Fruit: Meekness

Meekness: Being a loser for Christ

Take your Bible’s with me and turn again to Galatians 5. Galatians 5. Two weeks ago, when I preached I said I was going to preach another message on Faith. Another aspect of faith - faithfulness. But I studied some more and I don’t think that is the right meaning there. So I’m going to move on this morning to another word, another fruit of the spirit, “Meekness.”

Verse 23 says:

”Meekness, temperance against such there is no law.”

So we’ve already done love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith and today I’m moving on to meekness.

And right away - I have a problem. What in the world is meekness? People talk about love and joy and peace, we know what gentleness and goodness are. But no one talks about meekness.

In fact, the only time you ever hear anyone use the word “Meek” outside of a sermon is as an insult. When someone is just a coward and who can’t get out of their own shell and can’t assert themselves at all. We say deridingly “Well, they are meek.”

So what do you do when you are studying the Bible and you don’t know the meaning of a word? You do a word study. You look up all the times that word is used in the Bible and you try to make some sense of it that way.

So I’ll tell you - the word that is translated “meekness” for us here is found only 9 times in the whole Bible. The only person who ever used the word in the Bible is Paul. It comes from the word “meek” of course and it’s only found a few more times in the Bible:

  • Jesus called himself meek. He said “I am meek and lowly.”
  • Jesus said “blessed are the meek” in the beatitudes in Matthew 5.
  • Jesus described his triumphal entry into Jerusalem as Him being “meek, sitting upon an ass.”
  • and in the Book of 1 Peter, it says that women are to adorn themselves with “a meek and quiet spirit.”

But really - I mean really - there isn’t a lot in these verses to tell us what this word “meekness” means. It means “gentle” but it means more than “gentle” because over and over again we see both words in the same verse. It means the opposite of harsh.

We see that here: I’ve already preached on “gentle” as one of the fruits of the spirit. So Paul and the Holy Spirit aren’t stuttering here. Meekness has to mean something else.

So I looked up the definition of this word: Strongs Dictionary says it means:

gentleness, by implication, humility:—meekness.

The old Websters dictionary says meekness means:

Softness of temper; mildness; gentleness; forbearance under injuries and provocations.

And then goes on to give a religious definition:

humility; resignation; submission to the divine will, without murmuring or peevishness; opposed to pride, arrogance and refractoriness.

So what does it mean? I’ve thought and I’ve thought on this and I want to give you a really simple, and I think biblical definition of meekness and then I want to talk about this in practice. Are you ready for the definition?

Meekness is letting self lose so God and others can win.

So let’s break that down.

You see, meekness is all about the absence of self from the equation. I think the easiest way for us to understand meekness is when it isn’t there.

Considers some of these things which are sure signs that meekness is missing:

Pride. You cannot be proud and arrogant, and meek at the same time. You cannot be the type that is all about your ego and meek at the same time. They just don’t go together.

Stubbornness is another opposite of meekness. Sometimes we say to ourselves “Well, I’m not doing that.” “No way.” Most of the time this happens when some person in authority, whether its a bureaucrat or a teacher, or church leadership or your parents. Whatever. When some person God has placed over you in authority asks you to do something that annoys you and you say “No way.” And you throw up your stubbornness.

Murmuring is another opposite of meekness. When you are whining and grousing about something, that’s an opposite of meekness. Remember, the children of Israel were judged by God just for murmuring. Philippians 2:14 says:

”Do all things without murmurings and disputings”

When we complain, what we are saying is “I’m too good for this. I deserve better than this.” That’s not meekness.

But I really think the ultimate opposite - the most clear opposite of meekness is self-assertiveness. It’s injecting ourselves into everything. It’s demanding our way. It’s demanding our due. It’s demanding our rights.

And I have to tell you - listen - our culture celebrates this to a certain extent. How many times have you heard “You have to put yourself out there” or “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” You can go to a psychologist and get “assertiveness” training.

You have political figures, on both the right and the left, who go around DEMANDING their rights and their due.

And I want to show you a clear biblical contrast to this. Ok, so go with me to Matthew 5:38-42. Let’s read this:

”[Mat 5:38-42 KJV] 38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”

This teaching of Jesus is in the sermon on the mount and it’s radical. I mean, once you understand this teaching it seems absolutely impossible. We’ve sort of boiled this down into some trite sayings: “Turn the other cheek” and “Go the second mile” but let me remind you that isn’t what Jesus intended here. He was talking to real people and giving them real commands.

