Poor in Spirit
In the past few months, I've really
been concentrating on the first beatitude - being 'poor in spirit.' Man -
it's becoming more of a problem to me as time goes on! I don't think it was
coincidence that placed it at the beginning of Jesus' group of "blessed
are's.' Until we finally empty ourselves OF ourselves - God has no room to
move in and begin working with the other qualities he molds into us to make
us more closely his.
If we have allow pride to control any area of our lives - we are incapable of the most important, most basic, most obvious fruit of a Christian's life - love.
Just like all God's truths - there's a lot more to this than meets the eye, and one could spend a lifetime trying to grasp it.
It also has led me to realize how much of our 'religious' life is NOT in accordance with this "poor" principle. I believe the entire system of the natural world, religious world, and even our concepts of our God-relationship is completely in opposition to being 'poor in spirit.'
First of all - the word Jesus used to represent 'poor' meant beggarly poor - devoid of anything - completely needy. Somehow, it seems, we have to get to where our self importance, our worth of who WE are and what we can do, our self-dependence is ZERO. But our pride has tentacles that reach deep into every aspect and continually work against those goals. It's sorta like if your doctor tells you that you have to cut out salt. You tell him you don't eat much salt! That won't be any problem at all - but when you start looking around your diet for where the 'hidden' salt is you are amazed at all the products you use that contain it! You find it's going to be a real effort to find it and control it. Well, I'm seeing that same principle with pride.
Pride drives institutional Christianity. Not only is there pride in the pulpit and other leadership - but there is also pride in the pews. Pride in our church, we, our preacher, we believe this... on and on. We are NOT concerned with others in the realm of churchianity- we are totally fulfilling OUR needs - satisfying OUR 'obligations.' The concept of the church is just not a 'one another' idea - as much as it toots its horn that it is. Folks involved are not there for other people - but to make sure they are right and safe.
Pride drives biblical disputes and doctrinal correctness. Rather than coming to discussions with an open mind and heart that's hungry to hear what pearls of wisdom someone might share with us - something from their own very special relationship with God - we can't wait to 'cut them down to size,' straighten them out, line them up in a straight line right behind us
Pride is a big part of our morality. We can sure pat ourselves on the back, and say "but for the grace of God" when we look around at all those other pitiful sinners we live around. WE don't have problems with all those sins! My - we control ourselves! We aren't on their level!! Huh? What pride! Oh, yes we are! We have learned a lot of coping strategies that hide our sin - even from ourselves a lot of times. But - the only difference in "those" pitiful sinners .. and "we" pitiful sinners - is Jesus. There is nothing at all we can boast of as far as being better than they are - but boy we sure do!
Pride keeps us totally opposite from the ways Jesus lived his life. We work to keep our white, pure robes clean surrounded by religious folks
"We" have the 'one true church"
ISTM - by really meditating on the totality of the reason we are here - it is simply to use ourselves totally up in loving everyone *BUT* ourselves. I don't even think we've taken the first step towards that end. In fact, I don't even know how! It is a totally NEW way of living, and where do we start? Can any of us truly say we have "lost ourselves?" - if not - then how will we ever "find us" - as Jesus says we will in Him?
Here it is 01/01/01 - and I think those of us who are truly TRYING to follow Jesus - rather than following a church plan, or a man plan - need to spend time on our knees - or better - on our faces - and repent of being so filled with US.. ask Him to show up in large neon lights the areas of our life that we aren't even aware that we have placed ourselves before 'the lowest of these'.... which of course places *ourselves* before even God (and the second commandment is like the first..) ... and make 180 deg. turnarounds in every area of our lives... let's help each other do that... roll up our sleeves... use our talents, our money, our time, our concern... our*selves* for others. NOTHING else matters.