Sunday, July 12, 2009

Poor in Spirit

Jesus said, "If anyone would enter the Kingdom of God, he must humble himself, become as a child". The entry point to His Kingdom is poverty of spirit. I have written a short essay on the Beattitudes, which I post below:
¶ Blessed <3107> are the poor <4434> in spirit <4151>: for <3754> theirs <846> is <2076> (5748) the kingdom <932> of heaven <3772>.
Shalom to the helpless, the powerless, the needy, the simple minded, those who willingly acknowledge their utter dependence upon God for their very life, for only in them will the rule and reign of God be manifest.
Only those who humble themselves as a child may ever see this, which is no less than the rule and reign of God through their bodies. Paul writes that we are to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our spiritual act of worship.” The picture of a helpless man, hands open, totally dependent upon the grace of others for his very life, is a powerful syllogism for the poor man Jesus is calling blessed. Until we reach that point in our walk with Christ that we acknowledge that without Him we simply will not survive, we shall not have known the riches of being poor in spirit. Without suffering, perhaps we shall never see this blessing.
4 Blessed <3107> are they that mourn <3996> (5723): for <3754> they <846> shall be comforted <3870> (5701).
Shalom to they that are consumed with grief so heavy that they can not hide the fact they are hurting, for they shall have one to walk beside, to console and to strengthen them.
Of course, who is He who walks beside but our true paraclete, the Holy Spirit? When our hearts are heavy and we can not imagine the thought of going another inch, Jesus says that we are blessed. Why? Because we will not walk this path alone, for the Spirit comes, the great Comforter, guides us, and the knowledge of his Presence makes all the grief and sorrow well worth the price we have paid.
5 Blessed <3107> are the meek <4239>: for <3754> they <846> shall inherit <2816> (5692) the earth <1093>.
Shalom to those who are gentle in spirit, who do not insist on their own justification, but who humbly lay that aside, knowing that their God has said, “Justice is mine, I will repay,” for their rightful inheritance is the earth itself.
Now the time will come when we may be dispossessed of all our earthly treasures, but no matter. That is only the short term, but the meek look for the long haul, to a God who is always just, whose books must balance, who will set every wrong right and make every lofty place plain. In the end we win, saints! We have read the book, and the good guys come out on top. Now with the temporal eyes we might see the haughty rewarded and the righteous broken, but whatever the injustice, we worship a God who will one day make it right. The righteous willingly accept all this, rejoicing when they are stripped of every temporal reality, for they will be repaid by a just Judge, who will reward them of the very earth that was unjustly taken from them!
6 Blessed <3107> are they which <3588> do hunger <3983> (5723) and <2532> thirst <1372> (5723) after righteousness <1343>: for <3754> they <846> shall be filled <5526> (5701).
Shalom to those who ardently crave and painfully feel need of and long for integrity, virtue, purity of life and correctness of thinking, for they shall eat their fill of these things and be fully satisfied.
And whose righteousness to the blessed seek? Certainly not their own, for if they had a righteousness of their own, they should have no reason to graze upon God’s pastures. But no, these have seen that their own righteousness is dung in the sight of a Holy God, and their craving is only for the good stuff. The saints know that that which proceeds “out from” themselves, which they could do of their own strength, has only the appearance of good, but none of the everlasting fruit. They have “ceased from their labor as He has ceased from His,” instead resting in the confidence that if they set themselves aside, and allow God to work in them “His good pleasure” that they will be found pleasing in His sight.
7 Blessed <3107> are the merciful <1655>: for <3754> they <846> shall obtain mercy <1653> (5701).
Shalom to those who help the afflicted and bring help to the wretched, for they themselves will be aided the very same way.
When we work in the broken world, we encounter those who have reaped what they have sown, but the saints take no joy in this, not the smallest bit of “I told you so” comes off of their lips. Yes, maybe the drug addict deserves a wasted body, or the prostitute her venereal disease, or the homosexual his aids, but we don’t even think of justice. Indeed, we know that we are not a whit different in the eyes of God, save for his work of redemption that we have entered into. Thus are our hearts full of compassion for these people, and we eagerly do what we can to help them get back on their feet, not worrying at all about how they might use us, for out from the abundance which we have received do we in turn give back. Some might trample on us, but others will experience mercy, total undeserved favor for the first time, and our joy will be made full.
8 Blessed <3107> are the pure <2513> in heart <2588>: for <3754> they <846> shall see <3700> (5695) God <2316>.
Shalom to those who are singular in their center, who long only for Him, for they shall indeed behold Him. Indeed our brother Isaiah looked upon the Lord, then considered his fate, for he was “a man of unclean lips” but he had beheld the Ultimate Purity, true Perfection. But the angel took the coal from the altar, and made his lips pure, and his commission was forthcoming. Even so, we do not look to ourselves for purity, but, walking in the Spirit, by the Spirit, we put to death the misdeeds of the body. Thus we become in experience what we already are in Him: Pure.
9 Blessed <3107> are the peacemakers <1518>: for <3754> they <846> shall be called <2564> (5701) the children <5207> of God <2316>.
Shalom to those who spread Shalom, for they are God’s kids.
He Himself is our Peace, who has broken down the wall of division, and has made the two one. Wherever we go, He goes, and we present Him to a broken world, in need of reconciliation.
10 Blessed <3107> are they which are persecuted <1377> (5772) for <1752> righteousness' sake <1343>: for <3754> theirs <846> is <2076> (5748) the kingdom <932> of heaven <3772>.
Shalom to those rejected and despised by the world, for in them the rule and reign of Jesus Christ is supreme.
We present His offer of Peace, but have no illusions. Most will judge us as fools, and some will take so much offense that they will strike out at us. But our eyes on not on some temporal reality, but upon the City of God itself. Thus we do not strike back, or look back, or demand justice, for it is ours already in Him.
Blessed <3107> are ye <2075> (5748), when <3752> men shall revile <3679> (5661) you <5209>, and <2532> persecute <1377> (5661) you, and <2532> shall say <2036> (5632) all manner <3956> of evil <4190> <4487> against <2596> you <5216> falsely <5574> (5730), for my sake <1752> <1700>.12 Rejoice <5463> (5720), and <2532> be exceeding glad <21> (5737): for <3754> great <4183> is your <5216> reward <3408> in <1722> heaven <3772>: for <1063> so <3779> persecuted they <1377> (5656) the prophets <4396> which <3588> were before <4253> you <5216>.
Shalom to the despised, persecuted and ill thought of, spoken falsely against for the sake of Him who is in them. They shall rejoice for their reward in Heaven is among the prophets, who are their fellow sufferers and brothers.
Every valley will be exalted, and every hill will be made low. We know this for He has said it. We do not look to the world for justice, but are secure in the knowledge of our reward, based not on our works, but in our participation in His finished work on the cross.

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