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Letting God be God (Matthew 5:1-4)

Posted by Lim Siew Lan on

Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional thoughtfully penned by leaders in DUMC arising from their daily devotions. The devotional’s title, “Our Best Thought” is taken from the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” as a reference to God: “Thou my best thought, by day or by night.” Publishes on Sundays.


Scripture:

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the hillside, and sat down. His disciples came to him. He took a deep breath, and began his teaching:

‘Blessings on the poor in spirit! The kingdom of heaven is yours.

‘Blessings on the mourners! You’re going to be comforted.

Matthew 5:1-4 (NET)

Observation:

Early in Jesus’ ministry, he began to teach about the Kingdom of heaven [Kingdom of God]. This series of teachings by Jesus gives us insight into what the reign of God looks like. And He begins this series with blessings on the poor in spirit.

To be blessed is more than happiness. It means fundamentally to be approved, to find approval. If this is God’s universe, can there be a higher ‘blessing’ than to be approved by God?

To be poor in spirit is to personally acknowledge I am spiritually poverty-stricken. It is not that I am insignificant or without personal value—He loves us deeply. To be poor in spirit is to realise that I am sinful, rebellious and not able to fulfill God’s standards by myself.

Application:

We often prefer to hide from this poverty and from the fact that we are truly broken. We are broken physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, communally.

Today, take time to acknowledge the brokenness in our lives. We can gently lay aside the illusions we have of being whole and without vulnerabilities.

From this place, we express our need for God, our dependence on Him, our impotence without Him. When we live from a poverty of spirit, we become more receptive to God to act as God.  

Special Reflection

Are there things in my life that I believe will give me more significance, purpose and meaning than God himself? For example, education, wealth, career, family, piety, or social standing.

 Are there areas in my life that are powered by self, apart from God? Where are the places that I rely on my experience, training and theology, apart from God?

Have a conversation with God about the things that have come up in your reflections.

[This exercise is not about condemnation. It is about knowing what traps us and takes us to away from God, from His unfailing love and light.]

“Pride based on genuine virtues has the greatest potential for self-deception. “

D. A. Carson.

Response:

Gracious Father,
Teach me what it means to be poor in spirit. Help me see my delusions and bring them to You. I want to learn to cooperate with Your Spirit, who is at work in me, through me. That I may enter into the fullness of Life you promised us. Amen.


Lim Siew Lan teaches spiritual formation, facilitates formation groups and spiritual retreats with Equip. She also serves with the Trinity Annual Conference's Institute for Christian Ministry. 

Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional that follows DUMC's Bible Reading Plan. Posts on Sundays.