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July 12 I Friday

Psalms 4-6

Acts 17:16-34

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”   —Matthew 5:3-4

 

The Greek word makarios, translated “blessed,” literally means, “to be happy.” Not in a superficial sense, where all our circumstances are nice and comfortable, and therefore we are happy, but as a deep inner sense of well-being, where we are happy irrespective of the circumstances that we find ourselves in.

This is why Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). When we are faced with our poverty of spirit and become aware that we do not have what it takes, we can do one of two things. Firstly, we can hide, pretend and put on some outward façade. Or secondly, we can face it honestly and mourn. Jesus tells us, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). When Jesus talks about mourning here, He is not talking about death and funerals. Rather, linking mourning with what has gone before: the consequence of facing our poverty of spirit is that we recognize it and we mourn that poverty.

Some may have expected perhaps a different description for the latter part of that verse, possibly, “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be criticized” or “they will be condemned.” Instead, Jesus says, “for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). But, comforted by whom? The Comforter, a title that Jesus mentioned several times in the Gospel of John to denote the Holy Spirit, which comes from the Greek word parakletos. This Greek word can also be translated “advocate,” meaning somebody who comes alongside a need and meets that need. This is the same word used in, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be parakletos”—comforted by the Comforter.

The Holy Spirit’s task is to replace our poverty with the riches of Jesus Christ, our weakness with the strength of Jesus Christ, our defeat with the victory of Jesus Christ and our sin with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The person who faces these circumstances discovers that all the riches of the kingdom of heaven become theirs. This is comforting because it is not about what we do for God but what we let Him do for, in and through us.

Whenever God exposes our poverty of spirit through our failure and sin, it is never to humiliate, embarrass or condemn us. Rather, He helps us recognize our shortcomings, that He might replace them with His own presence in our lives. We can mourn our poverty of spirit and also be happy at the same time because of the blessed comfort from the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for comforting me through Your Holy Spirit. Help me to look past my present circumstances and rest upon the truth that my riches are found in You.


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