Friday, 8 April 2022

To Be or Not To Be

 Scripture:  Matthew 5 v 3 - 12: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 
12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

The above verses are commonly known as the Beatitudes because they include all the things we should be in our attitude as ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.

Blessed are the poor in spirit.  This does not relate to poverty.  It does not say blessed are the poor.  To be poor in spirit means to be meek and humble, not proud and arrogant.  Proverbs 16 v 18 - 19: "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
19  Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud."

From this Proverb another was fashioned - pride goes before a fall.  So to stay upright we need to become humble, not boastful or full of ourselves, because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.  In the context of this Beatitude and in verse 5, we gain the Kingdom of Heaven, and the meek shall inherit the Earth.

Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.  We mourn the loss of a loved one, even those who move far away, but our God comforts us in the midst of sorrow in many profound ways.

I was in sorrow when my son had a mountain bike accident on a dirt road and broke both bones in his forearm.  They had broken through his skin and been seriously ploughed into some very unsavoury terrain.  The doctor who operated on his arm was very worried that a dreadful infection would set in to those open ends of the bones.

He went to extremes of cleansing and sterilizing those bones, even leaving this large wound down his arm open for a week to be flushed out daily.  When no infection appeared, around the titanium plates and pins or on the bones, he closed the wound.  

During this week Sean felt no pain, there was no swelling at all.  He did not even need an aspirin after the operation.  The wound healed perfectly to the doctors complete amazement.  Jesus is the Healer, who not only fixed the arm, but my heart far away too.

If we hunger and thirst for righteousness, it begins with us needing to have such a deep longing for the absolute righteousness God requires, that we will apply ourselves to getting rid of everything that offends Him, that demeans or defiles us, or others around us.  It's a lifelong quest, can be a rollercoaster ride, but don't quit as we will be filled.

The merciful will obtain mercy.  Don't hold grudges.  Forgive everyone everything and God will forgive us and cleanse us of every sin.  If we are bitter and unforgiving, we are also not forgiven and in danger of our Father allowing the tormentors to discipline us.  Matthew 18 v 34 - 35: "And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."  Words of Jesus.

The tormentors could be debts, strife in the home, arthritis, heart disease, alcoholism, fears, nightmares, in fact anything that gets our attention back on God and in crying out for mercy He will remind us to be merciful.  He responds to our right attitude.

The pure in heart shall see God.  He reveals Himself to those who have pure hearts.  It may be a long path to reach pure hearts for some but it can be done and in order to truly see Him we need all the purity we can get.

The peacemakers will be called the children of God.  When we are born again we become His children again, reconciled to our Father by the death of Jesus.  That death meant total separation from God.  He cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"  He was forsaken so that we could know and love our Father again.  He made peace for us and we must do it for those still lost in the wilderness of sin.  

When we earnestly endeavour to win souls and fulfil righteousness the world, and even some Christians, will persecute us, revile us, speak evil of us and shun our company.  Some will be imprisoned and tortured to reject their faith in Jesus.  This persecution is growing more intense and truly those who do not compromise will spend eternity in Heaven.

We have to remain steadfast in our faith so that the world can see our light and receive the seeds of truth and by prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, be drawn to repentance at the Cross of Jesus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, it may take us a lifetime to achieve all the correct attitudes to be perfect but we are a work in progress, and we thank You for Your patience.  Help us over every difficult patch so we become pure, merciful, peacemakers.  In Jesus' name. Amen.