Yesterday I wrote a post I studied on meekness (Strength Submitted to God). Within an hour of posting it, thoughts would pop into my head that that was the antithesis of what I had studied. I wondered if I was being spiritually attacked. I felt locked up in my heart and thoughts, going between sadness, anger, and feeling helpless.
Many times in the past I would have reached out to a friend to talk it out, to be encouraged so that I could feel better. But I “heard” a still small voice tell me to just let it be, to wait until I understood what was happening. As I was beginning to process it, I realized I was to wait upon the Lord. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Is 40:31)
The Holy Spirit is showing me how truly poor in spirit I am, how little I deserve, what a wretched heart I have and truly how self-centered I am. I think too often of how something or someone upsets me, and too little of how something affects others. I stopped what I was doing and just sat realizing that when I studied the chapter on mourning my sin, I obtained knowledge about mourning my sin, but didn’t actually mourn it. But God’s wisdom tells me that I must! “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt 5:4)
The Lord wants me to first understand that I have sinned greatly against Him, recognize the nature of my sin and mourn over it so that it impresses the agony on me, so that I will be more compassionate with others. I “reheard” a question posed from the Lord in yesterday’s post: “Which would you rather I do: remove this difficult circumstance, or use it to conform you more to the image of My Son?” I know truly that “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
I had to look again at how God’s Word tells me to live. “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also.” (Col 3:12-13)
If I am to put on a heart of compassion, I must learn to see others as Jesus sees us all: “He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matt 9:36). Jesus looks at the crowds of people and is filled with compassion for them. These are the people of God. Instead of flourishing, Jesus sees that they are harassed and helpless. Jesus feels compassion for the crowd because they are weary, scattered and without a shepherd; they are lost sheep. I must learn to see others with His eyes.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenged the attitudes and behaviors of Israel’s religious leaders. This sermon, which begins with the Beatitudes, is a collection of truths designed to prepare His followers for His kingdom, which involves a lifestyle radically different from the world’s. In the Beatitudes, Jesus calls some people “blessed” who appear to be quite the opposite. People who “mourn” don’t seem to be “blessed,” according to most other people. Jesus is contrasting the world’s idea of happiness with true blessedness—spiritual prosperity—which comes from a right relationship with God.
The term mourn means “to experience deep grief.” In keeping with His theme of spiritual blessedness, Jesus says that this mourning is due to grief over sin. The people who agree with God about the evil of their own hearts can attain an “enviable state of blessedness,” due to the comfort they receive from communion with the Holy Spirit. And here it is: I am to seek comfort from the Holy Spirit, who is the Comforter or Helper. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16).
The Spirit comforts those who are honest about their own sin and humble enough to ask for forgiveness and healing. Those who hide their sin or try to justify it before God can never know the comfort that comes from a pure heart (Matt 5:8). “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Prov 28:13) It was amazing as I began to turn around my feelings and wondered if this is how I made others feel, I understood that many times my actions make me more like a Pharisee than like Jesus.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus reminds His disciples we can’t seek happiness the way the world does. True joy isn’t found in selfish ambition, excuses, or self-justification. An enviable state of blessedness comes to those who mourn over their own sin. “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My Word” (Isaiah 66:2b).
When we agree with God about how bad our sin is, repent of it, and seek His power to walk away from it, Jesus promises comfort from the Holy Spirit. The kind of “mourning” that leads to repentance is godly sorry. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor 7:10). Repentance results in forgiveness and cleansing from God (Ps 30:5).
I continue to mourn as I have heinously grieved the Holy Spirit. “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.” (Ps 51:4) I have justified my sin too often instead of mourning it. I don’t even begin to deserve the mercy and grace I have received from the Lord; and worse I have not glorified Him. There’s much mourning to do. Please be in prayer for me.
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