How to Inherit the Earth!
One of Jesus Christ's best-known promises says the meek will inherit the earth. But what does it really mean to be meek?
By Norman L. Shoaf
Jesus Christ promised, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).
If you want to be among that group-if you want to help administer the government of God in the world tomorrow-and if you want to enjoy the blessings that real meekness will bring you now, in this life you need to express this important fruit of God's spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
How? The Bible tells!
Moses and Israel
"I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!" said God to Moses, speaking of ancient Israel. "Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation" (Exodus 32:9-10).
What would you have done, had God been talking to you?
The Israelites had caused Moses no end of trouble. Even after seeing God's power firsthand, they lacked faith. They complained all the time. They showed no respect for Moses as their leader. They had rebelled before and would again. Now God proposed to destroy Israel, and start a new nation through Moses.
What would you have done?
Moses didn't think about himself. He cared more about Israel's future. He refused to take a self-righteous stance. He relegated himself under God's power and rule. He told God he was willing to give up eternal life if God was not willing to spare Israel!
"Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, `Oh, these people have sinned a great sin ... Yet now, if You will forgive their sin-but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written' " (verses 31-32).
Is it any wonder the Bible tells us, "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3, King James Version)? What about you? Do you know what it means to be meek? Do you see why you should be?
Contrast Moses' state of mind with that of Saul, whom God later placed over Israel. When Saul was about to be proclaimed king, it seems he thought so little of himself that he hid among some equipment and had to be sought before the ceremony could be held (I Samuel 10:21-24).
But Saul lost this viewpoint. He began to think more of himself than he should have. He stopped letting God work through him and started taking matters into his own hands, directly disobeying flat commands from God. God had to reject him as king!
Samuel told Saul: "When thou wast little in thine own sight wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? ... Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king" (1 Samuel 15:17, 23, KJV)
Why Lucifer fell
A meek person cheerfully submits to being ruled by God and by those God places in power.
But a person who tries to exalt himself and advance his own selfish cause will not submit to being ruled. Thus he cannot learn to rightly rule others-and he forfeits any chance of serving in God's government, now or in the coming Kingdom of God!
That's exactly what happened to the archangel Lucifer.
When God created him, Lucifer was "the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty." God told Lucifer, "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created" (Ezekiel 28:12, 15).
Eons ago, God gave Lucifer charge over one third of all the angels, and put him on earth to prepare the earth for human life. But Lucifer decided to reject God's rule over him. He turned his angels against God, too. He decided to mount an assault on heaven itself! God repelled the attack, casting Lucifer, who became Satan, back down to earth. Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18).
God told Lucifer: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! ... For you have said in your heart: `I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High' " (Isaiah 14:12-14).
God found iniquity in this once beautiful and brilliant but now fallen archangel (Ezekiel 28:15). Why? Because "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor" (verse 17).
Lucifer became proud and vain. He lusted for more than God had chosen to give him at the moment. He resented God's rule over him. Self-righteousness and self-importance entered his heart. He decided to take matters into his own hands and lashed out in violence.
Lucifer lost the quality of meekness! He thus disqualified himself from being used further by God. He set himself to always oppose God and so can never have a part in God's government. He lost the privilege of ruling over the earth and is soon to be replaced by Jesus Christ Himself.
Jesus said the meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). No one filled with Satan's nature qualifies!
Jesus was meek
God sent Jesus to earth, in part, to die and pay for the sins of humans, all of whom, from Adam on, have followed Satan's way instead of God's. Jesus came willingly-meekly!
Paul told the Philippians-and, by extension, all God's people today: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:5-8).
Jesus cared more about our interests-about your interests-than about His own. He felt no self-importance. He cheerfully fulfilled His part in God's plan-and thus made salvation possible for you.
Isaiah wrote of Jesus: "Surely [confidently, trusting God to make everything work out right] He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows ... He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter ... He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth" (Isaiah 53:4, 7, 9).
That is the spirit of meekness!
Express meekness in your life
How can you express the godly character trait of meekness in your own life? Let's look at what the Bible says about a few specific cases.
Have you had a misunderstanding with someone? What should your approach be? "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another" (Colossians 3:12-13).
Does someone you know have a fault? Should you condemn and judge or recall the mercy God and Christ have had on you'? Paul advises, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1, KJV).
Do you often find yourself in arguments with others? Have gossip and slander brought you grief? Titus 3:2 says to "speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men" (KJV).
Should you argue religion with others, or try to force your beliefs on other people? No, but Peter writes, "Be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (I Peter 3:15).
What should your basic motivation toward life be? "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom" (James 3:13).
Get the point? Meekness, one of the beautiful fruits of God's holy spirit, should be basic to all your inner thoughts, and should be behind every action you take.
Being meek means you won't think more of yourself than you should. It means you will place the best interests of other people above your own selfish desires. It means you will be gentle and humble toward other people. It means you will cheerfully submit yourself to God's government and to God's purpose in your life.
Being meek means you will inherit the earth!