Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Matthew 5:6


We are making our way through the book of Matthew and more specifically we are going through the beatitudes. Each of these beatitudes is really a discipline. Here's how it works:

#1-REAFFIRM YOUR POVERTY-To have a right evaluation of yourself before God-your wickedness (making it possible to do almost anything, any time) and your wonder (you are not as bad as you could be, since you are created in the image of the God of gods). 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

#2-REFRAME YOUR WEAKNESSES-To reframe your wickedness means to develop a sensitivity to that which keeps you from being and doing all that you were created to be and to do. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

#3-RENEW YOUR CONFIDENCE-To renew your confidence means is to develop a quiet, controlled strength. 5 Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

#4-REFOCUS YOUR HEART 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

To refocus your heart is to develop a passion for filling up the hole in your soul! Everybody is passionately seeking inner satisfaction. Note the progression of the first four attitudes. The first three speak primarily of that which is lacking within you and how you need to handle it. This fourth attitude or discipline is a kind of hungering and thirsting for what you want in your innermost being. This is that total satisfaction I was referencing before.

"Righteousness" is right living. It's walking consistently with God's standard. Jesus was the Righteous One Who walked most consistently with God's standard. In a very real sense, there is no other standard in the world. God's standard for living life is the only one you were created to follow. All other standards are not standards at all, but scattered attempts to live life without God. Many of these attempts are couched in what we know as RELIGION-religious systems of do's and don'ts to avoid going to hell. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness has nothing to do with a religious system whether Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish or even Christian. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness rests in a personal relationship with the Righteous One-Jesus, Himself. This sort of relationship is not a plan for avoiding hell, but it says "I've been to hell and don't want to return." It's a relationship with Jesus-walking with Jesus every day-JESUS PLUS NOTHING!

NOTE what happens if you hunger and thirst this way "for they who hunger and thirst for the Righteous One will be satisfied." The term "satisfied" is used to describe the fattening up of cattle-to fill them up so that they have no more wants. Do you want to find satisfaction in your soul? Then you must practice hungering and thirsting for Jesus everyday! It's the only possible way to this kind of serenity and satisfaction. This is what I mean by refocusing your heart!

I'll expand on it later, but here is an illustration of how your discontent works in your favor, if you allow it. The power of discontent provides the opportunity to refocus your heart! I see this power released as you take three positive steps:

First, picture yourself as created by the Creator! Although I've mentioned this earlier and probably will reference it again, you must not ignore this as one of the most powerful ingredients for your success. When you recognize your Creator, you avoid the temptation to play like you're God. This tends to keep you on track with who you really are and who you aren't. (This is the core of reaffirm your poverty.)

Second, process the pain with the hope of something better to come! The underlying attitude here is: All of the pain and disappointment will pass and are worth it, if I can get more inner satisfaction and growth for having experienced them. (This is the core of reframe your weaknesses.)

Third, practice the presence of your Creator in your life! This means to enjoy every day of your life from a different perspective-on a higher plane. It's living with your Creator as your partner in everything you do. There is a sense of accountability here that can't be achieved any other way. I have often taught with positive affirmation in the corporate marketplace that if you attempt to live your life without your Creator, you don't have prayer!

It's only when sensing your emptiness that you have access to spiritual fullness. These are the quiet cravings-the hungering and thirsting-for spiritual things, for the inner satisfaction of your soul! When you hunger and thirst for something, you want it and will do most anything to satisfy these desires. Hungering and thirsting is not simply making it a higher priority or something you feel you really ought to do, but to hunger and thirst as if this is a life-sustenance issue!

Refocus your heart! On every flight you are instructed to put on your oxygen mask before helping those children alongside you. Part of the refocusing of your heart is just that-putting on your oxygen mask every day-talking to Jesus, listening to Him and seeking to please Him with your life throughout the day. Maybe you need to ask the simple question: "Jesus, what do you have for me to do today?"