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"But the fruit of the Spirit is...meekness..." (Gal. 5:22-23).

The biblical definition of the word "meekness" has often been misunderstood by believers as well as non-believers. Everybody knows that Jesus was meek, and they usually associate meekness with His ability to suffer abuse without resorting to any form of retaliation.

Meekness, however, has a three-part definition that includes much more than just this one aspect of non-retaliation.

A person who is meek is:
  1. Self-controlled or slow to give or take offense
  2. Humble in spirit and lowly in mind
  3. Teachable
All three of these attributes go to make up the fruit of meekness in the life of a believer.

The first function of the fruit of meekness is to enable believers to develop self-control—to be slow to give or take offense:
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
(1 Peter 2:19-20)
Many believers today consider themselves meek if they do not take offense when they are reprimanded for their wrong actions. It is not an opportunity for exhibiting meekness, however, when a person who is at fault suffers the consequences of his own mistakes or misdeeds.

Meekness is displayed when a person does not take offense when he suffers for being in the right.

A truly meek person possesses the self-control not to react negatively even when he is being falsely accused, slandered, afflicted or persecuted. The strength to exercise self-control while suffering injustice comes from cultivating the fruit of meekness.

A good example of one whose life gave evidence of meekness was Moses:
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

And they said, hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it. (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.

And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed. And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and behold, she was leprous.

And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.

Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb. And Moses cried unto the Lord saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.
(Num. 12:1-13)
As a result of his marriage to an Ethiopian, (and because of their jealousy), Moses' own brother and sister leveled unjust and slanderous attacks against his character.

In essence, they were questioning his fitness to fulfill the role of spiritual authority over the children of Israel. Because Moses was unwilling to defend himself, God came to his defense. Miriam became leprous.

Although he had been hesitant to speak up in his own defense, Moses agreed to intercede with God for Miriam and Aaron, though their offense was as much against him as against the Lord.

It was significantly interjected in verse 3 of this passage that Moses was the meekest man of his day. The fact that he did not speak up until verse 13—and then only on behalf of his accusers—is a characteristic sign of his meek nature.

It was this meekness that enabled him to remain silent while the Lord rebuked his persecutors and vindicated him before their very eyes.

If this incident were to take place today, how many believers would honestly be able to contain themselves from adding to the Lord's rebuke: "And, Lord, that's not all. You should have seen what they did to me yesterday; that would really have made You mad!"

Moses, however, possessed so much meekness that he did not utter a single word; that is, until his accusers had been punished by God. Then and only then did he speak up, crying out to God, not to defend him against his persecutors, but rather to plead on their behalf.

Meekness gave Moses the strength not to retaliate when he was falsely accused. It gave him the self-control to refrain from self-defense and to allow the Lord to vindicate him.

It is God's desire that believers today not return evil for evil, but rather to turn occasions for offense into opportunities for intercession.

This loving transformation can only be accomplished through a meek and controlled heart.

Source: A Call For Character by Greg Zoschak
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Greg Zoschak
Web site: Greg Zoschak
Greg Zoschak's lifelong ambition was to become a professional football player, and became born again through the influence of his high school coach. Years later, Greg began to feel a call to the ministry, but football kept tugging at him as well. A motorcycle accident later on forced him to discontinue his pursuit of football; at that time, his ambitions began to change and pull him toward God.

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