Rev. Smit opens chapter 9 of The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ by explaining that Holy Spirit works meekness in the hearts of all the elect upon whom he bestows the gift of salvation. All who are saved become meek. It is a virtue that was exhibited, as Rev. Smit explains, by Moses, John the Baptist, Paul, and many other saints (pg. 128). Saints are meek because they are renewed in the image of Jesus Christ, who was meek. Rev. Smit connects the humility of Christ to the meekness of saints when he defines meekness. “As Christ was humble, and demonstrated that humility in his work of redemption, so must we be of the same mind and in that lowliness of mind esteem others better than ourselves (pg. 129).”
Rev. Smit helpfully contrasts meekness and humility with the sins of selfishness, vainglory, and pride (pg. 129-131). Against that backdrop of sin Rev. Smit holds up a beautiful description of meekness: “Meekness is a matter of how lowly we value ourselves – before God chiefly and also in comparison with others" (pg. 131). Rev. Smit writes that a meek person “concludes” that “he is the least of all God’s saints" (pg. 131). That is a powerful statement! Do you esteem all other saints better than yourself? Not some – all? Not only the minister, the office bearers, or those who are known for their spiritual maturity, but even those who seem to be less comely – do you see them all as better that yourself? And because it is a tendency to elevate certain people in the congregation, such as office bearers, it is good that they too be reminded to see themselves as the least of all God’s saints. If we are struggling to be esteem ourselves of less than others we need to look to Christ and see that as sinners the only worth and value “we have is of, in, by, and because of Christ alone" (pg. 131-132).
That attitude of meekness before God and others must come to expression. Do you display meekness in your life? Rev. Smit gives good direction for displaying meekness in the last part of the chapter. I encourage you to find 15 minutes in your day (that’s all it takes!) to read this chapter and think about how to put the Christian virtue of meekness into practice.
Other articles by Rev. Spronk on The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ:
This article was written by guest blogger Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Peace Protestant Reformed Church in Lansing, IL. Rev. Spronk blogs for us several times a month, taking us first through a brief study of Richard Smit's newly released book, The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If there is a topic you'd like to Rev. Spronk to address, please contact us.