“If you want something, you’ve got to fight for it.” That’s the way many people think, speak and act. They want more possessions, more power, more pleasure and they are prepared to do anything to get it. They will cheat, lie, steal, bully, and even kill just to get what they want. We see this in sport, in politics, in business, in the classroom, in the yard, and even in our families. Nobody else matters. It’s ME first (and second and third), and everyone else last. The strong win, the weak lose. If you want reward and recognition you have to be aggressive, assertive, competitive.

Then Jesus steps in and turns the world’s thinking upside down. He says, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Mat.5:5). Inherit the earth? Get the whole world? What a promise! That’s a lot more than just a few extra dollars or a few more friends. I want that! But I have to be meek to get it. So what does meek mean? And how do I get it?

Meekness is not me-ness

Meekness is the opposite of me-ness. It’s putting others first, second and third, and yourself last. And it’s putting God above everyone. “But if I do that, everyone else will get everything and I’ll be left with nothing.” Well, yes, it might mean we lose out a bit in this sinful, temporary world. But Jesus’ promise means that we will inherit the perfect, eternal world. That’s where faith comes in. Everything and everyone tells us “If you want anything in this world, you’ve got to fight for it.” But Jesus says, “If you want the world, you have to give it up.” Indeed, if you do live for this world, you will ultimately lose everything.

Meekness is not weakness

So does that mean I have to be one of these weak people that everyone else just tramples on? No. Meekness is not weakness. Think of Moses. He was a strong and successful leader. However, he was described as the meekest man in the world (Num. 12:3). Think of Jesus. He did not just preach meekness, He practiced it (Matt. 11:29). Yet He was a courageous preacher, who purged the temple with a whip, and defeated all the forces of evil through His cross. Meekness is not weakness. It is strength – but not uncontrolled and abusive strength. It is strength – under control for the benefit of others. It is power – channeled to the good of others.

How do I get meekness?

You can’t buy meekness. You can’t work it up. You can’t just decide to be meek. The order of the beatitudes instructs us that the meek are, first, poor in spirit. They see themselves as poor sinners who have nothing, can do nothing, and are nothing. That sense of spiritual poverty produces mourning over sin, and that mourning produces meekness. To put the first three beatitudes another way: Blessed are they who give up their love of self, their love of sin, and their love of this world. It is to such that Jesus gives His unbreakable word, “You shall inherit the earth.” If you want the world, you have to give it up.