Tuesday, April 24, 2012

CP 173 Made to be misfits

Hello friends… this CP is about an insight I had while listening to a sermon on 26/6/2010.  The text was Matthew 5:1-12, ie the beatitudes.

The starting point is that Jesus is addressing his disciples. Yes there are crowds but it is the disciples who come to him for teaching.

Here is what I sense Jesus was saying. As a follower of mine in the world you will discover the ugly depths of your own human poverty of spirit. That is, you will recognise a bankruptcy of (your own) spirit, a hollowness or emptiness. This is good! Yes good, because those who know their poverty before the heavenly Father can be embraced by the Kingdom of Heaven, and that means one is truly blessed.

The same truth applies for ‘those who mourn’. As a follower of Jesus Christ in the world, guided by the Him and his kingdom Word, we will find ourselves mourning our human condition and also grieving over the wickedness and lostness of those around us. That awareness, and the accompanying grief, is part of discipleship. It is not a sign of failure. It is the place of blessing! Those who are convicted by the Spirit in this way will be truly comforted.

Consider the meek. As followers of Jesus we will find in ourselves a freedom not to be pushy or arrogant or stubborn. As we continue to wrestle with how to walk in sync with the Lord Jesus there grows in us a gentleness, a humility, a freedom to defer to others. This does not mean we become doormats, weak and timid, persons with no strength of character or self. It is His gentleness and meekness. To be in tandem with him is to be in a place where blessing flows.  The blessing of inheritance comes to those who have been humbled in and through their relationship with Jesus.

So also will those who are disciples, under Jesus and his Word, find that all the world offers simply does not, cannot, has never, and will never, satisfy our souls and spirits. The ‘disciple-relationship’ with the Lord Jesus will inevitably expose the truth that the world has no lasting bread and no life-giving water to offer. That realisation creates a craving for real food and real drink. Being in this place, as with all the beatitudes, can feel intensely uncomfortable and even threatening, because the world as we knew it, even hoped it would be, has been shown to be false.  But to know this truth is to be blessed because now the kingdom filling can happen.

Let’s follow through with the merciful. A follower of Jesus will inevitably find growing inside himself (or herself) an inclination to be merciful. And won’t that put you at odds with the world! You might begin to wonder if you have become soft and weak. What is happening here is that the heart of Jesus himself is being created and unfolded in the disciple. The changed heart leads to merciful actions toward others and that opens even further the kingdom’s storehouse of blessing and mercy on the disciple.

I won’t go thru them all at the moment… but it is clear it is Jesus, and his Word, (including incarnation, life, passion, cross, resurrection and ascension), who creates and reveals these uncomfortable circumstances and conditions. None of these things are easily bearable. The living relationship with the Master (=discipleship) makes us misfits in the world. Not simply an irritating stone in the world’s shoe, but people like Jesus the Christ who don’t bend to the world’s ways and means. That is why we become a threat, and it is why resistance, and maybe even persecution will follow. However, his Word in us, his heart and Spirit being created in us, will inevitably deliver us to the place of greater blessing.

One last comment. This is all about Jesus the Christ. Before he ever creates the conditions of blessing in us they are already in him. The beatitudes describe the life of Jesus in the world. He draws us into that life of cross-bearing and crucifixion… but that is exactly the position in which the Father’s storehouses are opened over the church. As we respond to this new creation of Jesus’ heart and life in us, as we marvel at the pearl of great price, as we celebrate the treasure discovered in a field, as it begins to grow and be expressed, as we choose daily to live out his call… well, we become salt and light…

Be blessed in Him. Have a good week…

FredHello friends… this CP is about an insight I had while listening to a sermon on 26/6/2010.  The text was Matthew 5:1-12, ie the beatitudes.

The starting point is that Jesus is addressing his disciples. Yes there are crowds but it is the disciples who come to him for teaching.

Here is what I sense Jesus was saying. As a follower of mine in the world you will discover the ugly depths of your own human poverty of spirit. That is, you will recognise a bankruptcy of (your own) spirit, a hollowness or emptiness. This is good! Yes good, because those who know their poverty before the heavenly Father can be embraced by the Kingdom of Heaven, and that means one is truly blessed.

The same truth applies for ‘those who mourn’. As a follower of Jesus Christ in the world, guided by the Him and his kingdom Word, we will find ourselves mourning our human condition and also grieving over the wickedness and lostness of those around us. That awareness, and the accompanying grief, is part of discipleship. It is not a sign of failure. It is the place of blessing! Those who are convicted by the Spirit in this way will be truly comforted.

Consider the meek. As followers of Jesus we will find in ourselves a freedom not to be pushy or arrogant or stubborn. As we continue to wrestle with how to walk in sync with the Lord Jesus there grows in us a gentleness, a humility, a freedom to defer to others. This does not mean we become doormats, weak and timid, persons with no strength of character or self. It is His gentleness and meekness. To be in tandem with him is to be in a place where blessing flows.  The blessing of inheritance comes to those who have been humbled in and through their relationship with Jesus.

So also will those who are disciples, under Jesus and his Word, find that all the world offers simply does not, cannot, has never, and will never, satisfy our souls and spirits. The ‘disciple-relationship’ with the Lord Jesus will inevitably expose the truth that the world has no lasting bread and no life-giving water to offer. That realisation creates a craving for real food and real drink. Being in this place, as with all the beatitudes, can feel intensely uncomfortable and even threatening, because the world as we knew it, even hoped it would be, has been shown to be false.  But to know this truth is to be blessed because now the kingdom filling can happen.

Let’s follow through with the merciful. A follower of Jesus will inevitably find growing inside himself (or herself) an inclination to be merciful. And won’t that put you at odds with the world! You might begin to wonder if you have become soft and weak. What is happening here is that the heart of Jesus himself is being created and unfolded in the disciple. The changed heart leads to merciful actions toward others and that opens even further the kingdom’s storehouse of blessing and mercy on the disciple.

I won’t go thru them all at the moment… but it is clear it is Jesus, and his Word, (including incarnation, life, passion, cross, resurrection and ascension), who creates and reveals these uncomfortable circumstances and conditions. None of these things are easily bearable. The living relationship with the Master (=discipleship) makes us misfits in the world. Not simply an irritating stone in the world’s shoe, but people like Jesus the Christ who don’t bend to the world’s ways and means. That is why we become a threat, and it is why resistance, and maybe even persecution will follow. However, his Word in us, his heart and Spirit being created in us, will inevitably deliver us to the place of greater blessing.

One last comment. This is all about Jesus the Christ. Before he ever creates the conditions of blessing in us they are already in him. The beatitudes describe the life of Jesus in the world. He draws us into that life of cross-bearing and crucifixion… but that is exactly the position in which the Father’s storehouses are opened over the church. As we respond to this new creation of Jesus’ heart and life in us, as we marvel at the pearl of great price, as we celebrate the treasure discovered in a field, as it begins to grow and be expressed, as we choose daily to live out his call… well, we become salt and light…

Be blessed in Him. Have a good week…

Fred

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