It has been said that the ancient Greek army would select the wildest horses, found in the mountains, in order to attempt to break them in and train them. These horses were determined, strong, and passionate. As you can imagine, the training process would take months and would end with separating the horses into categories: some were discarded, some were useful for bearing burdens or pulling wagons, and some were raced. The fewest (and best), however, were elevated to status of “war horse.” This indicated they were now ready to fight in war, to serve a purpose beyond themselves. These horses had power and strength. Yet now their power was under authority, their strength was under control. That wild, determined, and passionate nature? It was now disciplined. The out of control and rebellious nature? It was now brought under control. Specifically, it was brought under control of its master. It was still strong, passionate, and fierce. It was able to gallop into the face of arrows and torches without being frightened. Yet it was simultaneously able to slide to a halt at its master’s word and would respond to the faintest of its master’s touch. Yes, the wild horse had been transformed into a war horse and certainly exemplified “strength under control,” “power under authority.” What, might you wonder, does this have to do with our lives? These horses were now considered to be meek.
Of meekness, it has been said, ”The meek will inherit the earth...if that's all right with you!” That is often how meekness is regarded in our culture. It could be used to mean anything from ‘gentle’ to ‘easily imposed upon’ to ‘deficient in courage’. But meekness, true meekness, exemplifies strength. It has been described as a fruit of power. The key, therefore, is the submission to the Master. Someone described it as a man (or woman) who is armed with a sword, trained to use it, but knows when to sheath it. It could be argued that it takes more strength to sheathe one’s sword than to swing it.
The question therefore becomes, have we submitted ourselves, our ‘strength,’ if you will, to the Master? Just as the strength and passion of a wild horse became useful and purposeful only when submitted to its master, the strength and passion of His daughters find their full potential for HIS purposes when submitted to Him, when our nature is placed under His authority.
How would you describe what a strong woman looks like? Perhaps as one who always gets her way? One who pulls herself up and gets the job done? One who doesn’t depend on anyone else? One who insists she is right? Perhaps we can relate to an advertisement in a newspaper which read: “Encyclopedia for Sale—No longer needed—Wife already knows everything!”
Strength is really found in submission, for it is there that the Master’s plans and purposes can truly unfold. A.W. Tozer once wrote, “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…In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto.”
The Calvary Old Bridge Moms Group is currently studying through the beatitudes, and last week I had the privilege to explore this topic of meekness with them. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Although this message is geared towards mothers, the principles apply to all of us. As we long to be women made more into the image of Christ, who described Himself as gentle (some translations say ‘meek’; see Matthew 11:29), we invite you to listen to the message. We pray that we would capture the heart behind this special, yet often misunderstood word and that we would see what an honor it is to allow the Lord to shape this quality into our lives by the working of the Holy Spirit. You may find the message here.
May the Lord richly bless you,
(on behalf of Karen Pulley)