“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
– Matthew 5:3-12
“When we first read the statements of Jesus, they seem wonderfully simple and unstartling, and they sink unnoticed into our subconscious minds. For instance, the Beatitudes initially seem to be merely soothing and beautiful precepts for overly spiritual and seemingly useless people, but of very little practical use in the rigid, fast-paced workdays of the world in which we live. We soon find, however, that the Beatitudes contain the “dynamite” of the Holy Spirit. And they “explode” when the circumstances of our lives cause them to do so. When the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance one of the Beatitudes, we say, “What a startling statement that is!” Then we must decide whether or not we will accept the tremendous spiritual upheaval that will be produced in our circumstances if we obey His words. That is the way the Spirit of God works. We do not need to be born again to apply the Sermon on the Mount literally. The literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount is as easy as child’s play. But the interpretation by the Spirit of God as He applies our Lord’s statements to our circumstances is the strict and difficult work of a saint.
“The teachings of Jesus are all out of proportion when compared to our natural way of looking at things, and they come to us initially with astonishing discomfort. We gradually have to conform our walk and conversation to the precepts of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit applies them to our circumstances. The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations— it is a picture of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His unhindered way with us.”
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Are you having one of those days when you feel all alone, crushed by an evil world that is closing in on all sides?
We have all had those days. Jesus assured His disciples that a Counselor would arrive. That Counselor, or Advocate, would remain with them. Yes, the Holy Spirit is there for you right now. You are not alone.
Each time we are faced with a Beatitude-Type moment, we are tempted to throw in the towel or stray from the teachings that Jesus gave us. An uninformed voice says, “Don’t just sit there, do something!” But is that the right response? We may not understand why, but in being faithful to Jesus, we are truly blessed and will be greater blessed as time goes on.
I have mentioned the following incident before in other writings, but the lesson needs to be repeated. I had arranged for an evangelist to come to our church. He had Friday through Saturday meetings (besides preaching on Sunday) with various demographic groups: elderly, youth, parents with small children, families, men, women, whatever. I left set-up for the first event with my team and I drove to the airport to pick up the evangelist. His flight schedule was last minute, but his flight was delayed. That meant we were already behind. To top it off, traffic from the airport toward Pittsburgh was always bad at the time he arrived. Although we were not going downtown, we would get caught in the gridlock before we reached our exit.
I made some comment about how I was praying that we would not be going to arrive at the church too late. He stopped me to pray with me. My first reaction was an unspoken plea, “Could we at least get out of the busiest road at the airport (where people picked up relatives and friends outside baggage claim)?!” Then a voice said, “You are not in that big of a hurry. Prayer is important.”
The evangelist prayed something along the lines of this. “God, I praise your name. Great things will happen this weekend. Satan does not work this hard unless he is running scared. Thank you. All the details are in Your hands. Amen.”
I had parked as close as possible to baggage claim. We made our way onto what was the Parkway West, now called an Interstate spur. When we got to the area where my wife and I do most of our shopping, I thought we would come to a complete stop, especially since it was Friday afternoon at rush hour. But the right-hand lane was still moving at near interstate speed, while the left lane was almost stopped. Once we reached our exit, the traffic opened completely. We arrived at the church just as the first session was scheduled to start. We were only delayed because he needed to change into a costume and I needed to make copies of the handouts that he handed me on the way into the church.
I mentioned in a comment reply to the post entitled Unproductive Fear, that much of our fear is imagined. We fear what is around the next bend in the road. On that day, I feared gridlock. On any other Friday, the gridlock would have led to an hour delay or longer in arriving at the church, but the God that we love is a sovereign God. It may not be like the parting of the Red Sea, but parting the traffic was a miracle.
So, when you next have a moment when you feel poor in spirit, or you are mourning, or you feel so meek that you are being pushed around by everyone, or you hunger and thirst for righteousness… (I think you get the idea.) remember Chambers last sentence in the quote above.
“The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations— it is a picture of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His unhindered way with us.”
And remember that God is a miracle worker. Our troubles are nothing compared to His strength.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.