The fruit of meekness
Come to Me, all you 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. (Matthew 11:28, 29)
There is a divine mystery in meekness and it deserves our study. Humbleness and strength are associated with each other in a very special way in the character of Christ. As we shall soon see, many people do not possess an adequate understanding of what in fact is the fruit of meekness.
The false fruit of meekness
Meekness is not a weakness of character or of conduct. A meek person is not a weak-willed person, overly influenced and unstable who gives in under the smallest pressures. A meek man is neither timid nor easily ashamed.
A meek person does not suffer from feelings of inferiority, nor does he underestimate his capabilities. A meek person does not demonstrate false modesty before others. On some occasions, he may even have the appearance of a lamb, while possessing the heart of a lion. God greatly uses those that he calls to the ministry of meekness, as we shall soon see.
The real fruit of meekness
The Greek word translated as the spiritual fruit of meekness is prautes. The New Testament uses this noun 11 times and the adjective four times. There is no word in our language that translates its complete meaning; it combines the qualities of strength, gentleness and much more.
Greek literature used the word prautes in some interesting ways. It was a term used to describe trained and domesticated animals. However, this domestication is more than a simple obedience and control, because these creatures also demonstrate a docile and loyal nature. A family guard dog is a good example. It is ferocious to strangers, yet docile and friendly to members of the family.
With respect to people, the word prautes was used to describe people who were kind and gentle in conduct but who also held positions of power and authority. In the Bible, Moses was one of these men:
Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth. (Numbers 12:3)
A perfect example of meekness in the New Testament is obviously Jesus. Paul associated himself with Jesus in the following aspect:
Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ — who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. (2 Corinthians 10:1)
They say that a man is known by the company that he keeps. The same is true with respect to words. We can find other qualities that harmonize with the term “meekness” in the words that are associated with it. As we have already seen, meekness is associated with docility and humility.
We also find the word humility in the company of words that reveal the qualities of a tranquil, stable and controlled spirit, even in the face of wrath and violence.
The fruit of the Spirit makes it possible for someone to teach, and even oppose others in a firm yet gentle way. Perhaps even more important is to be able to teach, correct and discipline others without resentment and rebellion.
To the extent that we submit to the love, the authority and the wisdom of God, we can be at peace, because we know that He is in control. No matter what we face or with whom we come up against, God will cause all things to work together for our good for His glory in Christ Jesus. Therefore, we do not have to fight for our rights with fear or wrath.
We find a good example of this in the episode where Jesus expelled the money changers in the temple. Besides defending those who had been mistreated, He also defended the honor of His Father’s house. This episode was not an isolated act of wrath committed by Jesus because he was personally offended.
We can also compare His reaction to the cruel and unjust actions committed against Him during the crucifixion as those of a lamb lead to the slaughter. Both these events demonstrate God’s power under the control of His purpose.
Meekness is principally an interior attitude of submission and trust in God. Through this source of strength, we can face the world with peace, power and purpose. We can speak and act when we must and in the way that we must or we can also remain silent and wait when this is in accordance to the will and the purpose of God.
The rotten fruit of the flesh
Such a powerful and important fruit as meekness of course will always have strong opposition of the flesh. Moreover, this is in fact the case and self-promoting, self-serving and proud people who are not open to teaching but rather prefer to argue their points of view without being open to that of others are strong examples of the manifestation of the rottenness of this fruit. People with these characteristics have a hard and difficult time submitting to authority.
When we effectively resist these people or for some reason they are not able to get what they want, they tend to become bitter and blame others. They react, fight, withdrawal and feed their wounds in self-pity. Just as the children of Israel, they murmur and complain when anything goes wrong.
It is no wonder that God chose Moses to guide His people out of Egypt. Only a very meek man would have the inner strength to overcome this type of opposition. The fruit of meekness had matured to such an extent in the life of Moses that God was able to use him when others would have failed.
Jesus said that the meek would inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). What a tremendous example Moses is for all of us. To the extent that we seek to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in our days to all people, over all the earth, meekness will make the difference between failure and success!