Sunday, September 12, 2010

you are blessed when you are poor in spirit

I’m not believing this…I forgot the first blessing for those who are poor in spirit! Maybe I forgot it because it one I have always had difficulty understanding. Poor in spirit has always seemed demeaning and unattractive and something I couldn’t achieve. But I have always known that it is something that Jesus saw as beautiful… desired…something I could acquire.

How does one become “poor in spirit?” Is it “Oh don’t mind little-ole me…I’m no one…I’m nothing” kind of person? Is it a person that just lays down and lets people walk all over him? I just could not understand what this blessing meant.

That’s why I am particularly impressed with the way Mr. Lucado explained it in The Applause of Heaven:

“Mark it down. God does not save us because of what we’ve done. Only a puny god could be bought with tithes. Only an egotistical god would be impressed with our pain. Only a temperamental god could be satisfied by sacrifices. Only a heartless god would see salvation to the highest bidders.
(My side note: doesn’t the above sound just like a god that a man would create….hmmm…I think that was the god sometimes explained to me as a child….)“And only a great God does for his children what they can’t do for themselves.” (Hey…you mean God is going to help me with this?! So, that means I need to be looking for help from him…expecting help from him…)

I really like what Max goes on to say:
“God’s delight is received upon surrender, not awarded upon conquest. The first step to joy is a plea for help, an acknowledgement of moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity. Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual crisis. Their cupboards are bare. Their pockets are empty. Their options are gone. They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy.”

I don’t know about you, but I have been in this bankrupt place. I have hit the bottom…all of my earthly support systems have been jerked out from under me…all that I believed in was questioned and this left me unsure…with nothing that I thought I had…

Lucado goes on to tell of four people in the scriptures who had encounters with God: Sarah, Peter, Paul and the rich young ruler. All four of these people “hit the bottom” of their personal resources, of the four, three recognized their need for God…the other one, the young ruler, could only think of all the ways he was sufficient and acceptable to God. The three in need, received new names…the one young and rich, who did not need anything…went down in history never mentioned by name.

As Max explains:
“Perhaps that’s the clearest explanation of the first beatitude. The one who made a name for himself is nameless. But the ones who called on Jesus’ name-and his name only-got new names and, even more, new life.”

I will tell you right now…when I reached the end of myself (and it was a painful, desperate place), God was right there waiting for me…He had everything I ever needed, and I knew I had no other option than to accept it.

Wow! I’m wondering what my new name is…I’m excited to find out…
Lord, please bless my poverty of spirit,