One primary problem the church as a whole is facing is that of cowardice and it is only getting worse as time passes. Do not get me wrong, there are a few good soldiers out there fighting the good fight, but overall the church is collapsing under pressure from within and outside. Not only do we see this happening to the church as a whole, but with individual Christians as well. We see it when they are faced with opposing forces of the faith as well as their own personal lives when faced with obstacles.
This weakness, so to speak, can be traced back about 150 years or so, and of course can be found elsewhere as well, but for the sake of this argument let us look at the modern perspective only. With the rise of technology has brought with it the necessity of comfort, happiness, pleasure and the like. Now, I am not saying that these are bad and unnecessary within themselves, but rather that we have come to depend on them too much as vital parts of life instead of blessings to enjoy from time to time.
Not only is this seen within the church and individual Christians, but it is also seen within the world as a whole. The difference between the world and the church when it comes to the increase comfort and weakness is the fact that the world is a bit more headstrong and tough when it comes to dealing with issues, while the church feels the necessity to back down to opposition in order to exhibit meekness and love like Jesus. But how valid is this approach? Is this the way that Jesus responded to opposition? Or is this just a modern conceptualization?
To put things into perspective it is necessary to look at the Greek word for meekness and go from there. The Greek word is, “Praotes” which means to exhibit gentleness, mildness, meekness, but has also been interpreted by several scholars to mean, “One who has a weapon and knows how to use it, but keeps it set within their holster.” We are called to be meek, that is gentle while exhibiting the love of Christ to others, and yet at the same time we are called to be courageous, stand firm and be alert.
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”1 Corinthians 16:13 nkjv
The “stand fast” is the Greek word, “Steko” which means to stand firm, to persevere, to persist, to keep one’s standing. Even better is the phrase “be strong” which is the Greek word, “Krataioo” and literally means to be strengthened, make strong, increase in strength and vigor.
When trying to see how this correlates with the idea of meekness one only has to look at how Jesus reacted to the Pharisees in speech and conduct like the terms brood of vipers and turning the tables in the temple, and this type of action and speech, to our modern viewpoint, does not seem to meek. The way to better understand meekness, strength and courage is by not taking extreme, modern day viewpoints, and instead look at the meaning of words through the lenses of the ancient writers.
Life was much different 2,000+ years ago with no real stability present, no clean water or food, illnesses running rampant, thieves and thugs lying at every corner, no means of expeditious communication, ruthless governments and the like. The idea of meekness something much different to Paul, Peter, and even Jesus as they saw a much different world than we do today. They knew that they had to be strong and courageous in order to overcome the opposition and obstacles that came their way while doing it in as much gentleness as they possibly could do without being pushed over and trampled on.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9 nkjv
Just like Joshua in the Old Testament, we too need to be courageous if we want to fight the good fight and overcome, not only the opposition that comes against the church, but even our own personal battles and obstacles that try to inhibit us from accomplishing the call of God upon our life. We must come to understand that the Bible and the Christian life is predicated some much upon the idea of balance rather than extremes. We should seek to be gentle to all without being push overs, and yet exhibit courage and strength without becoming a tyrant of sorts. Where do you stand when it comes to exhibiting courage and meekness?