Tag Archives: blessed

Beatitudes: Mourning

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

We always assume that when someone is in mourning it’s because they’ve lost a loved one. Or maybe they’ve suffered a heartbreak. We never think of mourning as being genuinely sorry for something that we’ve done wrong. Most of the time, we aren’t sorry. For the most part, people don’t care about others’ feelings. We hide behind “Good intentions” or my personal favorite, “No one’s perfect.” Sometimes we go as far as to say, “God will fix this for me.”

“I cheated on you.”
“I lied to you.”
“He took the money from your purse.”

It’s easy to confess our sins with statements made with no emotional connection behind them. However, it’s not easy to feel bad about doing it. Guilt is one of the worst feelings in this world. In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus isn’t talking about those who suffer a broken heart at the loss of a loved one, but those who suffer from guilt.

He says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” This says a lot about Jesus and His heart. Sin is terrible and leads us down a dark road. However, when we feel remorse for what we’ve done, Jesus considers us to be “Blessed.” In the last Beatitude, I talked about the word, Blessed, and how it’s used in a different way than what we’re used to.

To recap, we use that word to refer to something good, usually materialistic things. We’re “Blessed” with a new car or “Blessed” with money. I’m “Blessed” because I got a new job that’ll pay all of my bills. We’re also “Blessed” with children. These are just examples. However, God doesn’t just bless us with abundance, He blesses us with the trials in our lives. He finds us to be blessed when we humble ourselves before Him.

In this circumstance, He finds us our guilt as a blessing because it’s the first step to use becoming a better person. If we feel bad for the things we are doing, we won’t want to do them anymore. This means that we’ll be less likely to do them in the future and sin won’t control our lives anymore. God wants what’s best for us and that is a life without sin. Making the decision not to sin anymore starts us on our road to becoming a better person.

And He is there to comfort us. God wants us to heal from the bad things we’ve done. When we ask for forgiveness we’re wiped clean and what’s happened is in the past. It’s a comforting thought to know that God will always be there to catch us when we fall.

“(21) So I myself find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. (22) For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; (23) but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. (24) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? (25) Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[a] a slave to the law of sin.” – Romans 7:21-25

People need to go from “It’s too hard” to “It’s hard, but I can’t do this anymore.” Paul makes a great statement about the spiritual war that goes on in a Christian’s mind when it comes to sin. We live in the world, but we aren’t supposed to be of it. The world is a bad place full of sin and deception. In the world, everything is permissible. Sex before marriage, lies, cheating, jealousy, gluttony, and pride. It’s all about “Me.” In Jesus’ parable, Lamp on a Stand, He describes a Christian as the light of the world. The world is full of darkness and Christians are to be the light that shines through the darkness.

However, it’s hard to be a Christian. Sure it’s easy to believe in God, go to church, sing the songs, and read your bible. But actually fully relying on Him for everything you need and putting your life in His hands isn’t easy. We’re such prideful creatures, often not wanting to admit that we need help. Not wanting to follow His commandments because it’s more fun to sin than not to. From this, we think of ourselves as a slave of God. We begin to think of Him as a dictator and not a father. This way of thinking leaves us not wanting to follow the commandments which make us start to sin. Over and over we fall back into the same loop of Temptation, sin, guilt, and repentance.

Throughout this study, I realized how much I related to this Beatitude at this point in my life. When I was saved I’d feel remorse for everything I’d done, and over the course of time, I’d feel bad immediately after I’d done them. However, there came a point when I would feel bad and not do anything about it. I wouldn’t ask for forgiveness or try to do better. Then I stopped feeling bad completely.

When I finally decided to come back to God (Yes, it is a choice), I didn’t feel bad for my sins. I didn’t feel bad for not listening to Him or even denying He was there. I didn’t feel bad for praying for the wrong things and insulting His intelligence. It scared me to death! I wondered how I let my heart harden so much that I couldn’t feel remorse and be forgiven.

I don’t know how many other Christians have felt this way. In fact, I thought there was something wrong with me prior to this study. If you are going through something like this as well, or maybe you’re not, this is my piece of advice that God has shown me. Pray about it. Ask God to help you come back to His arms. He’ll open your heart to feel the remorse you need to feel to fully repent of your sins.

Our God is good and sometimes He asks us to do things that don’t match what society expects us to do. That’s the Beatitudes in a nutshell. The eight characteristics of a Christian are the opposite of how the world expects you to be. In the world, if you feel sorry for something bad you’ve done, that’s not right. It isn’t normal and you’re strange. But feeling sorry for something you’ve done makes you blessed in the eyes of God.

Picture via crosswalk.com

Beatitudes: Poor In Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3

When we think of being “poor,” good things don’t come to our minds. I always think about not having a lot and always struggling to be able to survive in this world. The hard times, having to pinch every penny, and the buyer’s remorse every time you spend anything. Even when it’s something you absolutely need like food or personal hygiene products. Being “Poor” sucks.

