Dawn is breaking on a dark season where I have experienced insecurities, fears and achy hurt in deep places that I was convinced were healed and sealed off. Disappointment stood up to threaten my faith in God’s power to redeem what had been broken, crushed, and stomped on. A deceitful voice screaming of inadequacy had its microphone in hand and the amp cranked up. When my heart and mind would ask the Lord for dreams and hope, the words “not enough” would echo through my days. The things I knew I was able to do and things that shouldn’t be hard for a me to accomplish seemed like climbing Mt. Everest without shoes on. My to-do list was overwhelming, my heart was fractured, my mind was tuned to the wrong channel, my family was concerned, and my friends didn’t know where to find me.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever made or accepted a world where you go through the motions, but nothing seems to happen. Doggy paddling, then lying on your back in exhaustion, doggy paddling, and then lying on your back. It looks like movement, but it’s merely existing.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3
What does it look like to be poor in spirit and receive the kingdom of God? What does it look like to mourn and allow the Holy Spirit to comfort us?
Before Jesus started his ministry, the Spirit led him through the desert where he faced temptation. The enemy was watching, alert and aware that Jesus was fulfilling prophesies that pointed to the promise of the end of Satan’s ministry. How did Christ overcome temptation in the desert, when he was hungry, thirsty and isolated? He knew the Word of God, believed it and proclaimed it.
In Hebrews 4, the scriptures explain so much of how Jesus relates to us. "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (v. 15-16)
In chapter four of Matthew, Jesus used the written Word of God as a weapon in the face of more severe temptation than some of us might be able to fathom. I’ve known the magnetic force of temptation before, but I’ve never been hungry for 40 days and then been tempted with bread! “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Jesus won over temptation to sin by trusting his Father, through the work of his Spirit, and through speaking the living Word of God. Let me get more specific to us today. We aren't Jesus, so while in application it looks the same, our position is much different. We are only able to walk in victory over sin because Christ has defeated it. In the face of sin, by faith we walk in the victory of what He has already accomplished. We must know the Word of God to be "doers of the Word of God" and understand who we are in Christ. It is not be our works, but by grace that we have been saved. His love.
Jesus knows what it is to be poor in spirit. In his full and short 33 years walking this earth, he experienced the depth of pain in betrayal, being taken advantage of, bold-face lied to, spit on by those he loved most, rejected by those he gave his life for, abandoned by those he came to rescue, disappointed by those he believed in, the twisting stab of adultery. The King of glory walked through these things to save us. He loved perfectly through those moments through the abundance of love he received from his Father God. Jesus always leads us to the heart of the Father, because that's where he goes first. He's truly the best Shepherd. Read chapter 5 of Matthew and see what Jesus was doing before he sat down and taught his disciples the beatitudes, where you find "blessed are the poor in spirit". He was healing people and setting them free.
As I mentioned before, I walked in defeat and deep, deep sorrow for so many months. I struggled to walk through life with weighty burdens in different facets of life. Circumstances don't have the ability or power to keep us in bondage, but they can certainly make us feel like it. Below are few lies that the Lord revealed to me were the broken methods and ungodly beliefs that were holding me in bondage through these things. If this is you and you're tracking with me, please read carefully:
Lie: I'm back in this same low place again, in need of rescue. I'm depressed and defeated. How can I call my Father to this place when he's taught me how to not land here before. He won't come to me this time, so I need to make my way back to him. I need to will myself into joy!
The truth: There is nothing that is a surprise to God. Do I believe Jesus went to the cross to take all sin and shame except mine? Or yours? Do I think he surveyed the land and all generations and said, “All except that one right there!” That’s crazy. That’s just not his MO. Now, if you’re continuously returning to sin, you need to stop it. Ask for help. If you feel a gravitational pull toward a thought-process, a coping mechanism, an addiction, something that you know is keeping distance between you and God, the shame of that will never let you go until you let the sin go. I’ll be redundant and urge you to ask for help. Ask Him for help first, and then ask a trusted sister for help.
Lie: In the Lord’s Prayer, the words, ‘your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ were meant to defeat evil, not to mend my heart.
The truth: The King himself, took off His robe of light, was born in flesh He made only to for us who are heavily burdened, needing, oppressed, yearning for relief. We're still in need of rescue, and by his Spirit, He still brings us out of the darkness and into the light. He even invites us into where He is, into the throne room of grace to speak freely in confession of what's truly in our hearts. He lets us do this, because we need it. God has called us a royal priesthood, a chosen people, co-heirs with Christ. This is not who we were before we come to faith, but this is who we are in King Jesus. Why do we forget this? We need His Kingdom to come into our hearts, and this happens when we simply accept Him. We forget because we get distracted, we distrust God, and we believe the lie that God doesn't care. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Once I came to know the depths of my disparity and rawness of my scarcity, in these depths do I savor the riches of His glory.
Lie: I am disappointing my Father. He doesn’t want to hear from me until I have this stuff figured out. I mean, I know better than being this down in the dumps.
The truth: We cannot “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) without going first to the Savior with our tears and honesty. Does that make sense? If your child was in a pit so vast and more slippery than they could ever get out of by themselves, would you leave them there? Of course not. I would spend my life to rescue my children and then teach them why they don’t want to go there again. I would talk through it with them. I would counsel them. I would teach them. When He teaches us, our paradigms shift and everything about everything changes. God responds to our repentance. Repentance looks like acknowledging sin, confessing, and turning away from it. Pursue and embrace forgiveness on all sides. Ask Him how to walk in freedom and to hear his warning when it comes to those slippery slopes.
Lie: I am not supposed to be depressed or feel the way that I do. I can't trust anyone with the way that I feel or what I'm struggling with. Emotionally and medically, people need me to not be where I am, lest I let them down. I need to do what I know to do, and all this will work itself out. Plus, this is just who I am now. Things change people, and I can't go back to where I was. I just need to go through the motions of what I know is right, and this too shall pass.
The truth: No circumstance can change your identity in Christ. Your true friends want to know what’s going on with you and how to pray for you. If you’re stuck in a room without a light, you might need someone else on the outside to open the door so that light floods in and you can see to get out. The voice of a friend praying over me, speaking the truth of God’s word over me was what helped me find the doorway. Then, the hallway. Then, the door that led outside my own self. Telling a sister what’s going on in your life is allowing her to obey the Lord in loving you. The Bible doesn’t make light of confession.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
Lie: I am not enough and I don't have what it takes to do what I need to do. I will never get through this season. I just need to learn to deal with it.
The truth: I am not enough BUT He is enough. He valued me enough to send His son to die for me. He created me and knows me better than anyone else. Through faith in His son, I have been given the gift of life that cannot be taken away. I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption, and my Creator did not leave me here to wander or flounder through life. That means that today, I can walk in victory. I have to learn what this means. I cannot practice what I do not know, but I need His help to learn. I am His beloved child, and He loves to teach me and show me things. I am not enough. In my weakness, He is strong. Every time.
My prayer is that the Word of God would dwell in us richly and that your citizenship in His Kingdom would be the realest thing you feel and the loudest thing you hear today. Are you in a season of heaviness? Are you lacking hope? Is your spirit starved for resuscitation and revival? Tell Him that. If you need someone to know where you're at in life, in this season, in need of encouragement or if you have practical needs, we would love to know this to pray for you. You are loved deeply, beyond what you could know by those of us who yearn for you to experience the power and sweet nearness of His Spirit in your day to day life. It's an honor to be on this journey in Jesus with you.
With All My Heart,