 6:4)

The virtues are not a new set of rules;
they are standard features that come with these new models,
empowered by the Spirit of God


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  1. pstrmike / Mar 14 2022

    This was a challenging message, both in content and to a much lesser degree in hermeneutic. I just happened to stumble upon it on fb so I listened. Thanks for posting your message.

  2. Chuck Smith, Jr. / Mar 14 2022

    You’re welcome, Pstrmike! 🙂

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