7th May 2011

The Beatitudes – Poor Little You

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
Matthew 5:3 (NIV)

The Beatitudes as a whole have a universal application, in that all Christian virtues will come to fulfilment and reward in the future. In that sense, all who are saved will eventually see God, be comforted and satisfied, inherit the world, etc.

This list of rewards also reassures us in times of hardship; it helps to shape our gratitude to God; and of course it illustrates the counterintuitive way in which God deals with us—for instance, that contrary to human expectation, God turns humility of spirit into greatness.

However, the way that each blessing is matched to a particular state is more than just a poetic device, and not wholly confined to the future. We experience God now, and we begin to know specific blessings/comforts/joys/things not available elsewhere, as we pass through the seasons of the Christian life.

The first Beatitude has a sort of connection to Revelation 2:9—“I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!” Jesus also said of young children, “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). Although Jesus does not define humility as exclusive to those low down the economic or social scale, he chooses examples from those relatively lacking in worldly status. And this humility, the opposite of arrogance and sense of entitlement, is somewhere God can extend his dominion and call his own. “I live,” God says (Isaiah 57:15), “in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit.”

I pray for your kingdom to be extended both into the lives of those who come to know you, and further, in those who have already declared allegiance to you.

Study by Fiona Jones 

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