“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear”
“With” – in company with. When asked about your hope, you answer in company with the two attitudes of “meekness” and “fear.”
Trench, a Greek scholar, renders “meekness” as inwrought grace exercised chiefly towards God. This person carries a temper that accepts all God’s dealings with us as good. He endures anything that may come his way because he accepts adverse circumstances as from God. He does not fight God on any issue.
Meekness is not weakness but unselfishness. There is a big difference between weakness and selflessness. A meek person is a powerful person. Moses was a strong leader but, at the same time, bore meekness in his soul. He did not have the attitude of haughty self-sufficiency.
Neither does meekness mean self-effacement. Meekness means that we have no illusions about ourselves. We think in terms of inwrought grace. Everything that we have and are is from God’s grace. We deserve nothing from God. Everything is a gift from God. Neither do we deal with God or others on a merit system.
Jesus called Himself “meek” (Matthew 11:28, 29). His mission was to do the Father’s will. Jesus was meek because He understood that He had all the infinite resources of God at his call.
“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).
God wants us to witness with the attitude of in-wrought grace.
If I have received grace from God, I should communicate with grace to others. Meekness has to do with treating others with a grace attitude. A grace attitude is a recognition that everything that I have, I have from God.
Christians should not look down their self-righteous noses at non-Christians. We Christians are sinful as well. We should not view ourselves as experientially better than non-Christians but only recipients of God’s grace. We need to extend the same grace to them that God does toward us.
We are no better than those without Christ. We need to remember what we were. We give our testimony in the spirit of what we were. We share with them our personal struggle. We put ourselves in their place.
We cannot win people with arrogance. An overbearing attitude may win an argument, but it will not persuade non-Christians of the reality of Christianity. A grace attitude will disarm those we wish to influence for Christ.
Do you witness with the attitude that people must be a fool if they do not accept Christ? Do you try to ram your belief down their throats? Is your approach to evangelism a bludgeoning method? The case for Christianity must come by the attitude of “meekness.”
A meek person does not try to make deals with God. He views himself as having no merit before God. He operates on inwrought grace exercised chiefly toward God, so he does not resist God’s sovereign actions on his soul. He does not fight God’s will. Everything that he has, he has from God.
When Shimei cursed David and flung stones at him, David accepted that action from God, not from Shimei (2 Samuel 16:11). David recognized that this action as an action of God’s justice.
A meek orientation does not mean that we have no regard for ourselves but that we do not assert ourselves for our own sake. This is the opposite of pride. When we completely commit personal vengeance to God’s justice, we depend on God. This not to say that we cannot stand up for ourselves, but it does mean that we do not assert our rights for our own sake independently of God.
When a “meek” person accepts God’s dealings with us as just and right, this is grace shaped into his soul. He recognizes God’s dealings in his life and accepts those dealings as God’s perfect will. This is the polar opposite of self-assertiveness. This is a person who does not live for self-interest but for others. He has a sense of equanimity toward others.
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering…” (Colossians 3:12 ).
God does not take delight in weakness. Meekness is not weakness. God does not want us to come to Him with our tales between our legs like a whipped dog. God does not take delight in dispensing His grace to whipped dogs that wag their tales out of fear. He does not hold a feeble character in high value.
Some people, by nature, are more mild-mannered than others. This is not meekness. A good disposition comes from our heritage, not our character. This would mean that a person who has coarse character could not develop meekness in the power of the Spirit. Moses was meek, not because he was that way by nature. He killed an Egyptian in a rage. A meek person is someone whom God orients to a blessed life (Matthew 11:28). Jesus does not say, “Blessed are those who have the greatest success in life” or “Blessed are the gifted and clever,” but “Blessed are the meek.”
Meekness is the state whereby a person enjoys who and what God is. We cannot acquire meekness by following some overt behavior pattern. Meekness comes from God, who works within us. We cannot have this apart from God. When we have it, we operate independently from external influences on our souls, for we enjoy God regardless of circumstance. We cannot make God blessed, but He can make us blessed.
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).