Jesus said in Matthew 5:5 KJV, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” I find this a very interesting verse of scripture. The meek shall inherit the earth. What does this mean? What is God saying to us in this verse? Why was it important for God to put this in the Bible and what is He wanting us to learn from it and apply in our lives?
To help me find the answer to these questions, I did some research to find the Greek meaning of the word “meek”. In today’s contemporary society, when we think of the word meek, we normally associate it with humility, gentleness, or weakness. Actually, the Greek meaning is more of a patient and controlled response to unpleasant circumstances and to remain strong and resilient inwardly. I like to say this is “strength under control”. An illustration of this would be a horse that was wild, but has been trained and transformed to be useful. The horse still has its strength but now it is harnessed and beneficial.
Using this meaning of meekness, we could say this would be a person that exercises self-control. Is self-control not exercising strength under control?
Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do the things you don’t want to do, but you, deep down inside, know you should. This applies in all areas of life—family, work, relationships, your spiritual life, and financial. This is a vital key to success.
What does the Bible say about self-discipline? Proverbs 25:28 says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”
If we look back at biblical time when this verse of Scripture was written, cites built walls for protection. God is telling us that if we do not control ourselves and we do not exercise self-discipline, we are without protection. We are exposed to danger. We are weak when we do not use self-discipline just like when the city did not have walls, it was weak and exposed to danger. Remember as a child when you heard the story of Joshua at the battle of Jericho? The walls came tumbling down and the citizens’ of Jericho were exposed to danger and defeat.
Motivational writer, Napoleon Hill says, “If you do not conquer yourself, you will be conquered by yourself.”
Another Scripture of self-discipline is 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “And every man that striveth (strive—to try hard, to make an intense effort) for the mastery (superiority) is temperate (or has self-control) in all things. (Everyone that strives to be superior in all things has self-control). Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we, an incorruptible. I, therefore, so run, not as uncertainly (uncertainly—not knowing where you are going or what to do. I know where I am going); so fight I, not as one that beateth the air (shadow boxing); But I keep under my body, and bring in into subjection, (I exercise self-discipline. I am going to take control of by body, my actions, my thoughts), lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
A castaway is someone without friends or resources.
As I have gone through life, I often think about what makes one person a success and another person may not be successful. First, my definition of success is becoming the person God intends for you to be and being a good steward of what God has given you. With that said are there characteristics that one person has and another does not have that makes them a success? Are there principles for success in the Bible, and if there are principles for success in the Bible are they written for a select few OR are they written for anyone to read and apply? Would this not be where the last part of Matthew 5:5, “they shall inherit the earth,” could be applied? Especially considering my definition of success as stated above.
To me, the ability to exercise self-control is a major component of being successful.
And to give further support to the importance of self-discipline to our lives, it is one of the benefits of the fruit of the Spirit as stated in Galatians 5:22-23 KJV, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (or self-control); against such there is no law.”
A little sacrifice (self-discipline) today is much better than a lot of regret tomorrow. This actually means we have two choices when it comes to self-discipline. We can choose to discipline ourselves and have the pain of sacrifice and growth for a short period of time. Or we can choose to give in to short-term pleasure and suffer the pain of regret later, as well as the related consequences. Each of us must choose which path we will follow and we will reap the rewards or suffer the consequences according to our decisions.
But you have read in the Bible, you are supposed to be humble. Is this a conflict with becoming a success? I am not worthy of success? Is being humble, in this case, an excuse and not a reason? We all prefer to be around humble people instead of boastful or arrogant people, but I really don’t think that is the situation here. It is not a choice of humility or arrogance.
Can you be humble and successful at the same time? Which is the better steward of what God has given you? Remember my definition of success—becoming the person God wants you to be AND being a good steward of what God has given you? By making the most of your abilities, gifts, and opportunities or not trying to, using humility as an excuse? Would God give us assignments or opportunities and then say “You must be humble, don’t do it?”
Let’s look at Proverbs 18:16 NIV, “A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great.” I previously thought that meant that a gift to the receiver would help get someone’s presence with another person in which they wanted access. I think it also means that if you will use and develop the gifts, talents, and opportunities that God gives you (entrusted to you, God trusts that you will be a good Steward of what He has given you), that it will give you greater access to even bigger opportunities. The gift God gives you puts you in a position for greater things.
So, what do we need to do, in the case of someone thinking they are not worthy of success, is to change their thinking about success. Romans 12:2 NIV, “…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” I know this is written in a Spiritual context, but I think it can apply here as well. What this means is we need to transform or change our thinking by the “renewing” of our mind. Change our way of thinking. To think we are worthy of success and to utilize to the best of our ability the gifts, talents, and opportunities God gives us. And in doing so, we will bring Glory to God.
If you will look at the life of Jesus, He was continually confronted by the Chief Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees. He would tell them, “I tell you the truth”. He stated the truth. Jesus was meek, but He was not weak. He stood firm and glorified His Father. We should pattern our lives after His example. Exercising strength under control and being blessed as stated in Matthew 5:5.