However, there are good things that come out of being poor. I always think back to “The Pursuit of Happiness” with Will Smith and how the man in the movie struggled. Following a business adventure that would make his family a lot of money, but ended up being one of the worst investments of his life. His wife left him and his son. He had to live in homeless shelters and even turned against a good friend of his for sixteen dollars! Then a job opportunity came that he couldn’t refuse. He worked hard and did his best to charm the bosses until they offered him the job, and it changed his life. Now the man who the movie is about now lives a really good.

I think the best life lessons come from when you start at the bottom. It keeps you grounded as your success grows and reminds you of where you came from. Many people who struggled at one point in their life end up helping a lot of people through their own charities and fundraiser events. Most of the time it’s aimed towards people who find themselves in the exact situation they were in before.

Let’s look at some more good things that come out of being poor.

1. You are thankful for what you have – You may not have a lot or be able to give everything your family wants, but you have enough. There’s a level of happiness that is found in this situation because, honestly, you don’t need a lot of stuff. Stuff is stuff. At the end of the day, what does it really do for you?

2. Relying on God – Let’s face it. There are some people who have to decide which bills they’re going to pay that month. How terrible to think about! This gives us reasons to rely on God. He promises that He’ll give for us the things we need. I’ve come to notice that even when I feel that I’m not being provided for, I am. (Matthew 6:31-32)

3. You’re Humbled – Admitting you need help isn’t a weakness. In fact, it takes a seriously large amount of strength to turn away from your pride like that. When we come before God and ask for His help, or for ANYONE’S help, there’s something that happens within us. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather admit that I need help and get it than not to and struggle. When we humble ourselves, we understand that we have no control.

So what does that have to do with our spirits? Jesus wants us to take all the good lessons that we learn through being “Poor” and apply them to our spirits. While we’re probably not poor on the outside, He wants us to act poor on the inside. Be thankful for everything that we have whether it’s a lot or a little. Trust in Him no matter if we are in a good place or a bad place. Realize that we aren’t in control of our own lives and give the control to Him.

Since the beatitudes are the opposite of what the world expects us to be, what is the opposite of being poor in spirit? If we aren’t poor in spirit then we are proud. We aren’t thankful for what God provides, we don’t rely on God for what we need, and we never accept help or admit that we need it.

“(17) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (18) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. (19) Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” – Revelation 3:17-19

The church of Laodicea was a lot like this. In Revelation 3:17-19, John sends a letter to tell them what Jesus wants them to know. They think they are rich and don’t need anything. You can think of their city as being like the United States. We don’t really need anything. Sure jobs, a less amount of homeless people and food stamps, etc. All those would be nice, but we have a lot more than a lot of other countries. In fact, I make more in a week than a lot of people live off in a year. Crazy, right?

These people were wealthy and comfortable. Let me put it into perspective. If you are happy at your job, with your home, your spouse, your children, and your material wealth, what do you need? Nothing, right? Wrong. No matter what situation you’re in, you always need God. All of these things that make you happy are temporary. What happens if you lose it all? Do you suddenly need God now? God doesn’t want you to only need Him when it’s convient to you. He wants you to need Him ALL THE TIME.

There are other forms of wealth than just material things. A lot of people in the church are under the impression that they are “spiritually wealthy.” Meaning that they have their salvation, wisdom and understanding, and the Holy Spirit. However, that is usually not the case. A lot of the time people lose sight of this beatitude in their hearts. We become what people call, “High and mighty.”

This is why Jesus calls us to be Poor in Spirit. If we’re supposed to live our lives for Him, that means serving Him and His people. You can’t serve and help others if you are too high and mighty. If you are so prideful in yourself and what you think your salvation is.

In 5:3, Jesus says that to be “Poor in Spirit,” is to be blessed. This goes the opposite direction of what we consider being “Blessed” is. When you hear some say they’re blessed, what comes to your mind? Usually that something grand happened to them or that they don’t have a single worry. They’re blessed because they came across a lot of money, got a new car, found a house, etc. But here Jesus says that if you are poor in your own state of mind, then you’re blessed.

What He’s really saying is that it’s better to humble yourself and be a light to others than to be prideful and be “Above” others. When you don’t humble yourself, you don’t care about others and their situations. You start to think that you can control your own life. Eventually, you leave the arms of Jesus.

So what does being Poor in spirit mean to you? Are you more prideful or humble? What in your life have caused you to humble yourself? When do you consider yourself blessed? Remember, there’s no right or wrong answers. We are all at different stages of our lives and our faith. Sometimes we continuously fall back into these stages. However, this is how God wants us to be. This is how His son was and still is to this day. The whole point of being a Christian isn’t just to love God and find salvation in His son. It’s also to follow His teachings and be like Him. Even though we could never live up to His standards.

Picture via torrahclub.ffoz.org