Matthew 5:3-6 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.“
Last week I spoke of pride being the spiritual cancer in humanity. Romans 12:3 tells us to think of ourselves with sober judgment, each according to the faith given to us. These verses precede instruction on serving the church. And there are two good reasons for this:
- We are to not think highly of ourselves in a sense that we have ‘earned’ the right serve God in any capacity, let alone be mercifully saved through Christ.
- It is according to the measure of faith that God has given us.
Faith is the Opposite of Pride
I find this last statement quite provocative, as it states that it’s God who gives us faith. I am not to going elaborate on this in this blog as I don’t want to detract from the primary message here. However one point I feel it highlights is that our focus is to be on Christ and not ourselves. That is what faith is. It’s the opposite of pride. To have faith in Christ is to be completely dependent on Him.
So why have I quoted the first four beatitudes above? Well, I feel it draws out the key ingredient we need before we even try to exercise any spiritual gifts… humility. Be poor in spirit, mourn our sinfulness, think lowly of ourselves in the sense that we don’t deserve salvation from God. This all reflects a contrite, broken and humbled heart. This world may look upon that as being weak. Quite the contrary. It shows strength of character and highlights the work of the Holy Spirit within our heart to bring us before the God of grace. Paul summarises the preceding 11 chapters in Romans 12:1 ‘by the mercies of God’ as the motivating factor to living for Him. We don’t deserve His mercy. We don’t deserve His favour because we have all rebelled against Him.
Not What we Deserve
Even the most ‘godly people’ don’t deserve God’s favour. People like Mother Theresa and Billy Graham don’t deserve salvation any more then you or me. If that statement troubles or angers us, then we may not fully appreciate the state and consequences of our sinful lives before our holy and righteous God. However if we begin to understand and appreciate how depraved we are without God’s grace in our lives, then our whole paradigm or view on life will take a major shift. Suddenly, it’s not about how good I have been, but how good and gracious Christ is. It’s not about what we deserve, but rather gratefully accepting what we don’t deserve… salvation through faith in Christ alone. When we begin to comprehend even an ounce of the mercy of God in saving us, despite our rebellion towards Him, we will dare not place demands on Him any more.
We dare not put God on trial!
We will will no longer put God on trial because we disagree with something we perceive as evil or tragic in the world. We won’t think of God as heartless or unjust if we feel injustice has occurred. We won’t question our Master to the point of thinking He has done it all wrong… and that maybe we could do it even better – what arrogance! We won’t think this, because we’ll realise that it’s in accordance with God’s love and grace that we are saved and adopted into His family as coheirs to all that He has! Sure we will have questions that will bug us as well as not understanding much of what happens in our lives. Its’ ok to sincerely ask and wrestle with God about these things. However we must continue to humbly trust that God has His sovereign hands on our lives and that He will work out all things in accordance with His good and perfect will. We are safe. We are secure. We are in the Master’s hands. We must always keep the big picture in mind, especially in times of hardship and confusion.
When we embrace this truth, this reality for all those who have faith in Jesus Christ, we realise that in our spiritual poverty, our souls become rich; in our brokenness, we are made whole; through our humility we are given so much.
And what is all this for?
So we can hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness in serving and building up others in the grace of God.
There is absolutely nothing more satisfying!