Matthew 5:3 - How Is Your Spiritual Bank Account?
Mat.5:3: How Is Your Spiritual Bank Account?
CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word
Mat 5:3 (KJV) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:3 (TEV) Happy are those who know they are spiritually
poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Mat 5:3 (NLT) God blesses those who realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.
Mat 5:3 (NEB) How blest are those who know their need of God;
the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Mat 5:3 (CWR) Happiness comes from having a humble attitude. If
you feel your need of God and trust Him, you have the kingdom of God
Each beatitude tells how to be blessed. "Blessed" means more
than happiness. It implies the fortunate or enviable state of those
who are in God's kingdom. The Beatitudes don't promise laughter,
pleasure, or earthly prosperity. To Jesus, "blessed" means the experience
of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. To find hope
and joy, the deepest form of happiness, follow Jesus no matter what
the cost. [Life Application SB]
Blessed: The Greek word was used in Greek literature, in the
Septuagint, and in the New Testament to describe the kind of happiness that
comes from receiving divine favor. [Nelson SB]
The beatitudes in effect say, "O the bliss of being a Christian!
O the joy of following Christ! O the sheer happiness of knowing
Jesus Christ as Master, Saviour and Lord!" . . . In Christianity there
is a godlike joy.
The Greek for blesses describes that joy which has its secret
within itself, that joy which is serene and untouchable, and
self-contained, that joy which is completely independent of all the chances and
the changes of life. The English word happiness gives its own case
away. It contains the root hap which means chance. Human happiness is
something which is dependent on the chances and the changes of life,
something which life may give and which life may also destroy. The
Christian blessedness is completely untouchable and unassailable. "No
one," said Jesus, "will take your joy from you" (Jn 16:22). The
beatitudes speak of that joy which seeks us through our pain, that joy
which sorrow and loss, and pain and grief, are powerless to touch,
that joy which shines through tears, and which nothing in life or
death can take away.
The world can win its joys, and the world can equally well lose
its joys. A change in fortune, a collapse in health, the failure of
a plan, the disappointment of an ambition, even a change in the
weather, can take away the fickle joy the world can give. But the
Christian has the serene and untouchable joy which comes from walking for
ever in the company and in the presence of Jesus Christ. [Barclay]
POOR IN SPIRIT
Poor in spirit. In contrast to the spiritually proud and
self-sufficient. [NIV SB]
Poor in spirit. Recognize their spiritual destitution and depend
on God. [Victor Bible Reader's Companion]
Poor in spirit. Those who live in dependence upon God alone.
[Cambridge Annotated SB]
Poor in spirit. To be poor in spirit is not to lack courage but
to acknowledge spiritual bankruptcy. It confesses one's
unworthiness before God and utter dependence on him. [Expositors Bible
Poor in spirit. Being "poor in spirit" means admitting that no
one can have spiritual wealth in and of themselves--that all are
dependent on God alone for spiritual salvation and daily grace. Such a
person aligns with God's will, even against the desires of his own.
[New Bible Companion]
Poor. a word indicating deep poverty. Here it refers to those
who are in dire spiritual poverty and sense keenly their need of the
things the kingdom of heaven has to offer. Those who do not feel their
spiritual need, who think themselves "rich, and increased with goods" and
in "need of nothing," are, in the sight of Heaven, "wretched, and
miserable, and poor" (Rev. 3:17). None but the "poor in spirit" will ever
enter the kingdom of divine grace; all others feel no need of heaven's
riches, and decline its blessings... There is no room in the kingdom of
heaven for the proud, the self-satisfied, the self-righteous. Christ
bids the poor in heart to exchange their poverty for the riches of
His grace. [SDA Commentary]
We must be careful not to think that this beatitude calls actual
material poverty a good thing. Poverty is not a good thing. Jesus would
never have called blessed a state where people live in slums and have
not enough to eat, and where health rots because conditions are all
against it. That kind of poverty it is the aim of the Christian gospel
to remove. The poverty which is blessed is the poverty of spirit,
when a man realises his own utter lack of resources to meet life, and
finds his help and strength in God. [Barclay]
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
The kingdom of heaven. The Jews conceived of the kingdom of
heaven as a kingdom based on force that would compel the nations of
earth to submit to Israel. But the kingdom Christ came to establish
was one that begins within men's hearts, permeates their lives, and
overflows into other men's hearts and lives with the dynamic and
compelling power of love. [SDA Commentary]
CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:
Jesus announced blessings for citizens of His kingdom (5:1-12).
