My husband Phil and I had been married over fifteen years when I suddenly began nesting.
While I wasn’t expecting a baby, I was due to deliver a book manuscript in a few months. Knowing the months of labor that lay ahead, I got the urge to purge. So, I attacked that storage room like a sugared-up, out-of-control child in a taekwondo class.
In my frenzied cleaning, I ran my hand across the dusty speakers from an old sound system we’d purchased when we were first married. I’d traveled with it for five years, setting it up each time I sang. It hadn’t seen the light of day for years—and the urge was strong: I so wanted to give it away.
So, without any thought for Phil’s opinion, I dragged three thousand dollars’ worth of Yamaha, Peavey, and Bose equipment up the basement stairs and shoved them into the back of the donation truck.
After the delivery was made, I felt cleansed. My muscles were sore, but my head was clear, and my storage room was clean, clean, clean!
But the next morning, I woke up early with an uncomfortable feeling. All I could think about was the sound system and why I hadn’t consulted Phil before I gave it away.
As the hours passed in my day, I began to realize that I’d been out of control. I’d wanted it my way and on my timetable. So I prayed and asked God to show me an accurate picture of myself and my actions. I saw it, and it wasn’t pretty.
I called Phil at work to tell him what I’d done. A few sparks flew between my packrat husband and my neat-freak self. I hung up and decided that what I’d wanted wasn’t worth what I got.
I wish I had shoved that bulky, outdated sound system in the back corner of my storage room so I could enjoy an uncluttered relationship with Phil. I got a front-row seat to my unbridled will. What I thought was strength was actually defiance. What looked like asserting myself was actually an out-of-control self.
You may not have donated an out-of-date sound system without consulting anyone else, but maybe you can relate. You too can think of moments when you exercised a rampant, out-of-control will. It’s possible you thought that responding with meekness would equal weakness. But, as I learned with the sound system, this couldn’t be further from the truth!
So, on this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, you’ll learn how you can be strong enough to be meek. I’ll give you four ways to cultivate meekness in your life. And, they’re easy to remember because they’re an acronym for meek.
4 Ways to Cultivate Meekness in Your Life
- M is for moderate your expectations of others. When we get impatient or overly opinionated, it’s because we’re elevating ourselves and inflating our expectations of others. We need to remember who we are and who others are. Psalm 103:14 helps us moderate our expectations. It says, “For he knows how we are formed; He remembers we are dust.” God remembers we’re dust—and we need to remember others are dust too. Every Christian is in the process of redemption and recovery. They will blow it, and so will we.
So, to cultivate meekness in your life, start by humbling yourself before the Lord and asking Him to give you His eyes and His heart to see others correctly. Determine to steadily walk humbly with Him, asking His Spirit to fill you. Since meekness and gentleness are fruits of His Spirit, that meekness will prompt grace toward others, and that gracious spirit will keep compounding your gentleness and meekness.
- E is for estimate yourself correctly. The truly meek person is one who sees herself or himself accurately within their relationship with God. As A. W. Tozer put it, “A meek person has accepted God’s estimate of his own life.” And, J.B. Phillips paraphrases Paul’s words in Romans 12:3, “Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given you all.”
When you don’t have a right estimate of yourself, you forget the depth of your forgiveness. In 2 Peter 1:5-8, Peter lists the qualities of a person walking in the spirit. Qualities like perseverance, godliness, love, and self-control all get to this concept of meekness—strength under control. When you aren’t walking in the spirit, you won’t have those qualities. Your heart gets hard, you get proud, and you forget how much you have been forgiven. Peter says you’re blinded to it (2 Peter 1:9).
So, you proceed on your knees, mindful of how much your sin cost Jesus and how much you’ve been forgiven. When you get in touch with your unworthiness, it keeps you continuously right-sizing your understanding of yourself and helps you moderate your expectation of others.
- E is for engage meek friends. Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Make no friendship with a man given to anger … lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” You become who you hang out with. Their behavior prompts yours and permits you to misbehave. It’s really hard to be proud and impatient with a truly meek person.
So, if you know you need to grow in meekness, check out who you are hanging out with. Ask yourself what influences you’re allowing in your life.
- K is for know Jesus. To truly cultivate meekness, you hang out with Jesus and learn from Him. Jesus tells us, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). A yoke joins two animals, so that they can pull the plow together as they walk side-by-side. So, by talking about a yoke here, Jesus is saying, “Yoke yourself to me. Walk with me and learn from me. I am meek, and this is how you will find rest for your soul.”
True meekness comes from the presence of Jesus in your life. It grows as you imitate the Savior you’re walking with and learning from. Jesus truly was meek. When it was time for the cross, He submitted to the will of His Father. He demonstrated meekness to the very end. 1 Peter 2:23 says, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
You can do the same. Even if you have a strong will, you can be meek-willed. Don’t be passive and call it meekness. Instead, surrender yourself to God completely, wear His yoke, become meek-willed, and find rest for your soul. And, if you don’t already know Jesus, read the Gospel of John in the New Testament to get to know Him.
So, friend, remember you can be meek without being weak by doing these four things:
- M—modify your expectations of others
- E–estimate yourself correctly
- E–engage meek friends
- K–know Jesus
And, this week, as you do your thing, remember, whatever it is, you can do it because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
- Lessons I Learned in the Dark: Steps to Walking by Faith, Not By Sight
- Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me Bible Study