Meekness is the grace of mind, heart and will that is mild submissiveness. It is mild in thought, motive, word and act, and in the same ways it is submissive. Jesus referred to Himself as “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11: 29), and is the classic example of meekness among men. By “lowly in heart,” Jesus was referring to His humility, and though similar to meekness, it is a different character grace.
The Elements of Meekness
Meekness has three elements: teachableness, mildness and leadableness:
(1.) The meek person exercises teachableness. He recognizes his lacks as to knowledge and is willing to be taught, unlike the heady person who will take instruction from nobody. Jesus and His disciples are good examples of teachableness. Jesus acknowledged that He got His knowledge from the Father (John 7: 16) (John 14: 24). God is pleased to make known His Plan in all its details to the meek (Psalm 25: 9) (Matthew 11: 25, 26), but He withholds it from the heady.
(2.) Mildness fills the heart with grace and the mind with mild thoughts. From the interior this mildness goes out into words which are tender, sympathetic and gentle, and the acts show similar mildness. Even the eyes, gestures and intonations of the voice display mildness. Jesus was surely mild, for if He were not so, the children would not have thronged Him, when their mothers brought them to Him for His blessing; nor would the women of Jerusalem have wept over Him when He was condemned to die.
(3.) Leadableness has to do mainly with the will. It makes the meek person easy to be led in the ways of truth, righteousness and holiness; but not easily led into error, sin and unholiness. This is the spirit that acts out of the meekness of wisdom (James 3: 13), for it receives with meekness the engrafted word (James 1: 21).
The opposite of meekness is rough insubordination, rebelliousness, headiness and stubbornness. Some examples include: an insubordinate child who adds roughness to its rebelliousness; pupils in rough, open rebellion against their teachers; soldiers revolting against their officers; citizens revolutionizing against their rulers; and rioting workers defying their employers.
Scriptural Promises to the Meek
Let us quote some Scripture passages on the promises that apply to the meek:
Psalm 22: 26: “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.”
Psalm 37: 11: “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Psalm 147: 6: “The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.”
Psalm 149: 4: “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.”
Isaiah 29: 19: “The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”
Zephaniah 2: 3: “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.”
Matthew 5: 5: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
Biblical Examples of Meekness
The following are some Bible examples of meekness:
Abraham toward Lot (Genesis 13: 8-12); Isaac toward the Philistine herdsmen (Genesis 26: 18-23); Gideon with the complaining Ephraimites (Judges 8: 2, 3); Hannah (1 Samuel 1: 13-16); Saul (1 Samuel 10: 27); David (2 Samuel 16: 9-14); the Apostle Paul (Acts 21: 21-26); and our prehuman Lord toward Satan (Jude 9).
Moses is referred to as the meekest man in all the earth (Numbers 12: 3), beautifully picturing our Lord Jesus and His Church. If Moses had been proud and arrogant he would have been unfit for the duties and responsibilities which fell upon his shoulders as the leader of his people out of Egypt to the borders of Caanan.
We have already cited examples of Jesus’ meekness, but some others include: (Isaiah 42: 1-4), compare (Matthew 12: 19, 20); (Isaiah 53: 7), (Matthew 26: 47-54) and (Matthew 26: 62, 63).
Meekness, like godliness, of which meekness is a part, “is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4: 8).