He expects citizens of His kingdom to do good deeds (vv. 13-16),
for He requires a righteousness that surpasses that of even the
zealous Pharisees (vv. 17-20). Christ looked behind the acts the Law
regulated to call for purity of heart (vv. 21-42) and that crowning
expression of kingdom righteousness: a love like the Heavenly Father's for
one's enemies (vv. 43-48). [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
Jesus Teaches the People
The Sermon on the Mount; The Beatitudes
5:3-12 There are nine blessings listed in vs. 3-11. But vs. 10,
11, refer to the same aspect of Christian experience, and are
therefore to be considered one beatitude, thus leaving eight rather than
nine beatitudes. [SDA Commentary]
On these precious Beatitudes, observe that though eight in
number, there are here but seven distinct features of character. The
eighth one-the "persecuted for righteousness' sake"-denotes merely the
possessors of the seven preceding features, on account of which they are
persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12). Accordingly, instead of any distinct promise to
this class, we have merely a repetition of the first promise. This
has been noticed by several critics, who by the sevenfold character
thus set forth have rightly observed that a complete character is
meant to be depicted, and by the sevenfold blessedness attached to it,
a perfect blessedness is intended. [Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown
There are at least four ways to understand the Beatitudes. (1)
They are a code of ethics for the disciples and a standard of conduct
for all believers. (2) They contrast kingdom values (what is
eternal) with worldly values (what is temporary). (3) They contrast the
superficial "faith" of the Pharisees with the real faith Christ wants. (4)
They show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the
new kingdom. These beatitudes are not multiple choice--pick what you
like and leave the rest. They must be taken as a whole. They describe
what we should be like as Christ's followers. [Life Application SB]
The Beatitudes are comprised of three elements: a pronouncement
of blessing, a quality of life, and a reason why the recipient
should be considered blessed. The first element is found in the word
Blessed (see Ps. 1:1), which introduces each beatitude. The second
element does not describe different groups of people, but a composite
picture of the kind of person who will inherit Christ's kingdom. The
third element looks ahead to some aspect of the coming kingdom.
Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed people, which
represent to us the principal graces of a Christian [Matthew Henry
The Beatitudes are not primarily promises to the individual but
a description of him. They do not show a man how to be saved, but
describe the characteristics manifested by one who is born again.
[Wycliffe Bible Commentary]
The Beatitudes describe what we should be like as Christ's
followers. [Life Application SB]
The Beatitudes: These qualities Jesus mentioned are internal.
These come only when one is properly related to God through faith,
when one places his complete trust in God. [Bible Knowledge
The Beatitudes describe the inner qualities of a follower of
Christ. [Ryrie SB]
The Beatitudes describe the character traits of those accepted
as citizens of the kingdom of God and set forth both the present
and future blessings of those whose lives portray these virtues.
The Beatitudes refer to both present and future blessings of the
kingdom. [Disciple SB]
5:1-12 Eight Characteristics Of Kingdom Dwellers
The Beatitudes (5:1-12) revealed eight characteristics that
should be true of the righteous remnant in the promised kingdom. The
truths implied in these characteristics all reflect pervasive themes in
the Old Testament. They revealed to the listeners what the lives of
people in the process of repentance should be like and caused them to
reflect upon their own character in relation to the character of God.
The Beatitudes were built upon an if/then logic and hidden in each
Beatitude was an if/then relationship. For example, the first Beatitude
says in essence, "If you are poor in spirit, then you will receive
the kingdom of God" (5:3). The Beatitudes both describe and demand.
They demand good character as they describe the "blessed" results of
following the demands of kingdom living.
