The Divine Atmosphere of Humility

Bible Book: Matthew  5 : 5
Subject: Humility; Meekness; Sermon on the Mount; Beatitudes
Series: The Beatitudes - The Divine Atmosphere

The Heavenly Atmospehre of Humility

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

This is sermon 3 in a series of 8 sermons on the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5:5

We come now to the third Beatitude. The first Beatitude spoke to us on the fact that we are bankrupt in our flesh before a holy God, for no flesh can strut in God's presence. Then, we came to the second Beatitude, which spoke to us of the value of mourning and being sorrowful about our sin problem. When we see how bankrupt we are before God, it ought to cause a broken-heartedness about it. The Word of God clearly states that a broken and contrite heart God will not despise. Isaiah was broken when he saw the Lord high and lifted up, as recorded in Isaiah 6. James penned in James 4:8-9 that we should approach God, see our sin, confess and grieve over our sinful nature.

Now we come to the third Beatitude. Remember that each Beatitude builds upon the preceding Beatitudes. Each new Beatitude flows out from the other. So this third Beatitude brings us one step closer to understanding the Sermon on the Mount as taught and preached by our Lord.

The third Beatitude states: "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."

It is human nature to be enamored with one's self. One actor was talking with a person and just went on and on about his movies, his awards, his success, etc. Finally, he said to the other person, "Enough about me. I've talked too long. Tell me, what did you think of my films?"

Most people do not think that being meek is something to be admired. In fact, human nature would lead us to believe that we should never reveal a meek, docile, submissive spirit. The world honors arrogance, conceit, pride, and self-confidence.

Think about Facebook for a moment, when have you seen someone posting their worst mistakes, family breakdowns, miserable failures or terrible flaws? Exactly! We just don't do that. We use our best photos, the successes of our children, the positives about our work, and the best of the best in our lives. That is not necessarily evil, but it does point to the fact that we like to admired and thought well of. But God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Though some may find it useful to pump the positives before the world, Jesus taught us to be meek and humble. So we now come to this third Beatitude and we ask the Lord to reveal to us what this means in the Word of God and what it ought to mean to us personally.

I. The Explanation of Meekness

What is meekness? It is certainly not what most people think it is.

A. What Meekness Is Not

1. It is not Fearfulness

Jesus spoke of Himself and said, "I am meek and lowly in heart." Surely you would not say that Jesus was a coward. Jesus was a man's man. Just think about how strong our Lord really was. Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights in the wilderness. Most of the men in this room can't go 4 hours without something to eat. At times Jesus slept alone on the mountain sides of Israel. Most men and women in this room desire constant entertainment. We want to talk on the phone, listen to our favorite music, shop online, play sports, have 300 channels on television to consider, and we want to check our online contacts incessantly.

Jesus faced hostile crowds without flinching, while most of us will run from confrontation.

He took criticism with dignity and courage, while most of us bristle at tiny critical remarks made about us.

Jesus bore a cross on His back up the lonely hill of Calvary without complaining. He was beaten, despised and killed. He did all this without attacking anyone in return. He faced death with courage and strength. He bore the cross, scorning its shame! Most of us whine if we have a hangnail.

Jesus was a man's man! So, whatever you do, don't make Jesus out to be some lily-white, effeminate, milquetoast per personality.

2. Meekness is not Weakness

Moses was said to be meek, yet he led over a million people out of Egypt. He was a great leader and his authority was evident. He was not weak but he was meek. Meekness does not mean going around looking like you've been sucking on a lemon all day.

C. S. Lewis once said, "Meekness is not thinking less of yourself, but it is thinking of yourself less. One need not deny your gifts and strengths in order to be meek or humble, but you must be willing to be so committed to god that you don't spend all of your time thinking about yourself.

B. What Meekness Is

What does it mean to be meek? The word was used to describe how an animal could be domesticated. For example, a great stallion is a picture of strength, yet a stallion that is unbroken is of little use to anyone. To make the stallion meek would mean to bridle the great animal and cause him to channel his energy toward a useful purpose. The stallion is not weak merely because it is meek; indeed, the stallion may be even more powerful when he is broken and the force of his strength is focused toward useful objective.

You can do one of three things with a wild stallion.

  • You can let him run wild.
  • You can corral him and lock him up.
  • You can break his independence, bridle him and put the force of his energy to work for good. That is a picture of meekness!

In fact, that is the picture here. God's desire is not to let us run wild but to give our lives many and purpose. Many people today think it is in their best interest to be totally free of all restraints. How foolish! Such behavior leads to sin, sorrow and death.

Others feel that we must corral our passions. This leads to legalism and is displeasing to God. Keeping a wild horse in a corral, with fences to simply keep the animal from activity is to do nothing constructive or valuable for either the stallion or the owner.

God's desire is to take our passions, energies, talents, personality, and othe qualities within the saved person and bridle them under His leadership and control. This is God's way of blessing us and blessing others through us. To be meek, means to be under God's authority and control. This does not make us weak or passive; on the contrary, it makes us more aggressive. It focuses our drive to a glorious and meaningful purpose.

Look at James 4:4-10, "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do     you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But   he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double- minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

Meekness means to yield your life, your emotions, and your passions to God. Paul yielded his life to God, but do not think for a moment that it subdued his ambition. Look at his statement at the end of his life. He said that he had fought a good fight. He was still a fighter after he got saved, but he was a fighter for Jesus instead of for himself or for the devil. He had submitted his life to God, and his passions had been put under control not put out of business.

