“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
As we read through the first part of Matthew 5, the Beatitudes, we start to understand God’s heart for the afflicted. God blesses the people who are insufficient within themselves by showing them that they have all they need in Jesus Christ. Are we humbling ourselves to be dependent on the Holy Spirit? Do we rejoice in our weakness because we know that in our weakness, God shows Himself to be strong? I recently watched an interview with Maryam and Marziyeh; two Iranian Christians imprisoned for smuggling Bibles into the mailboxes of thousands in Iran.
One of the things that stood out to me in their interview was that they were terrified on their first day in prison. They felt the physical weight of their fear: their throats were dry, their skin was pale, and they were shaking. “We thought it was our last day on this earth,” said Maryam. In the height of their desperation, they chose to turn to the Lord and began to pray for strength. Throughout their stay in prison, they were able to share the gospel with inmates and guards alike. The missionaries who spent their first few days in a place with no food and kept warm by wrapping themselves in urine-stained blankets said their prison became their church.
Even when a guard executed their best friend, and the cries of tortured inmates surrounded them, they held fast to an eternal perspective. Maryam and Marziyeh were released from prison and are currently working as advocates for religious freedom and women’s equality in Iran.
Christianity is paradoxical at times. Jesus’ teaching on the Beatitudes is one of the most outstanding examples of God utterly demolishing the wisdom of this world. In 1 Corinthians 3:19, it says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” As we meditate on this passage, we have to remind ourselves that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you an understanding of His Kingdom so you can walk in these beautiful promises of God like Maryam and Marziyeh.
"GOD'S WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN OUR WAYS AND HIS THOUGHTS ARE HIGHER THAN OUR THOUGHTS."
LORD, thank you for your Word. Teach us your ways, Holy Spirit. Forgive us for trying to control our own lives instead of surrendering ourselves into Your loving hands. Help us align with Your thoughts and not lean on our own understanding.