Blessed

It’s a word we throw around regularly. I am healthy, I am so blessed! A picture of our beautiful children on Facebook #blessed. So often we use the word “blessed” when we talk about our favorable circumstances. It is good and right to express gratitude for the good things in our lives, so please don't hear me saying we shouldn't do that! I am feeling challenged to examine who Jesus calls “blessed” because when I compare my circumstances to someone else’s I can begin to wonder, am I blessed? I have health problems and she doesn’t, has God blessed her more than me? Did she earn that blessing? Am I falling short?  As I read the beatitudes this morning I was struck with Jesus’ use of this word and who he told us is “blessed.”

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Poor in spirit can be described as a knowledge of the depth of your need for a Savior. “Poor in spirit means that you feel you have no moral riches and are in need.  'Poor' (πτωχός) used in this verse means 'reduced to being a beggar'. To be poor in spirit is to recognize your utter spiritual bankruptcy before God. It is understanding that you have absolutely nothing of worth to offer God. Being poor in spirit is admitting that, because of your sin, you are completely destitute spiritually and can do nothing to deliver yourself from your dire situation. Jesus is saying that, no matter your status in life, you must recognize your spiritual poverty before you can come to God in faith to receive the salvation He offers.” (Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/poor-in-spirit.html#ixzz3WXI170K5)

 I don’t know how you have come to know your need for God, but my knowledge of my need, my becoming poor in spirit, has come from pain and hardship and suffering. Many of us would look at the circumstances of our lives and the word blessed would not be the first to come to mind. However, here is Jesus telling us that if your pain and hardship has pointed your heart to its need of a Savior, you are blessed.

That’s where the name of this site has come from, blessed are the broken. Are you struggling? Are you suffering? Has your need brought you to your knees? You are blessed! Can you imagine posting on Facebook, "mourning the death of my friend today #blessed"? That seems ridiculous, and I'm being overly simplistic. However, I draw this stark contrast between what we are prone to labeling as "blessed" and who Jesus tells us is blessed to help us pause for a moment to consider the difference. Let’s step outside of our norms and remember who else Jesus tells us is blessed:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. - Matthew 5:2-12

Jesus' words of truth are radical! I read His words and I am greatly encouraged. If I look at my circumstances to decide if I am blessed, I will always find something to be discouraged about. When I look at my need for love, my need for a savior, my need to be comforted when I mourn, my desire to extend mercy and peace, my desire for righteousness and purity of heart, I can see that I am blessed! God in His infinite love for us uses our pain and suffering, our difficult circumstances, to show us our need for Him and in that, we are forever blessed! We are blessed today as we realize our need for Him and thus live in freedom from religious requirement, and we are blessed into eternity as Jesus' sacrifice allows us to be in His presence forever.

Whatever your circumstances today, top of the world or deep in the valley, if you acknowledge your need of Him  - for today and for forever - you are truly blessed. Now that is worthy of a hashtag!

Feeling poor in spirit today #blessed