The attitudes of "poor in spirit," "mourning," and "meekness"
all draw upon Old Testament themes and underscore the need for human
responsibility and the work of divine grace. The basic element demanded by all
the Beatitudes was a right relationship with God. The Beatitudes
were intended to inspire Matthew's readers to think about the
character of the repentant person so that they also could follow the path
Matthew 5:3-16 should be seen as one single unit of thought. The
word "blessed" (5:3; etc.) literally means "happy." For "poor in
spirit" (5:3) see Psalms 40:17; 69:29-30, 33-34; and Isaiah 57:15; 61:1;
66:2, 5. This characteristic describes the inner attitude of a person
when confronted with the holy God and his demands. Being "poor in
spirit" means admitting that no one can have spiritual wealth in and of
themselves--that all are dependent on God alone for spiritual
salvation and daily
grace. Such a person aligns with God's will, even against the desires
of his own.
For the attitude of "mourning" (Matt. 5:4), see Isaiah 1:17, 23;
2:11, 17; 61:2. The afflicted were often seen as God's favorites in
contrast with the powerful. This "mourning" was a reaction to seeing all
that God had demanded for the kingdom and then seeing how far all of
mankind had fallen short.
For the attitude of "meekness" (Matt. 5:5) read Psalm 37:7-11
and Isaiah 57:15. Having the quality of "meekness" would result in
possession of the new heavens and new earth (cf. Isa. 66; Rev. 21-22). The
Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount as a whole continually looked
forward to the time of judgment and reward in the end times.
To "hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matt. 5:6) was to seek
to live life as God intended for it to be lived. Concepts drawn
from Old Testament Wisdom Literature were being applied here (cf.
Prov. 8:22-36). For "pure in heart" (Matt. 5:8), see what it meant
under the old covenant (Deut. 6) as well as under the new covenant
(Jer. 31; Ezek. 36).
The "peacemakers" (Matt. 5:9) will be called "sons of God." They
will be heirs to God's kingdom of which "peace" will be an important
characteristic (cf. Isa. 9:6-7; 66:12-13; Mic. 4:3). Note the emphasis in 5:3,
4, 9, 10. In each of these verses, an implied contrast was being
made between those who would be blessed in the age to come and the
religious leaders of Jesus' day.
Those "persecuted because of righteousness" (5:10) would also be
heirs to the kingdom. This relates back to 5:3 regarding the kingdom
and to 5:6 regarding righteousness. The idea of this verse carried a
bit of irony. These people were being persecuted because they were
hungry and thirsty for righteousness. But their persecutors would be
the religious leaders of Israel, the ones who claimed to strictly
follow the way of righteousness.
Jesus made a personal elaboration (5:11-12) of the comments in
5:10. He would become the cause for the persecution of the righteous
("because of me," 5:11). The people who desired to be among the "blessed"
of the kingdom would not find their time on earth easy. Matthew
wrote for people who faced a time of persecution prior to the
establishment of the kingdom. There was a parallel drawn in 5:12 with the
prophets of the past who had suffered for the sake of righteousness. [New
Of all the virtues Christ commended in the Beatitudes, it is
significant that the first is humility being "poor in spirit" (v. 3). That
underlies all the others:
You cannot mourn (v 4) without appreciating how insufficient you
are to handle life in your own strength. That is humility.
You cannot be meek (v 5) unless you have needed gentleness
yourself. Knowing that need is humility.
You cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness (v 6) if you
proudly think of yourself as already righteous. Longing to fill that
spiritual appetite demands humility. In a parable that Luke recorded, a
humble tax collector prayed, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" He went
away justified, unlike a proud Pharisee who boasted of his
righteousness (Luke 18:13).
You cannot be merciful (Matt. 5:7) without recognizing your own
need for mercy. Jesus said that it's the person who is forgiven much
that loves much (Luke 7:47). To confess your sin and ask God and
others for forgiveness takes humility.
