Friday, September 30, 2011

BE Attitude #1: I must DECREASE


Matthew 5:1-3 (ESV) Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. (2) And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: (3) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3 (TM) "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.


Jesus began his sermon with words that seem to contradict each other. But God's way of living usually contradicts the world's. If you want to live for God, you must be ready to say and do what seems strange to the world. You must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse. By giving up your own rights in order to serve others, you will one day receive everything God has in store for you.

The Beatitudes can be understood in at least four ways: (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 that Christ demands. (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.

Each beatitude tells how to be blessed by God. 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. Being "blessed" by God 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.

With Jesus' announcement that the Kingdom was near (Matthew 4:17), people were naturally asking, "How do I qualify to be in God's Kingdom?" Jesus said that God's Kingdom is organized differently from worldly kingdoms. In the Kingdom of Heaven, wealth and power and authority are unimportant. Kingdom people seek different blessings and benefits, and they have different attitudes. Are your attitudes a carbon copy of the world's selfishness, pride, and lust for power, or do they reflect the humility and self-sacrifice of Jesus, your king?


Blessed are the poor in spirit—the humble—for theirs is the kingdom. Barclay calls this "the supreme blessedness." The Greek word makarios, which is translated "blessed," is difficult to translate into English. It incorporates the meaning of wholeness, of joy, of well-being, of a holistic peace expressed by the Hebrew word shalom.

The word describes a condition of inner satisfaction expressed by Jesus in John 14:27 : "My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you" (KJV).

The poor in spirit are those who, in absolute poverty of spirit, are solely dependent upon God. Such persons have no confidence in their own successes or achievements, for they enjoy the gift of God's acceptance and fellowship.

This first BE Attitude, teaches us to lean completely and totally upon God. In the Message it says, "with less of you there is more of God and His rule." John the Baptist said as Jesus came on the scene, "I must decrease so that He (Jesus) can increase." (John 3:30)

The only way for Jesus and His rule and influence to increase in our life is for our desires, whims, habits, to decrease in their selfishness. As a Christian we are NEW creatures in Christ. We are born again, as a new person, it is a work of the Spirit of God within us. What is started in the Spirit, cannot be finished in the flesh. It is started, continued and completed in the Spirit. But as days go by, if we do not die to our flesh, and become "poor in Spirit" then we will INCREASE and slowly but surely Christ and His influence will DECREASE in us.

But...blessed, happy, peaceful are those who daily make the choice for Christ to increase in their life. As we do this, we are promised the kingdom of heaven. You will never get to heaven on your own ability, or with YOU increasing. It will only happen when Jesus increases in you.

As you go throughout this day, look for areas in your life where Jesus has been crowded out by your selfishness, and repent of that, and make yourself decrease so Christ can increase!


"Jesus, my prayer today is that You will increase in my life, but that can only happen as I decrease. I want to make sure I have room in my thougths, heart, life, for you. To do that, I must crucify my flesh, die to my selfish whims. I must decrease so You can increase. When I do this, I am happy, joyful, and peaceful. And the kingdom of heaven if mine! In Jesus' name, amen!"