When I prayed about a word for 2017, I imaged something I could proudly display on my wall like “bold”, “brave”, or even “rest.” Yet, God made it clear, my work was “meek.” Just the sound and look of the word brought up images of being weak and miserable; but out of obedience, I decided to at least explore this word God placed on my heart.
Turning back to the now familiar passage in my Message Bible, I read:
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” Matthew 5:5
Content with just who you are—wouldn’t that be a change for the queen of discontentment!
As someone who constantly strives for more and better (a better marriage, a more successful career, a cleaner house, a different place to live, etc.); contentment always eluded me.
“If only” ruled my life as an excuse for why I wasn’t joyful. I prayed over and over again for God to bring me contentment, knowing I could not experience fullness of joy without it. But instead of just handing over what I asked for, God brought me the missing piece to the mystery of contentment.
A.W. Tozer’s thoughts on meekness in his book, The Pursuit of God (affiliate link), illuminated the power and beauty of meekness to me. Through his words, I uncovered 5 keys to being meek.
1. Let go of your desires and replace them with God’s desires.
“The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.” A. W. Tozer
Lack of contentment often comes from comparison; comparing your situation to your friends’ or even comparing it to a fantasy world in your head. If we examine our list of “if onlys,” we will find a preoccupation with worldly desires. (Notice a better relationship with God did not make my “needs to be better” list, even though it should have topped the list.)
While our desires may be for good things (who doesn’t want a clean house or successful career?), God asks us to, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
2. Let God be your strength
Although meekness requires you to recognize your weaknesses, being meek does not mean you are weak.
“The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, more important than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything.” A.W. Tozer [emphasis added]
To be meek means living in the truth of 2 Samuel 22:33; “God is my strength and power, And He makes my way perfect.”
3. Let God train you up in the way you should go.
I love how David Guzik describes the original Greek word for meek: “In the vocabulary of the ancient Greek language, the meek person was not passive or easily pushed around. The main idea behind the word “meek” was strength under control, like a strong stallion that was trained to do the job instead of running wild.”
God gives us His strength in order to live out His purpose for our lives. Therefore, being meek requires humbling ourselves before God and submitting to His training.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
4. Let go of the approval of others.
“As he walks in meekness he will be happy to let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace which meekness brings.” A.W. Tozer
The meek person does not seek the approval of the world, for she understands that only God’s approval matters. As Paul says; “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10 (NLT)
5. Let go of pride and pretense
Being meek means no more pretending we are someone who we are not.
“Artificiality is one curse that will drop away the moment we kneel at Jesus’ feet and surrender ourselves to His meekness. Then we will not care what people think of us so long as God is pleased. Then what we are will be everything; what we appear will take its place far down the scale of interest for us.” A.W. Tozer
Meekness is not just contentment with who we are, but contentment with who we are in Christ.
“Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (MSG)
Tozer says; “The heart of the world is breaking under this load of pride and pretense. There is no release from our burden apart from the meekness of Christ.”
Are you suffering under the load Tozer is talking about? The pressure to constantly be better and do more? Are you feeling crushed by the unrealistic expectations of a life you are not meant to be living? If so, let’s follow his advice, and embrace the meek life, being content with who we are—no more, no less.