Friday, January 22, 2021

Blessed Are the Self-Controlled

 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

My heart has been heavy for our nation these past few weeks. Like you, I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw rioters flooding into the U.S. Capitol building. And my heart sank as I learned that five people had been killed in the melee. I turned to my wife, Christine, and said, “I wish that Martin Luther King, Jr. could have been on the steps of the Capitol.”

At a time when our nation was divided, Dr. King had a God-given ability to bring people together —peacefully—to bring about change. That’s what he was doing in April 1968 when he traveled to Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King was there to help organize a peaceful march to protest the mistreatment of sanitation workers. But the following day, as he waited on the balcony of his motel for his driver to pick him up, he was assassinated. What a loss!

In our day, when so many Americans are angry, bitter and striking out at each other, we desperately need followers of Christ who, like MLK, are strong enough to stand for truth but self-controlled enough to do it peacefully. Our nation needs followers of Christ who are meek. 

In his Sermon on the Mount, Christ’s third beatitude is “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (v5). So much of what Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount is upside down, topsy-turvy—180 degrees from conventional wisdom. This third beatitude is no exception.

There are just two problems with it. The first problem is that most people confuse meekness with weakness. So, they don’t want anything to do with it. The second problem is that when people find out what meekness really means … they still want nothing to do with it.

So, what does it mean to be meek? The Greek word used here for meek is “praeis,” which can be translated a few different ways. Synonyms include gentle, self-controlled, tame, submissive, kind-hearted and sweet-spirited. In Jesus’ day, the Greeks used the word meek to describe a horse that had been broken. Even though the horse was bigger, stronger, and in some cases smarter than its rider, it was gentle. It was self-controlled. It was tame. It was submissive. It was kind-hearted and sweet-spirited, allowing its rider to lead it wherever he or she wanted to go. So, here’s the simplest definition of meek than I can give you: Meekness is power under control. 

Now, we like to see meekness in horses. And we certainly want to see it in our pets and our kids. But honestly, most of us don’t want to see meekness in ourselves, because our sinful nature equates meekness with weakness. In our sinful pride we don’t WANT to be gentle to those who are rude to us. We don’t WANT to be self-controlled when everyone around us is losing control. We don’t WANT to be tame, because we’ve come to believe that tame people don’t get anywhere in life. We don’t WANT to be submissive, because conventional wisdom has taught us to be assertive, to take charge, to let everyone know who we are and why they should get the heck out of our way.

And we sure don’t celebrate meekness in our culture. Think about the action movies we watch. When was the last time that you saw a movie where the hero was taken advantage of and mistreated, and the big buildup in the movie was the moment the hero stormed the enemy fortress and was gentle and kind to his foes? NO WAY! We don’t want to see a movie like that. Instead, we celebrate when John Wick, James Bond and John Rambo blow the bad guys to smithereens, making them pay for what they did. We cheer when little Kevin McAllister makes the burglars pay for breaking into his house in "Home Alone." We don't celebrate meekness in our culture. We celebrate payback. We celebrate revenge. We celebrate karma.

How different this is from what Jesus teaches. Jesus teaches gentleness instead of aggressiveness; self-control instead of losing control; submission instead of dominance. Jesus teaches us to be tame instead of reckless. Jesus teaches us to be meek. And most people, including many Christians, say, “Thanks, but no thanks! Count me out!” Because in our culture, being gentle, submissive and tame seems completely backwards. It boggles our minds to think that something good could actually come from gentle submission.

But in Christ’s kingdom, something good DOES come from it. In fact, it’s one of the very best things: The meek will inherit the earth. And because of that meekness, the price of our sin was paid. As Jesus hung on the cross, thousands of angels could have been dispatched at his command to obliterate every enemy he had. But he kept his mouth shut. Why? Because the strongest man who ever walked this earth was meek. His power was under control. Jesus Christ chose to be gentle to those who nailed him to a cross. He chose to be submissive to His Father in heaven. He chose to be self-controlled, tame and kind-hearted to those who spat in his face.

And he calls you and me to do the same. There’s a big difference between a weak person and a meek person. A weak person can’t do anything. A meek person has the strength and skill to wipe the floor with his enemies—but he chooses not to. Jesus calls you and me to CHOOSE NOT TO. Not to assert our dominance over others. Not to be unkind to others. Not to retaliate against others. Not to treat others as badly as they treat us … but to humbly, gently, mercifully treat them the way Jesus would treat them.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” With these words Jesus Christ calls us to be gentle and self-controlled. So, let’s get to it, so that we can experience the awesome blessings of God right here on earth.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit

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