When I was a child, about ten years old, we embarked upon a family vacation which included a trip to the Smithsonian Institute. I recall very little of that experience, except for one portion of the museum which I shall never forget. As we strolled through the museum, I was absolutely captivated as my young eyes beheld the magnificence of those sparkling gems in the Smithsonian Gem Gallery. Never had I seen such beauty as the lights shined upon those remarkable stones, radiating an elegance and loveliness which I had never before seen.
In years since, I have unsuccessfully searched for photographs or images of gems which reflect that beauty. I have repeatedly found that only the real life experience of viewing those radiant stones, as the light shined upon them in those displays, could ever reveal their true magnificence.
I share this experience for one reason. I am fully persuaded that the words which I will write on this page are totally incapable of reflecting the beauty of a “meek and quiet spirit.” It will take the Lord Himself to shine His light upon these truths in a life for anyone to truly experience the deep beauty referred to as a “meek and quiet spirit.”
Why do I say that a meek and quiet spirit is full of beauty? Let’s examine the Scriptures. In contrasting outward beauty with inward beauty, the Word of God says:
… rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle (meek) and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:4
A meek and quiet spirit is beautiful because God calls it beautiful. It is found hidden within the heart, and it is an incorruptible beauty. Outward beauty will most certainly age, fade, and ultimately decay, but inward beauty is incorruptible. It doesn’t age, decay, or fade away. And what is this inward beauty? It is a meek and quiet spirit … and when God sees that kind of spirit within someone, He says it is of great value, that it is very precious. Now don’t misunderstand. The world and most people would not consider it valuable at all, but it is precious in the sight of God.
Since we can see that it is a beauty that God commends, we must be sure that we truly understand what a meek and quiet spirit is. First, it is an inward beauty of the heart. Knowing that the Word of God says that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), how could it ever be described as incorruptible beauty? What a contrast!
So let’s examine our words.
If you check multiple Bible dictionaries, you will discover these basic meanings for meekness and quietness.
Meekness is that disposition of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the Old Testament the meek were those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation.
Meekness, therefore, is complete trust and confidence in God’s goodness toward His children. It doesn’t resist or complain. It trusts God.
Quietness carries with it the meaning of stillness, calmness, and tranquility. It is not disturbed by outward circumstances, and also causes no disturbance to others.
Therefore, a meek and quiet spirit is an inner attitude that is calm, undisturbed and undisturbing because that heart is trusting in God’s control and His goodness toward His children. And God says that it is of great value, very precious in His sight.
Now to magnify the beauty of this spirit, let’s place the meaning of these words in the context where we find them in Scripture. In 1 Peter 2:13-3:17, the Apostle Peter is instructing believers to properly submit to authority. Within the passage he exemplifies how this is to be done, even if one has a difficult or unreasonable authority. He gives that instructions to servants. He gives the same instruction to wives that have difficult husbands – those who are disobedient to the Word. But, more magnificently, He uses Christ as our very example of meekness and quietness when he was so unjustly treated.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO committed NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; … 1 Peter 2:21-23.
Examine the passage closely. Can you see Christ’s meekness and quietness, completely trusting the Father who judges righteously? That magnitude of trust is beautiful indeed! And for us to walk in that kind of trust will take God Himself working in and through us. Yes, meekness is a part of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Meekness and quietness … very precious in the sight of God.
May I return for a moment to my reference to the magnificent, sparkling gemstones that radiated so beautifully in the Smithsonian? Did you know that in study of gemstones, one finds a few common facts. Gemstones are always considered a rare formation. Amazingly, they are formed right within the earth. However, either intense heat or intense pressure (or both) is the catalyst required for the formation of those rare, but radiant stones.
In a similar way, God often uses “intense heat and intense pressure” (difficult circumstances) to form the rare beauty of a meek and quiet spirit within His people. As the Scripture declares, it is incorruptible beauty! And it is very precious in His sight. May we learn more and more to trust God’s control, God’s goodness, and God’s great love in every aspect of our lives! What beauty He is able to form!
… for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, … Philippians 2:13-15