Humility & Meekness
With notes from Apostle Andre Pelser, recent edits by Apostle Aje Pelser
Preached at Harvester Reformational Church, Cape Town, January 2018
Meditations on Meekness and Humility that helps us be more like Jesus.
1. Meditation Emphasis
The only two qualities that Jesus ever suggested that his disciples should learn from him were humility and meekness. He never told them that they should learn how to preach or how to pray or even how to heal the sick! Why are these two qualities so important to life?
Well, Jesus knew that without humility and meekness the task that lay ahead for the 12 would be too great. They were unknown fishermen, tax-collectors and zealots, a motley crew, but their names would become household names for the next 2 000 years! Even today the most popular names in the world are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John! The weight of their fame and the trials of faith they had to undergo required humility and meekness in their character.
2. Meditation on Contemporary thought
The Oxford Dictionary definitions of these qualities are inaccurate if weighed by the meaning the Greek concepts in the bible of these two words.
Humble: (Oxford) having or showing low estimate of one’s own importance, lowly, modest, of small pretensions. To make humble, abase, (Latin humus: ground) to eat humble pie means to be humiliated.
Meek: (Oxford) submissive, tame-spirited
3. Bible Dictionary Meditations
Vine’s Greek Expository Dictionary
Humble: tapeinos signifying low-lying. It is used always in a good sense in the New Testament to denote of low degree, brought low, literally of mountains and hills, abase. Matthew 11:29 it is used in the sense of being humble in spirit. Acts 20:19 talks about humility of mind (tapeinophrosunê).
Act 20:19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
Humility of Mind from Acts 20:19
1) the having a humble opinion of one’s self
2) a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness
3) modesty, humility, lowliness of mind
Part of Speech: noun feminine
“Meek: Praos denotes gentle, mild, and meek. It consists not in a person’s outward behaviour only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men; as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather it is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of Spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with the word humility. It is only the humble heart that can be meek and does not struggle and contend with Him. Meekness in the face of vile men allows insults and injuries which they may inflict as being permitted and employed by God for the chastening and purifying of His elect. It is associated with self-control.
The English language uses the word, meekness, to express weakness and pusillanimity, which the original Greek meaning does not allow. Praos or 'praütês' describes a condition of heart and mind.
It must be clearly understood that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself. But the Lord was meek because he had the infinite resources of God at His command. Described negatively meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.
The apostle Paul appeals to the meekness of Christ in believers and charges them to show all meekness towards all men. In his dealings with the ignorant and erring he is to exhibit a spirit of meekness and towards those who oppose themselves he is to correct them in meekness (II Timothy 2:25) James the apostle, exhorts his beloved brethren to receive with meekness the implanted word (James 12:21). The apostle Peter says meekness is required to set forth the grounds of the Christian hope (I Peter 3:15)”
4. Apostolic Perspective Meditation
In the present Apostolic Reformation (since 1990) our knowledge and understanding regarding spiritual concepts have been enhanced and two of the words that have taken on a new dimension in meaning are ‘humility and meekness’. I would like to add the present truth regarding these otherwise vague words:
Humility is a sane estimate of one self and one’s own capabilities and talents. Pride is an over estimation of oneself and an under-estimation of other people; whereas inferiority would be just the opposite: an over-estimation of other people and an under-estimation of oneself.
Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient. But he first learnt obedience through the things He suffered.
Meditate on these sequence of scriptures to help you to develop humility through obedience:
Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
God will exalt you after you humble yourself through becoming obedient. Exaltation comes in different ways, like favour, promotion, provision and perfect timing. God gives you rewards that mean something to you. God knows the desires of your heart!
Meekness is strength under control. Picture a strong, black horse, with muscles rippling and ready to charge! But when the Master comes and saddles it, the horse stands perfectly still and is totally willing to trot, canter or gallop at the Master’s command. Although the horse can go much faster and leap over hedges, it is content to obey according to the instructions given by the rider. That is a perfect picture of meekness! There is no weakness in that.
As a result of a misrepresentation of these valuable, foundational concepts, that Jesus emphasised, but men distorted, our concept of Jesus meek and mild, forgets the great authority and strength of our Lord that even drove the businessmen out of the temple with a whip of cords woven by his own hand. He was not the sad faced, long haired Hippie as Hollywood movies try to portray him, but He was a man’s man, a carpenter, hard working man and meekness to him was not a sign of weakness but of strength, divine strength under the control of His heavenly Father. He could say with great self-control, ‘I only do what My Father shows me!’ (John 5:19)
5. Scriptural Meditation
There is another quality of meekness that should be stressed: James mentions it. We receive the engrafted Word of God through meekness. In other words, meekness becomes the channel through which we receive the Word of God. Absence of meekness therefore closes that channel through which we can receive the Word of God! If someone does not have meekness in place in his life, it becomes almost impossible to receive a Word from God!
Imagine a church full of ‘meek’ people! Imagine a family where meekness is part of their make-up! Imagine a school full of meek scholars! Imagine a business with meek employees! This is not a bunch of weaklings, but people who can take orders and do what they are told with absolute conviction and strength being displayed! This changes the picture of the traditional view of meekness altogether!
6. Historical Meditations on Meekness
It was interesting for me to note that the German dictionary (nor the Afrikaans one!) has a word for meekness. The concept of meekness is eradicated from the psyche of the German and Afrikaans nations due to a total absence of understanding what Jesus required! Could this be why Germany committed the atrocities during the Second World War towards the Jews and the Afrikaans nation showed man’s inhumanity against to man during the Apartheid era when they were in power in South Africa and brought a separation between races? See what happens where there is no meekness in place?
7. Meditations on Self-Denial
It is also amazing to realize that Jesus’ demand for humility and meekness opposes all the self-motivational courses in the business and sporting world! Political power also denies the qualities Jesus preached! No wonder the world is in such a mess! There can be no peace without the Prince of Peace, no matter how they try!
If humility and meekness can be built into the hearts and minds of all the children at school it could bring about an amazing change, not only spiritually, but in every walk of life!