You cannot be pure in heart (Matt. 5:8) if your heart is filled
with pride. God promises to exalt the humble, not the proud (James
You cannot be a peacemaker (Matt. 5:9) if you believe that you
are always right. To admit your own fallibility takes humility Peace
results when both warring parties move toward each other.
Finally identifying with Christ no matter what the reaction of
others (vv. 10-12) demands a certain death to yourself and a
renunciation of your own rights. Standing up under persecution demands
Christlike Humility. [Word In Life SB]
Is it possible to live up to these standards? (5:3-10)
Even though the Sermon on the Mount has been called the
constitution for citizens of the kingdom of God, we will never see flawed
human beings, though they are Christians, reach this level of
perfection. Jesus begins the Beatitudes, the preamble to this constitution,
with our inability in mind - Blessed are the poor in spirit, for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Those who begin by admitting their
shortcomings are in the best position to experience God's blessing and enjoy
Nevertheless, we cannot escape the fact that Jesus gave his
followers these lifestyle goals. Those who respond out of love for the
Lord, grateful for his grace in their lives, will better approach
these ideals. The Beatitudes are a model of perfection requiring our
declaration of dependence on God: we can't, but God can. Even when doing so
involves failure to follow perfectly, we're to press on in obedience.
The Beatitudes describe the quality of life God intended for
humanity from the beginning - a life of blessing. The word blessed can
also be translated happy, but it is something more than an emotion.
The closer we come to Jesus' standards, the more we experience the
blessing of God. [Quest SB]
When we first read the statements of Jesus they seem wonderfully
simple and unstartling, and they sink unobserved into our unconscious
minds. For instance, the Beatitudes seem merely mild and beautiful
precepts for all unworldly and useless people, but of very little
practical use in the stern workaday world in which we live. We soon find,
however, that the Beatitudes contain the dynamite of the Holy Ghost. They
explode, as it were, when the circumstances of our lives cause them to do
so. When the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance one of these
Beatitudes we say--'What a startling statement that is!' and we have to
decide whether we will accept the tremendous spiritual upheaval that
will be produced in our circumstances if we obey His words. That is
the way the Spirit of God works. We do not need to be born again to
apply the Sermon on the Mount literally. The literal interpretation of
the Sermon on the Mount is child's play; the interpretation by the
Spirit of God as He applies Our Lord's statements to our circumstances
is the stern work of a saint. The teaching of Jesus is out of all
proportion to our natural way of looking at things, and it comes with
astonishing discomfort to begin with. We have slowly to form our walk and
conversation on the line of the precepts of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit
applies them to our circumstances. The Sermon on the Mount is not a set
of rules and regulations: it is a statement of the life we will
live when the Holy Spirit is getting His way with us. [My Utmost for
His Highest by Oswald Chambers]
CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.
Leviticus 26:41, 42 (KJV) And that I also have walked contrary
unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if
then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of
the punishment of their iniquity:  Then will I remember my
covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my
covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.
Deut. 8:2 (KJV) And thou shalt remember all the way which the
Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble
thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou
wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
2 Chron. 7:14 (KJV) If my people, which are called by my name,
shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from
their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive
their sin, and will heal their land.
Psalm 34:18 (KJV) The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a
broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Psalm 51:17 (KJV) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a
broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Psalm 128:1 (KJV) Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord;
that walketh in his ways.
Isaiah 57:15 (KJV) For thus saith the high and lofty One that
inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy
place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive
the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite
Micah 6:8 (KJV) He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and
what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love
mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Matthew 3:2 (KJV) And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of
heaven is at hand.
Matthew 18:3 (KJV) And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye
be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter
into the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 18:14 (KJV) I tell you, this man went down to his house
justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall
be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
James 4:9, 10 (KJV) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your
laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.  Humble
yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?
