blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Matthew 5:1-3 (ESV)

1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

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

So what does it mean to be poor in spirit?

Does it literally mean poor? Penniless? Destitute?

Is Jesus not talking about a spiritual state here rather than a temporal one?

I imagine He is telling them that those who inherit the kingdom of heaven need to be humble. Empty of pride. Devoid of haughtiness.

If we are to receive God’s forgiveness then this makes perfect sense.

For it is when we acknowledge our failings before Christ – our sinfulness and rejection of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ – that we can then receive the many “blessings” of God.

Like David in Psalm 51, we need to come before our maker, asking for a “clean heart”.

We need to heed the words of Jesus and “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

It is through this simple action that our relationship with the author and sustainer of life can be restored.

Yet ironically this restitution is not the result of our own efforts, so that we cannot “boast”, but through God’s saving grace (2 Corinthians 10:17).

For lauding our cleverness and spiritual insight is the antithesis of humility. And that is essentially what’s at the heart of this passage.

Kim+

prayer : help me not to be proud or boastful LORD but instead contrite and humble

action : practice humility and “boast in the cross” (Galatians 6:14)

when the Spirit of truth comes … he will glorify me

John 16:13-14 (ESV)

13 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

The “me” refers to Jesus Christ.

If you’ve ever wondered about the role of the Holy Spirit, this sums it up pretty well.

He glorifies God.

It’s not about receiving spiritual gifts. Although that can enable us to glorify God.

It is about “declaring … the things that are to come”. The truth.

And the truth is that Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

There is no other way.

Kim+

prayer : thank you for the knowledge of your truth

action : speak the truth (Zechariah 8:16)

you were washed

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)

It’s easy to read this passage and point the finger at “wrongdoers” (another translation for the “unrighteous”).

Yet, as Paul so clearly points out at the end, some of the listeners were once exactly like those he describes.

In fact, the only thing that “makes” them righteous is the blood-of-Christ as it washes them clean.

Better that we should spend a lot less time condemning the practices of others and more time “repenting” of our own sins (Luke 1:3).

We don’t condone sinful behaviour. But neither are we to “judge” it. That’s God’s responsibility (Matthew 7:1ff).

What we should be doing is “loving our neighbour” in genuine and practical ways (Luke 10:36).

For like Jesus, we should “desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13 – quoting Hosea 6:6).

Kim+

prayer : forgive my unrepentant heart: my pride, my greed, my lust

action : share the grace of God through merciful actions

fan into flame

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV)

I love the imagery here. The raw energy behind the elemental strength of fire. It’s eagerness to spread quickly from a tiny spark into a huge conflagration.

This is perhaps the reason I want to start this new blog. So I can fan into flame the gift God has graciously given me.

It’s too easy to hide behind a mask. To pretend to be someone or something we’re not. Or simply denying who we really are.

Afraid of what people might say. What they might do. How they might treat us.

Rejection. Persecution.

But I’m a Christian and there’s no reason to be ashamed of the gospel.

It has the power to heal. To redeem and restore. To renew and regenerate.

To save lives.

Kim+

prayer : that I would be bold in proclaiming my faith

action : “love” others through the gift God has granted to me

one

“There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6 (ESV)

There is so much packed into these three verses that’s it’s hard to do them justice in a short daily quiet time.

Clearly the overriding message is unity – the one Paul speaks of – which he specifically mentioned in the preceding verse.

I find it a reassuring passage. A message that makes me feel included.

One that gives me nice, warm fuzzies. Like I’m wrapped up in the comforting embrace of “God the Father”: protecting me, comforting me, loving me.

Perhaps this is not the purpose of the passage.

The one “body” spoken of is no doubt the church: the company of fellow believers; our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And like a body, each of us fulfills different roles. This is something Paul deals with in greater detail towards the end of the chapter.

For now I’ll bask in the knowledge that I am in Him and He is in me.

Kim+

prayer : that I will act as if I am one with Him

action : seek to be more Christ-like each and every day