Wednesday, May 14, 2014
May 14: Secrets to life, #1
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:3-5 NET)
The Sermon on the Mount — the longest single example of Jesus’ preaching in the Bible — begins with the Beatitudes, a list of nine different qualities, and why people with those qualities should be considered blessed… or made happy by God. These nine promises for people of faith paint a picture of the type of person that is saved and knows God.
The first promise is for the “poor in spirit”, or humble. Salvation and citizenship in God’s kingdom can only be taken hold of by people who are willing to accept God, give up their own ways and thoughts, and be obedient to Him. It’s no small coincidence that pride made Satan into what he is right now, and so we can conclude that pride in us will do the same thing. Though we see pride in Christians as a whole, in Churches, and even among pastors, we need to understand that this is the worst sin a person can commit, because it makes us blind. A proud person cannot listen to anyone else, or admit that he/she is wrong. It’s no mistake that Jesus mentioned this quality first; it’s the most common and the most dangerous. But when we determine to be humble, God’s kingdom in ours.
The second promise is about those who “mourn”. We normally associate joy and peace with Christians, not crying and sadness. And yet, how can we be happy at the state of the world around us, at the number of people that are being lost, at the increase in addictions, or at one-in-three children in the US being fatherless. These things have to make a real man or woman of God mourn. Though we have joy about our salvation and relationship with God, we cannot have joy about the world we live in. One part of us mourns, while another part of us is filled with joy.
“Mourning” also refers to the sadness we should all have towards our own sins. As children of God we need to be aware of our sin, and to grieve over the fact that we fall short of God’s establish standards. And yet, when we do mourn for sin, God will come with His comfort, forgiveness, and transforming power. Anyone that does not mourn over sin, is a person that’s spiritually blind and out of touch.
The third promise is for the “meek”… the compliant, the obedient. Amazingly God promises that these people will inherit the earth. We’re used to seeing the proud, rich, and arrogant taking over the world and trampling everyone else under foot, but here God contradicts human reasoning and determines that those who please Him will take possession. This is God’s way of rewarding those who have the character and courage to be meek… meek toward God, not toward the devil. Towards God we have to be flexible and obedient, and towards the devil we have to be stubborn and unmoving.
Start developing these three qualities — humility, mourning, and meekness — and these three promises will come true for you.
(Tomorrow we will discuss more of the Beatitudes)