The Pharisee and the publican represent two great classes into
which those who come to worship God are divided. Their first two
representatives are found in the first two children that were born into the
world. Cain thought himself righteous, and he came to God with a thank
offering only. He made no confession of sin, and acknowledged no need of
mercy. But Abel came with the blood that pointed to the Lamb of God. He
came as a sinner, confessing himself lost; his only hope was the
unmerited love of God. The Lord had respect to his offering, but to Cain
and his offering He had not respect. The sense of need, the
recognition of our poverty and sin, is the very first condition of
acceptance with God. "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven." COL153
In the days of Christ the religious leaders of the people felt
that they were rich in spiritual treasure. The prayer of the
Pharisee, "God, I thank Thee, that I am not as the rest of men" (Luke
18:11, R.V.), expressed the feeling of his class and, to a great
degree, of the whole nation. But in the throng that surrounded Jesus
there were some who had a sense of their spiritual poverty.... so in the
multitude gathered upon the mount there were souls who, in the presence of
His purity, felt that they were "wretched, and miserable, and poor,
and blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:17); and they longed for "the
grace of God that bringeth salvation" (Titus 2:11). MB6-9
That broken and contrite spirit ..... This poverty in spirit is
put first among the Christian graces. The philosophers did not
reckon humility among their moral virtues, but Christ puts it first.
Self-denial is the first lesson to be learned in his school, and poverty of
spirit entitled to the first beatitude. The foundation of all other
graces is laid in humility. Those who would build high must begin low;
and it is an excellent preparative for the entrance of gospel-grace
into the soul; it fits the soil to receive the seed. Those who are
weary and heavy laden, are the poor in spirit, and they shall find
rest with Christ. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)
We must be empty before we can be full. The opposite of this is
self-sufficiency. Our sufficiency is not of ourselves (2 Cor. 3:5). The world
promotes self-sufficiency, yet God dwells with the person whose heart is
broken (Isa. 57:15). This does not mean false humility or cowardice; it
means a proper attitude toward self, realizing how weak and sinful we
are apart from Christ. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
This poverty of spirit is a gracious disposition of soul, by
which we are emptied of self, in order to our being filled with Jesus
Christ. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)
He who feels whole, who thinks that he is reasonably good, and
is contented with his condition, does not seek to become a partaker
of the grace and righteousness of Christ. Pride feels no need, and
so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He
came to give. There is no room for Jesus in the heart of such a
person. Those who are rich and honorable in their own eyes do not ask in
faith, and receive the blessing of God. They feel that they are full,
therefore they go away empty. Those who know that they cannot possibly
save themselves, or of themselves do any righteous action, are the
ones who appreciate the help that Christ can bestow. They are the
poor in spirit, whom He declares to be blessed..... All who have a
sense of their deep soul poverty, who feel that they have nothing good
in themselves, may find righteousness and strength by looking unto
Jesus. He says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden."
Matthew 11:28. He bids you exchange your poverty for the riches of His
Happy are they, He said, who recognize their spiritual poverty,
and feel their need of redemption. The gospel is to be preached to
the poor. Not to the spiritually proud, those who claim to be rich
and in need of nothing, is it revealed, but to those who are humble
and contrite. One fountain only has been opened for sin, a fountain
for the poor in spirit. The proud heart strives to earn salvation;
but both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the
righteousness of Christ. The Lord can do nothing toward the recovery of man
until, convinced of his own weakness, and stripped of all
self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of God. Then
he can receive the
gift that God is waiting to bestow. DA299-300
The gateway to the kingdom; Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Beware of placing Our Lord as a Teacher first. If Jesus Christ
is a Teacher only, then all He can do is to tantalize me by
erecting a standard I cannot attain. What is the use of presenting me
with an ideal I cannot possibly come near? I am happier without
knowing it. What is the good of telling me to be what I never can be--to
be pure in heart, to do more than my duty, to be perfectly devoted
to God? I must know Jesus Christ as Saviour before His teaching has
any meaning for me other than that of an ideal which leads to
despair. But when I am born again of the Spirit of God, I know that Jesus
Christ did not come to teach only: He came to make me what He teaches I
should be. The Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into any man
the disposition that ruled His own life, and all the standards God
gives are based on that disposition. The teaching of the Sermon on the
Mount produces despair in the natural man--the very thing Jesus means
it to do. As long as we have a self-righteous, conceited notion
that we can carry out Our Lord's teaching, God will allow us to go on
until we break our ignorance over some obstacle, then we are willing
to come to Him as paupers and receive from Him. 'Blessed are the
paupers in spirit,' that is the first principle in the kingdom of God.
