Monday, March 8, 2010

"That is what God has called you to do..."

I am amazed at the greatness of my foolish pride; the shear amount of energy focused on myself and my intentions.

Last Monday night at bible study my teacher referenced the sermon on the mount and my attention was taken to the first thing Jesus says : "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

I have since been wrestling with the questions "Who are the poor in spirit? Are there rich in spirit? Will the rich in spirit then not inherit the Kingdom of heaven?"

I had the opportunity Thursday night to join my friends from The Roots Community in bible study to ask and talk out some of my thoughts. This is the conclusion I came to: the poor in spirit are those that need Jesus. That's me. That's you. That's everyone.

Here is how I got there.

Genesis 6:5 says this:
The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (emphasis added.)

Jeremiah 17:9 says this:
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?

Psalm 53:3 says this:
Everyone has turned away,
they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.

The simple truth is that I am poor in spirit.

But here is what I struggle with in my mind; God made me and in His there must be something good in me right? And to be transparent, I have not settle this within my self yet.

My buddy Doug says that we have heard it suggested that man is good and it was because of that goodness that God stepped down in His compassion to save us. He also says that this is not what the scriptures teach.

So this takes me back to my pride. How foolish, vain, and blatantly arrogant for me to think so highly of myself. The truth is that I do believe these passages of scripture that show me who I am, but my thoughts and actions also prove otherwise. Because I think if I really believed that I needed Jesus the way the scriptures describe that I do, then these words of His would have more action in my life:
“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Luke 6:32-36

I like the way Peter sums it up:
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 1 Peter 3:8-9

Pay them back with a blessing.

How simple yet profoundly difficult to do. It is simple in light of how much energy I spend on judgement, justification, self assurance, retaliation, revenge or future avoidance. And it was brought to my attention that it is only so hard because I have not fully recognized and acknowledged that this is exactly what Christ has done for me.

He loves me when I do not love Him.

He does good to me when I do not do good to Him.

He lends to me what I cannot repay.

He is kind to me when I am unfaithful and wicked.

What a generous God . And he has called us to be generous like He is generous "so that we may take hold of the life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:19).

Jesus, you have blessed me and called me to be a blessing to others. I believe you, but my actions prove otherwise; help me in my unbelief. I long to take you at your word. Thank you for your grace that never condemns but always corrects. I confess to You my foolish, foolish pride; I am so poor in spirit. Help me to stop comparing myself with others but to remember the truth and greatness of my own depravity. You are the blessing.

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