We must see the Beatitudes as a spiritual filter through which our whole being passes. Each phrase has the ability to cleanse our human hearts and bring both the kingdoms of God and of this world into clearer focus. As our heart is made pure, so is our vision of Christ and His vision for the lost.
While this process of becoming better conduits for the 100% Jesus may sound simplistic, the actual experience is not. The Apostle Paul was concerned about the spiritual development of the Galatian Christians and addressed them with these words: “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). Did you catch that? Watching others go through the painful struggle of discipleship is like giving birth. The same can be said for the disciple’s own experience. Granted, Paul could not claim first-hand knowledge of the birth process, but he had seen enough to know this was an appropriate metaphor to describe how the Holy Spirit orchestrates our transformation.
It is time now to begin pouring our hearts and minds through the strainer. As we do, we must be careful not to focus too much on ourselves. I realize this may feel counterintuitive since we must examine ourselves in order to evaluate our progress. Yet, our purpose for this struggle cannot be self-centered, lest we become like the Pharisees who strained out the gnat and swallowed the camel. Our desire should be to see Christ more clearly, to understand the kingdom more perfectly, and to kindle our passion for lost souls. In fact, the more Jesus is found in us, the more naturally these things will occur. It is impossible to grow in our Savior’s grace and not be affected by His kingdom vision and His compassion for the lost.
Join with me now as we take hold of Christ’s first Beatitude and attempt to embrace it fully. I must offer this warning to which I have already alluded: blessings sometimes involve pain and sacrifice. They require us to give us what we don’t need to possess what we must have. But I promise you the joy will be worth the pain.