Knight on a war horse

Two of my favorite side characters I loved bringing to life on the page were: Mrs. Dodd, from The Captain’s Quest, who threatens that if anyone tries to drug her, it better be with poison, and Lady Ethridge, from The Merchant’s Yield, who thumps Anthony Middleton over the head with her umbrella after he commented on her daughter. These feisty ladies weren’t afraid to act or speak their minds. They stood up for themselves and for the ones they loved, despite the consequences. The last character trait anyone would attribute to them is meek.

Or is it?

Jesus said, in what’s known as the beatitudes, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). When we think of meek, synonyms like weak, timid, shy, humble, resigned, gentle, and passive spring to mind. I can understand the humble and gentle inheriting the earth, but I wrestled with weak and complacent. Why would God want to hand the world over to those who would hide or roll over and play dead at the first sign of trouble?

David was a man after God’s own heart, but he was also a warrior. Songs were sung in the streets over how many people he’d defeated. Would a courageous warrior like David not be considered meek enough? Was he unqualified to inherit the earth?

It wasn’t until I heard the passage explained in the original Greek that it made more sense. The English word Meek is often translated from the old Norse meaning of gentle or mild. However, the work meek from the original Greek translation is praus and can mean strength under the control of God’s power. It was often used regarding the training of wild horses. For a horse to be “meeked,” it meant they were obedient under the command of their rider. These animals wouldn’t have been considered timid or gentle. They were strength humbly yielded to their master.

I’ve recently had to reconsider my feisty behavior and be sure that my words and actions have been submitted and sanctified by God. If we are to see ourselves as meeked, there are a few things we need to question:

horse and little girl

Are we still running wild? – Do we still try to do our own thing and have our way, thinking we know best?

Are we adequately trained? – Are we in the Bible learning God’s word? As iron sharpens iron, are we around others that will guide us and strengthen our faith?  I tell my boys that they need to know what they stand for before they leave the house. If they wait until the last moment facing peer pressure, they’ll be more likely to cave and regret their decisions later.

Are we ready to ride? – Are we submitted to God’s plan, even when we can’t see the whole picture? Are we trusting our master with our lives?

To be meek doesn’t mean we’re to be a doormat or a pushover. We are strong, powerful, and ready to be unleashed but submitted and reliant upon God’s instruction and commands. We’re meant to stand firm on God’s solid principles as harnessed power to be asserted at the right time in the right way for God’s greater good.

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For more reading on the term praus and meek: