“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
It is confession time. How many times have I read this verse and not been grieved by the implications and depth of what it means? Writing a devotion on this verse has convicted me of my inability to see the truth. My sometimes haughty attitude was brought to full display as I thought about the meaning of what Jesus is saying here. While it is true, after receiving the gift of grace I have experienced moments of peaceful humility. More often than not, arrogance snuffs out the true peace that only absolute obedience to the Word brings. The root of pride runs deep even in the midst of sinful action. How quickly I find an excuse for my behavior when I feel confronted by others. How can I feel justified in my action and reason when I live outside the commandments that God has given me? Pride knows no boundaries.
Quickly, I am confronted by my own selfishness when I devote myself to Scripture. The Bible illuminates the real me and all that it implies, it becomes the litmus test that I must use to determine my nature. Brought to a place of self-reflection by the world around me, the Bible helps me to understand the nature of “self.” Thinking about the implications, I see that without the grace of God in my life, I have no ability to experience the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). My love for myself is only defeated when I submit to the Lord. There is no good that resides in me.
Romans 7:18 says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
I see myself in God’s hand as He molds and shapes me, and sometimes “it just ain’t pretty,” but I know that I am a work in progress. As He transforms me into the likeness of His Son, I begin to experience that peace we all desire. Giving me a glimpse of what it means to have this peace, assures me of a future that I can look forward to. It is one in which the love for myself is replaced by a real and immovable love for the Lord. It is where I can look at my neighbor and truly understand what it means to love them as myself. I will be completely submitting to His will, and not my own vain desires. Even when I take a step back, I hope others might see the small step attributed only to Him, as the focal point. It is by the working of His grace within me that He will be glorified and I will gain the peace I long for.
Finally, in 1 Corinthians 15:10, we read, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”