False meekness is mere complacency and lack of initiative. It is full of self-satisfaction. By contrast, the genuine meek wise person speaks his convictions and carries out his plans in a kind, though firm way. A wise man is meek before God, and this spiritual experience becomes a wall against pride and arrogance (James 2:13).
False meekness is often associated with evil zeal which is “bitter.” This zeal is opposite to the true meekness (James 3:13). People may become bitterly zealous over enhancing their special interests and show little respect for the wishes of others. The factious self-interest may be hidden from outward appearance, but it is like the bitter water in a fountain (James 3:11)—one day it will flow forth in word or deed.
False meekness is also associated with professed wisdom which not only lacks the characteristics of the divine wisdom but contains the characteristic of demons. Lucifer, now the chief of demons, was not satisfied with the wisdom God had bestowed upon him (Ezekiel 28:17). Eventually his envious spirit led him to “bitter envying and strife” (James 3:14). A course of self-interest, promoted by a spirit of ruthless rule, will eventually fail because of its own inherent weaknesses. Sin and self-interest never create harmony. A wide knowledge does not mean wisdom, rather it is genuine “meekness” shown in actions that identifies the educated man as truly wise.
Also, False meekness often leads to strife. But he who is truly wise seeks to avoid quarrels and strife. But the righteous’ desire for peace will not keep him from presenting the truth, even though trouble may result. Jesus predicted that the proclamation of truth would bring contention into the world (Matthew 10:34), but the resulting strife is the fault of those who oppose the truth, not of those who wisely present it. Purity of life and doctrine must never be sacrificed in an effort to obtain peace. The Christian must not sway between contending positions simply to gain the favor of men. A wise man is not ashamed of his position (Deuteronomy 31:6).
To avoid false meekness, the Christian needs to examine his heart and correct his way by the grace of God. He is not to boast of personal achievements or skills. Those with a proud spirit usually seek to attract supporters by self-assertion. Paul says, “But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord” (2 Corinthians 10:17).
To assume to oneself honor for success is to dishonor God by turning the eyes of people from Him to the men, and to exalt men above God (Psalms 115:1; 1 Corinthians 1:31; 10:12; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 12:5; Galatians 2:20; 6:14). Those who become pride in their abilities fall short of the Christian standard (Philippians 3:12–14). Those who live in daily relationship with God will never harbor unduly exalted opinion of themselves. Service is the only sound basis for honor.
The Perfect Example
Christ is a the perfect model, and those who learn of Him will be “kind” and “humble.” He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Christians who have false meekness have not learned in the school of Christ.
Paul admonished the believers to imitate Christ, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5–8).
In His service,
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