Meekness and Self-Control

Now Moses was a very humble [meek] man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (v. 3).

- Numbers 12:1-15

For most people, meekness means weakness. When we think of Moses, however, we don’t think of a person who was meek, at least not in the modern sense of meekness. There was nothing weak about Moses. He exhibited extraordinary leadership and strength in the face of great difficulties and tests.

There was one man, though, who was even meeker than Moses, and that was Jesus Himself. Remember that He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble [meek and lowly] in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Yet consider how Jesus dealt with the Pharisees. There was certainly nothing weak about it. On another occasion Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). Here we see an association of meekness with leadership.

What is this meekness, that it is so powerful? One alternative translation for meekness is “gentleness.” It requires great strength to be gentle. Gentleness is the opposite of abrasiveness, and it flows from that kind of confident strength that is the opposite of arrogance. The man who is secure in his love for God does not need to intimidate but can be kind and humble in his leadership roles.

The man who is meek before God and has that inner strength that enables him to be gentle before men will not be a violent man. This quietness of spirit will enable him to be temperate. A self-controlled or temperate person is not given to binges of excess, but lives within restraints.

Thus the long-term benefit of the fruit of the Spirit is stability. Honoring God through love for Him causes us to rejoice in Christ’s victory, and that provides us with inner peace. Such peace enables us to endure hard times with patience, and this works into our personalities a spirit of kindness. As this happens, our lives become more beautiful in the sense that goodness is beautiful, and we become more faithful and trustworthy. Such trustworthy people are acquiring the meekness and temperance that indicate stability and a fitness for leadership. When God sees this kind of stability in His people, He will graciously give them positions of responsibility in society.

Coram Deo

Today’s lesson puts the fruit of the Spirit into a chain of growth and development. Read the last paragraph again, and then close the book and see if you can rehearse the logic of Galatians 5:22–23. In light of the last sentence in the lesson, why do you think so few Christians have influence in our society today?

Passages for Further Study

Matthew 11:25–30
1 Peter 2:21
2 Peter 1:1–6
1 John 2:6

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