I have been trying to write this morning for several hours now, and everything I had put down felt so phony. I have been trying to analyze Jesus’ message instead of letting it speak to my heart. I’m tired of trying to expound on His message and bring “clarity” to it. I don’t have the answers and I don’t think I have been called to be the expert, so I’m going to stop trying to fill those shoes. I’m going to simply go with what each verse means to me.
I am NO example of the person to follow in living out these attitudes in daily life. I fall FAR short of the ideal. Please help me God to take one more step each day to be who You have desired me to be. Help me become more like You every day.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (verse 6). I HATE “hungry!” I have struggled with “hungry” for years! I NEED “hungry” now though. I need “hungry” to finally be turned in the right direction.
“Hungry” is my feeling of emptiness. I kept thinking that it was food it was after. To some extent it is/was. But controlling “hungry” with physical food never netted me any kind of satisfaction. I finally (just a couple of minutes ago) realized “hungry” has been consuming the wrong kind of food for YEARS! She needs to be turned loose at God’s table. She needs to be freed to satisfy herself on His spiritual food. On His word! On a deeper relationship with Him. Get up from the table of self and sit down in His presence. That is where true satisfaction comes from.
Does this mean that I won’t need to eat physical food again or won’t be hungry anymore? NO! But at least I know now I’m not supposed to look to physical food to fill the empty spots in my soul. I’m sure You showed me that before, but I certainly needed that reminder again today.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (verse 7). Mercy and forgiveness are not the same. Forgiveness results in a full pardon. Mercy results in a lesser sentence than is actually deserved. I so often ask for forgiveness for myself, but only want to return mercy to others.
You give me both. You know when my actions/attitudes require a lasting reminder to “never do that again”, and when I have learned what I needed to through the experience alone. I need to put down some examples for myself, so anyone reading this, realize this is for my benefit and please treat me like you would want to be treated if you were in my place.
Forgiveness: When I was a teenager I stole a pair of earrings from our local K-Mart store. My reasons for doing this had a lot to do with peer pressure but that does not excuse what I did. I never told my parents what I did either (I guess I have told my mom now because she will be reading this). I experienced a lot of guilt and shame over my actions. I asked for God’s forgiveness and believe He granted it to me. The guilt and shame I felt prevented me from ever wearing those earrings. My guilt and shame was my only punishment. I believe, if I were to turn myself in today for that crime, I still wouldn’t receive punishment. Statute of limitations and all.
Mercy: I have suffered from an eating disorder since I was a teen, as you may have gathered from my struggle with “hungry.” One of my favorite “go to gadgets” when dealing with feeling like I ate too much was laxatives. I abused laxatives for a LONG time. After a while, using laxatives started having a serious side effect. Severe and prolonged abdominal pain. I was forced to abandon this long time relationship. The length and degree of this relationship should have netted me SERIOUS physical damage, but God showed me and my body mercy instead. He left me with a permanent reminder never to go there again but spared me the deserved consequences of my actions. To this day if I even THINK about taking a laxative my stomach cramps become unbearable. I have TRULY learned my lesson.
I want to push on and do one more of the beatitudes today. I know I this is getting long but bear with me a little while longer please.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (verse 8). After those last two, we know I don’t qualify for the “pure” category. My heart wants to be and stay clean, but the rest of me gets in the way. I have been soiled by sin so often in my life that if I were a towel, I would have holes in me from perpetual washing. I have some towels in my house that look like this. One time my husband was drying himself with one of these towels. He said that the side he was using had to ask the other side to help out, because the one couldn’t do it on its own.
I’m that one side. With my towel, one side was no better than the other, and neither were able to do a proper job. I am so grateful that I don’t have to rely on myself to accomplish this task. I would, and do, fail completely. I have to, and am welcome to, rely on God. I can’t be pure on my own. I require His constant washing. He cleans me AND repairs the holes created in the process. I’m not left threadbare and discarded. I’m made new with each washing.
I love that He “hand washes” me each time. He pours in His “detergent” of grace, gently but firmly “scrubs” me against the stones of experience, “wrings me out” through tears, and “hangs me to dry” in His presence. I don’t come out stiff, like towels hung on the line in summer, but smelling of Him and ready for His use again.
God, thank You for keeping me reaching for Your heights. You set standards before me that I can never attain on my own. You knew that when You set them. You knew that we couldn’t do it alone. You wait patiently for us to discover that truth, then gently offer Your help. I know I will never attain the fullness of these attitudes in my earthly walk, but in reaching for them I embrace a little more of their measure each day. Keep me hungry for You. Keep me aware of my need for mercy so I will recognize and respond with mercy to others. Keep me coming back for washing so I can be pure, no matter how often or how long it takes.
Thank You for getting my attention this morning and bringing my heart and mind in line with what You called ME to write. Thank You that I am no expert and that I don’t have to pretend to be one.