Now think about the first three Beatitudes in succession.

First we saw our "sin" - the Beatitude of being Poor in Spirit.

Secondly, we were brought to "sorrow" - the Beatitude of Mourning.

Now, we see our "submission" - the Beatitude of Meekness

This is true repentance and godly living. We see our sin, we sorrow over our sin, and then we turn to God in a new submission. That is what it means to be humble or meek before the Lord.

Now, let's go a step further in understanding meekness, as the Bible speaks of it and Jesus taught it ...

II. The Evidence of Meekness

What proves that a person has come to a true state of meekness before the Lord? Let me share from the Sermon on the Mount three signs, tokens or manifestations that reveal a person is humble and meek.

A. The Meek Show an Humble Obedience to Authority over Them

Look at Matthew 5:22, 28, 32,34, 38, 39, 44, etc. "You have heard that it has been said, but I say unto you.

  • True meekness is beyond tradition or personal preference.
  • True humility and meekness means to give oneself over to God's authority.
  • True meekness and humility is evidenced by your willingness to submit to God's authority rather than your desires, traditional teaching, societal norms or what you have heard from the world.

In James 1:21-22 we see this principle very clearly. The word for "humbly receiving the Word of God" is the very same root word in Greek found for meekness in Matthew 5:5, our text for today. We are to receive the Word of God as the authority in our lives, and do it with submissive meekness, not listening to the voices of the world, tradition, or our old worldly passions.

B. The Meek Show an Humble Endurance to Callousness toward Them

If you want to test your meekness and your humility, don't test your ACTIONS, test your REACTIONS. Look at what Jesus said about your reaction to a slap - to turn the other cheek. For the modern Christian today it can be dangerous just to accidentally bump into them in a store, or to appear to slip in front of them in a checkout line.

This principle plays itself out in the home, the church, the office, the workplace - everywhere. If you want to see how humble you are, watch your reactions. You want to know what is wrong in most marriages? It is the man's self-life bumping into the woman's self-life and what spills out is often not very pretty.

In fact, one can see the sadness of our reactions in many of our churches. It is amazing how many people are living on the edge, even in church. One little thing that appears to effect them personally - in a negative way - can lead to mayhem. I know people right now who have been members of five different churches in the last seven years. They think that the problem is in the church when it actually resides right there in their own hearts.

Also, note that ...

C. The Meek Show an Humble Deference to Enemies around Them

Matthew 5:43ff tells us that we are to love our enemies. This goes against everything we feel within our natural hearts. Jesus points out that even the world loves those who love in return. We are no different than the world, if we only love those who love us.

The Bible points out that God allows the rain to fall on the just and unjust. We would not be so kind to the wicked, if it were left up to us. We would not let it rain on the fields on the unjust. We would send rain on the gardens of the believers and the good folks, but we would send the blistering heat or hailstones on those who are against God. We would bring defeat to our enemies if we could.

Listen, God tells us that we must learn the live in the heavenly atmosphere of humility - the attitude and beatitude of meekness. Meekness requires an attitude of humble deference toward those who would be our very enemies.

This, my friend, is not an easy command to keep. In fact, it is impossible without the help of the Lord. We are beginning to see the picture of what it means to truly live for Jesus. We must submit to Him,  to the heavenly rules of life and to the empowering work of the Holy Spirit within us. This is why revival is missing in many of our churches today - we are acting like the pagans in the world. We are thinking, talking and  living like the world. There is no power in that kind of living to change us or the society around us. Our only hope is to turn to God, to see our sin in these matters, to sense sorrow over our sin and to submit to God in order to overcome.

Now, let's think of one more issue related to this Beatitude ...

III. The Encouragement To Meekness

What encourages or motivates us to humility? Jesus says that the meek will inherit the earth. It was man's rebellion against God that caused him to lose the earth in the beginning. It was self-will in the Garden of Eden that brought about the loss of dominion over the earth. Jesus is giving you a promise, that when we submit to Him He will give us the earth afresh.

A great writer tells the story of the man who could have all the land that he could walk in one day. He started out early. He grew greedy and walked faster and faster. He began to almost run. He saw the sun high in the heavens and sought to hurry all the more. As the sun was going down he took a giant leap to get another yard of earth for his own. Then, he dropped dead on the spot. He got the land as promised - it became his grave. He occupied a place four feet wide, eight feet long and six feet deep.

If you want to learn what you really have, test it this way:

  • What do you have that money cannot buy and death cannot take away?

This is my Father's world. One day Jesus will come and He will rule and reign. Those who are His shall rule with Him. Those who suffer with Him will reign with Him.

Psalm 37:10-18 states very clearly that a day is coming when the meek will inherit the earth and the wicked will be pierced by their own swords. Look at that text, "A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever."

You want a little encouragement to be meek, to be humble, to obey God, read the end of the Book and look at what is coming.


Now is the time for us to admit our need for a renewed walk in the meekness of our Lord. The world believes in human power. We see that in our streets today, as people are rioting, burning buildings, and even killing each other. That kind of power only reaps a reward of more chaos and more death. Christian, come to the Lord today and renew your attitue and actions - allow God to make us what He desires us to be, rather than us trying to promote ourselves at the expense of others.

To those who have never accepted Jesus, let me say a word. The first step in salvation is to admit that you are a sinner. That is a step of meekness. Trust what Jesus did for you at the cross, repent of your sin and trust Him just now as Lord and Savior.