By: Jana Greene
Finally, I’m beginning the series about the Beatitudes, and exploring the differences between experiencing happiness and living in the state of Blessedness.
One is what you feel, the other is a state in which you live.
I’d like to share with you what God has revealed to me through the Beatitudes – one single item at a time.
For the next 8 days, it’s my goal to post a piece every night at 6:30 p.m. Texts will be taken from The Message translation of the Bible, unless otherwise noted. The Beatitudes can be found in Matthew 5.
Today’s Beatitude is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV)
I’m no expert on this subject – no theologian. I only know what each of the Beatitudes has looked like in real time, as it ever-reveals itself to me. And now – hopefully for you.
Are you in a place where the Biblical Beatitudes seem like shallow platitudes?
Are you flummoxed by some of the language used by Jesus, as He explains who qualifies as “blessed.”
Does it seem like He is speaking in riddles all throughout the Beatitudes? At times, even His own followers implored him to use simple words!
It sometimes seemed like that to me, too. But as I go slowly, (oh. So. Slowly.) Through Seminary and personal study, I am learning that many of the original texts were written in Greek – a language with so many more nuances than King James ever dreamed of. Much is lost in translation.
“When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said: – Matthew 5:1
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”
When I read this passage, I am not thinking joy. I am not thinking shallow happiness.
I am not thinking, ‘Hooboy! I wish I were at the very end of my rope so I could feel BLESSED!’
It sounds counter-intuitive to everything we’ve learned about the way life works, because it is the complete opposite of this world’s workings.
Nobody ever wishes to be hanging on by a thread, because it’s so uncomfortable to our Spirits to be in that place. People who thank God in the midst of trouble FOR the trouble must be higher evolved spiritually than myself, because truthfully, I don’t really want anything to do with that ‘rope’ at all.
Especially the ‘end’ of it.
If I’m honest, I also really don’t want to identify as ‘poor.’
You see, in the study of the NIV translation, “poor in spirit” is the term used to assure you that you are blessed. “Are you in Spiritual poverty?” Jesus asks. “Well, come on down! Come sit by me and be Blessed.”
Not blessed later.
Blessed in the midst of Spiritual Poverty.
What does that mean anyway, spiritual poverty? For me, it means staying a desperate beggar for more of God. It means knowing you are not in charge, and being thankful that you aren’t.
Yes, we are children of the Most High God, and yes, He lives IN us. Holy Spirit is already here with and in us. I know that there are rabid opinions about this issue (are we Royals and should operate as such, and that we are beggars no more) but truthfully, I am okay with being a beggar.
I never want to lose that primal desperation to have a deeper relationship with Christ. I never want to lose that worshipful desperation. And I’m not going to apologize for that.
Every single day, I can come to God and ask for His help in maintaining my strong-but-occasionally-rusty, 17-year old recovery, for example. Even though I know He is ‘in da house’ – the Kingdom of God is within us – I invite Him deeper, and his love acts as a salve for my mind.
My heart knows “It is Finished” and He already lives in me. But sometimes my mind gets awfully forgetful.
There I meet my inner Beggar – sometimes at the end of her rope – desperate as always for the comfort of Jesus. And in doing so, become poor in spirit – in need of ever more intimate relationship with the One who Blesses.
It’s the place where you tell Jesus “Hey, I got NUTHIN’ here, Brother.”
It’s the place where you cannot see any possible way out.
It’s the place where Jesus shows up – invited or not – hallelujah!
When you are at the end of your rope, and feeling like your Spirit is impoverished, there is no self-promotion. There is no energy to fix and do and manipulate. On the contrary. The “I decrease so that you increase, God” modus operandi comes into play so fully that the Father is bound by duty to rescue us.
Who else among my readers has been at the end of their proverbial rope? Are you there now? Are you poor of Spirit, feeling like you have no well to draw from and nothing to pull from to bless others?
You are BLESSED, Kiddo! Right here. Right now.
Rope can be used to hang us. But it can also be used to lift us up out of our poverty of mind and soul. And even though the end of a rope sounds pretty ominous, what will you meet if your hands get tired and slip off of the lifeline? Trust that your feet are only inches from the palm of the father’s hand. He will catch you, guaranteed.
We get blessed when we decrease, and He increases.
We get blessed when, having nothing at all to give in spiritual poverty, He gives all, pouring it into us to overflowing.
Tomorrow, I will be writing about the second Beatitude, and it’s a DOOZY. Bring tissues!
Here is the verse: “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”
Thank you for your readership, friends. I’ll post the next segment tomorrow.
God bless us, every one.