Meekness – Controlled Power
Today I read the following devotion from Deborah Roberts at Redeemer University College and share it with you. It gave me a better perspective on what it means to be meek.
“… pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness …” (1 Tim. 6:11)
We have come to the final attribute on this list—gentleness. The problem with our understanding of this word is that our current definitions don’t accurately describe what the biblical writers meant. Misters Miriam and Webster describe gentleness as “amiable, kind, docile, soft or delicate.” The biblical synonym meekness has the modern definition of “deficient in spirit or courage.”
The Apostle Paul uses the Greek word translated into English as gentleness/meekness more than any other New Testament writer. Paul is not a character one thinks of as docile or delicate. There was fierceness in his character, whether it was in trying to destroy the growing church or in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why his use of this word is so instructive.
Imagine a wild horse or a young colt with amazing power and strength. The term horsepower came from experiments on horses and their ability to pull loads to a certain distance in a certain amount of time. Wild horses and colts couldn’t do that until they are “broke” – until their power is controlled. That is what gentleness/meekness means. It is power under control.
This word often shows up in lists like the one above and in the description of the fruit of the Spirit. James connects it directly as a fruit of wisdom. Peter reminds us that when we enter into conversation about our faith with those who don’t believe as we do that it is done gently, with controlled power.
We may think of a horse running wild as freedom but there is something very dangerous about it. You don’t want to get too close because it can do serious harm. There are all kinds of ways we can exert power but unbridled power is dangerous. Power, under the control of the Holy Spirit, demonstrates the life of Jesus, the life that he willing gave up so that others could live. This is the greatest demonstration of power under control.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
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