If a man hits you - don’t defend yourself - give him the other cheek.

Do you know what that takes? It takes a radical removal of self. You are giving up self-protection here.

When a man sues you and tries to take away your coat. I mean they are coming after what is rightfully yours. For you to not only give but to give more. That’s to give up your right to your property. That’s to remove self.

When a man asks to borrow from you and you give to them blindly. That’s not good financial advice. Whenever you lend anyone anything there is a good chance you aren’t getting it back. It’s giving up your property again.

But the biggest one and the clearest one is the verse that says “If a man compel thee to go with him a mile, go with him twain.” You know the background of this. Jewish citizens could by law be compelled by any Roman soldier to carry their pack for a mile. It didn’t matter how important they were or what they were doing. They had to stop what they were doing and carry this filthy roman soldiers pack. But they only had to go a mile. The soldier had no right to ask him to go any more.

So when Jesus said “go with him twain” What Jesus was saying was give up your self-rights. Law your self-protection, your self-property, your self-rights on the table. Give them up.

And right now, do you know what you are thinking, you are thinking “no way.” No way am I doing that. How could I possibly do that. If I don’t look out for number 1 who is going to?

And that’s just it. You see - meekness is something the Holy Spirit has to do. No one is naturally meek. Some people are naturally not-assertive. Some people are naturally weak. But no one naturally can take themselves out of the picture like this. It takes the Holy Spirit to empower us and change us to get here.

Let me give you that definition of meekness again:

Meekness is letting self lose so God and others can win.

There are two great examples of meekness given in the Bible: Moses and Jesus.

Numbers 12:3 says

”(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)”

Moses was meek. But he wasn’t weak. Moses had the ability to get angry for a cause he just wouldn’t get angry for himself. I mean, you saw Moses get angry when he came down from the mount with the tablets. He got so angry he smashed them to pieces then made the children of Israel drink it. I mean, that’s next level anger right there. But he wasn’t mad because Moses got snubbed, he was mad because God was being snubbed. He wasn’t just mad at the children of Israel, he was mad for the children of Israel.

You see a totally different Moses when people are mocking him or attacking him. He refuses to defend himself and even prays for those who go after him. That’s meekness.

The other great example of meekness is Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29

”Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Jesus referred to himself as meek several times in the scriptures. But Jesus also made a whip and drove out the money changers. Jesus also stood up to the Pharisees and told them the truth. He told them they were blind guides and whited sepulchers and vipers.

Jesus wasn’t weak. He just took himself out of the picture. He didn’t get angry about himself. He didn’t assert himself. He didn’t demand his rights. When he was on trial all of these people were mocking him and spitting at him and lying about him and even torturing him and Jesus could have stood up for himself, but he took himself out of it.

So meekness is letting ourselves lose so God and others can win. It is the character of dying to self. Pride inserts me into every situation. Meekness takes me out of every situation.

Now, lets take a few minutes and let’s get real. Let’s get where we live. How can we see this meekness in our own life?

How about in your marriage?

How many times do you say “She isn’t doing right by me.” “She isn’t meeting my needs.” or “He doesn’t treat me like the princess that I am.”

You see it, it’s the “me” there. It’s demanding our rights. What’s the opposite of that? It’s praying “God, help me to serve my wife. Help me to selflessly serve my husband.”

Meekness says:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Ephesians 5:25)


Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)

What about in the work place?

You might catch yourself saying “This boss doesn’t treat me right.” “This boss doesn’t realize how valuable I am to this company.” Again, it’s the me again.

Whereas meekness says:

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: (Col. 3:22)

What about in church?

Do you ever catch yourself saying “they want me to do that again?” Or “The pastor is asking me to do that”. Or “Nursery again, I’ve already done it once this month.” Or “I’m not getting the recognition I deserve, I should be a deacon. I should be the one leading singing.”

You know where this is going don’t you? Ephesians 4:2 says this should be our attitude towards church:

”With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;” (Ephesians 4:2)

Now we can take this and we can apply to every area of our life.