by Karen Kurth
‘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 5:2-12, NIV)
The local church that I work with is reading the New Testament together this summer. Then, every Wednesday evening someone shares from what we read together. I made sure that I signed up right away in order to “get it over with.” I know, nice and spiritual. This left me with reading and meditating on Matthew chapters 1–20. Daunting. I read through the chapters swiftly and then I went back and stayed in Matthew chapter 5. I remained in the beatitudes.
I saw something that I never saw before. In my NIV Bible it says blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn. I thought, “How can a person be blessed by being poor?” I looked up the word blessed in my dictionary. The main meaning is “made holy, sanctified”!
I don’t know about you, but I have thought of blessed as some sort of reward. Blessed with good health. Blessed with riches. I receive something when I am blessed.
According to this definition, God thinks that being made holy is the best I can receive. And the process of being made holy is started with my attitude. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Made holy are the ones who know how much they need God. Made holy are those who mourn for their sin and the sin of the whole world. Made holy are the ones who submit to God and His authority. Made holy are the ones who work for peace, for they are God’s children. Made holy are the ones who are treated badly for their faith, mocked for being born again.
Submission, dependence, gentleness, burning for justice—these are the attitudes that allow God to change us?!
I thought, our holiness comes through Jesus. It’s a gift. It’s the only thing we will take into eternity.
How do I abide in this? Abide = obey, comply with, follow. That’s what the dictionary says. I thought abide meant to spend time with, to remain. If I put feet on the word abide, it becomes quite the action verb.
Could it mean choosing the salad over the lasagna most of the time? There’s nothing wrong with the lasagna, but the salad will provide me with energy I need.
Could it mean really practicing the Examen every evening? This is something I struggle to do claiming the excuse of tiredness. Then I lose sleep because I’ve held onto what I should have given to Jesus.
Could it mean speaking up when I’m inclined to want to please the crowd?
I can do that. With Jesus, I can do that.
Warmly in Christ,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV)
- What spiritual practice(s) is God nudging you toward that would facilitate transformation in your life?
- In what way can I actively abide with Jesus today?