It’s been a slow soaking-in, this time with the Beatitudes of Matthew 5. Because it’s more than a list of commands or promises…and I’m praying that it all sinks deep within my heart, where my motivations and desires are rooted…
These words of our Savior, they give us an eternal perspective…this is the big picture, the point of it all…He is showing us that it isn’t the present circumstance that should concern us, but the state of our hearts…and if our hearts line up with His, then His blessing is ours. And if we have the blessing of God, then we have hope. A forever kind of hope that nothing can take away from us (the (non) pursuit of happiness kind of hope).
He began with this: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Are you poor in spirit? Have you come to the place where you can see yourself clearly enough to know that, in all truth, you have nothing and are nothing without Him?
“For by Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:16&16). He is the reason we move and live and breathe…and even though we are sin-touched, broken, and dusty and He is King of all, exalted over heaven and earth…He chooses us.
When we understand that we can’t even begin to reach Him, it is the greatest joy to understand that He has already come to us, already prepared the way to restore our souls through His own Son, who was willing to empty Himself of His life in order that we might receive it in abundance and eternally.
Sometimes we fail to realize the gift He gave for us…we can’t open up to receive it because we are holding onto the things of this earth with fingers tightly clenched, fighting for more and more, even though we are never satisfied by what we gain. Still prodigal sons and daughters, we believe that everything we want is out in this world…we feast on the glamour of Hollywood, the seductive kiss, the success and the pretty tune of today’s false promises of a beauty that can be bought and achievement that only fuels us to go after the next best thing…
…but it is when we admit that we are still empty of any worth…when everything we’ve held as treasure leaves us still in need…when we are weary of holding onto things that bring us heart-ache…when we understand that our bitterness, our ‘wants’, our sins have blocked us from the true source of life…it is then that we will come home, with nothing to offer and only hoping He’ll allow us to remain in His presence.
But He doesn’t leave us empty. No — our Father will take away all that weighs us down and instead fills us with every good and perfect gift. He loves us and is for us! I marvel at this truth! And in this world and the next, we want for nothing because He dwells with us…what grace, that He would forgive us for our selfish choices, make our hearts new in the here and now, and give us the hope of eternity in His presence!
It’s the most beautiful paradox — by becoming empty of our “self”, we gain everything we need. Just as Jesus told us…”whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
We can cry out with the psalmist — “Whom have I in heaven but you? and earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart my fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!” (73:25-26))
For you, my friends, I echo Paul’s prayer…
“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” ~Ephesians 3:16-19