The bedrock in Jesus Christ's kingdom is poverty, not possession;
not decisions for Jesus Christ, but a sense of absolute futility--'I
cannot begin to do it.' Then Jesus says--'Blessed are you.' That is the
entrance, and it does take us a long while to believe we are poor! The
knowledge of our own poverty brings us on to the moral frontier where
Jesus Christ works. [My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers]
The Riches of the Destitute: We have to realize that we cannot
earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. Until we get
there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we
think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into His
kingdom through the door of destitution. [In His Time; My Utmost For His
Highest re Rom.3:24]
The natural inclination in Christian living is to act on the
impulse of a good idea. Not every good idea is from God. Sometimes good
ideas get in the way of God ideas.
Where does your inspiration come from? The vision of the
transfigured Christ inspired Peter: "O Lord, it is good for us to be here. If
you wish, I will put up three shelters - one for you, one for Moses
and one for Elijah" (Matthew 17:4). Our natural impulse is to do
something good for God and suggest it to Him.
The tendency of the well-meaning person is to prepare a plan to
do some good idea, and then pray, "Jesus, this is my plan. It is a
good plan. It hurts no one, and I want it to please You. Lord, please
bless my plan." It is plan, then pray.
So many of our ideas are impetuous. They are not what the Lord
wants to do. They do not resemble in any way the things which concern
Him. We have good ideas, but they are not God ideas. His agenda and
our agenda conflict. We want to build Him a shelter but that is not
what He wants.... When Peter, James, and John heard the voice of the
Lord . . . they abandoned their inventive-but-self-made idea. The
presence of the Lord magnified, and His holiness brought them to their
senses. Jesus gained their attention, not by subduing them with a stem
scolding, but by magnifying His presence until all the genius of their
human ideas was bleached out by His refulgent face.
When they abandoned their good idea and fell facedown before the
Lord, He could work with them again....
When you and I abandon our good idea and fall to our face before
me Lord, then He will come and touch us, too. When we pursue our
own plan He cannot use us. We must abandon our good idea and fall
facedown before Him. Then He will be able to use us again. Then He will
reveal what He is doing - a God idea.... It is pray, then plan. Through
prayer, Jesus instructs of His plan, a God idea.
Prayer removes the impulse of the good idea, the good idea born
of human ingenuity but not of God. Pray, then plan. It is the habit
of the surrendered saint. (From Walking with Christ in the Details
of Life by Patrick M. Morley) [Inspirational SB]
The ministry of the unnoticed
The New Testament notices things which from our standards do not
seem to count. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," literally-- Blessed
are the paupers--an exceedingly commonplace thing! The preaching of
to-day is apt to emphasize strength of will, beauty of character--the
things that are easily noticed. The phrase we hear so often, 'Decide
for Christ,' is an emphasis on something Our Lord never trusted. He
never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him, a very different
thing. At the basis of Jesus Christ's Kingdom is the unaffected
loveliness of the commonplace. The thing I am blessed in is my poverty. If
I know I have no strength of will, no nobility of disposition,
then Jesus says--Blessed are you, because it is through this poverty
that I enter His Kingdom. I cannot enter His Kingdom as a good man or
woman, I can only enter it as a complete pauper.
The true character of the loveliness that tells for God is
always unconscious. Conscious influence is priggish and un-Christian.
If I say, 'I wonder if I am of any use,' I instantly lose the bloom
of the touch of the Lord. "He that believeth in me, out of him
shall flow rivers of living water." If I examine the outflow, I lose
the touch of the Lord.
Which are the people who have influenced us most? Not the ones
who thought they did, but those who had not the remotest notion that
they were influencing us. In the Christian life the implicit is never
conscious; if it is conscious, it ceases to have this unaffected loveliness
which is the characteristic of the touch of Jesus. We always know when
Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that
is inspiring. [My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers]