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Meekness – One of the Most Misunderstood Words in Scripture

meeknessMeekness in scripture is a virtue that the Christian is commanded to seek after. In my early years as a Christian, I equated the word “meek” with weak.

If you look up the word meek in Webster’s Dictionary you will find descriptors such as: enduring injury with patience and without resentment, deficient in spirit and courage, not violent or strong.

A lot of people see the followers of Christ as easily imposed upon, spineless, spiritless and deficient in courage. No wonder our witnessing for Christ is so difficult. Who would want to jump on the “meekness bandwagon” when we portray that kind of image to the world.

Other definitions such as in the Free Dictionary describe meek as showing patience and humility. Gentile, easily imposed upon, submissive. Spineless or spiritless, compliant, docile and overly submissive.

Hearing and reading the descriptions above of what it means to be meek, combined with paintings of what Jesus is supposed to look like kept me away from God and away from the church for years.

Even after giving my life over to God by accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior I had a problem seeing Jesus as a spineless, docile, overly submissive man who was deficient in courage.

I don’t know where it came from, but from the time I became a Christian, the image I had of Jesus was that of a man’s man. In my mind He was strong and bold as a lion. He was fearless. Jesus was my Superhero. My Jesus was Thor, Ironman and Superman all rolled into one.

Nobody wants to follow a wimp

Let’s face it, nobody wants to be walked on. Nobody wants to be a wimp. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of or seen as “spineless or easily imposed upon” as the English description of the word meek gives us.

Yet at face value, that’s what a lot of people see the followers of Christ as. Easily imposed upon, spineless, spiritless and deficient in courage. No wonder our witnessing for Christ is so difficult. Who would want to jump on the “meekness bandwagon” when we portray that kind of image to the world.

However, if we look up the definition of the word meek in Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words the words meek and meekness take on a whole different meaning.

Meek in the Greek language is the word prautes – (prah-oo-tace) and carries a fuller, deeper significance than non-scriptural Greek writings. Vines goes on to say that meekness consists not only in a person’s outward behavior or in how we relate to others, but deals first and foremost with our relationship and dealings with God.

Meekness is the temper of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and therefore interact with Him without disputing or resisting Him. A meek person does not fight against, struggle or contend with God, but receives with “meekness” the Word, which is able to save our souls (James 1:21).

Vines also points out that there is no exact translation of the word prautes from Greek into English. The words we commonly translate into meek or meekness suggest weakness to a greater or lesser degree, but weakness is not found in the word prautes. Meekness manifested by Jesus was the fruit of power. The revelation of what true meekness means has set me free on so many different levels.

Show the World true Meekness

If you’ve struggled with what you thought it meant to be meek, I encourage you today to develop a new vision of yourself, of Jesus and of the Church as a whole. We are not conquerors in this life. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Our role as the Body of Christ is to relate to God with meekness. Be open to correction. Be quick to repent. Be willing to accept instruction, then take the Gospel message and show the world the correct image of who our loving God is and what true meekness is.

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