August 12, 2012 (getting closer!)
"Blessed are the poor in spirit (not spiritually arrogant - margin) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 5:2)
I'm beginning to think people -- okay, me! -- can be "spiritually arrogant" not only by considering myself to be "super-righteous" or "super-religious" ... but also by priding myself on "questioning it all" and being scornful/ judgmental toward others who think they already know it all, toward others who seem to be happy to just accept other folks' interpretations without question, toward those who don't seem to worry or care about "spiritual things" much at all (be they "believers" or "unbelievers" or "agnostics" or whatever...) :-(
I wonder if "poor" doesn't also mean "humble" - recognizing one's own lack of understanding - and one's own true inability to really understand at all without the total (!?!) direction of Your Spirit ... ("please help me to understand better" vs "please reveal so I can understand at all" ... are You "the Revealer" ... or just a "helpful hint-er" to turn to when we find ourselves a bit puzzled?? oh dear...)
What about grateful and appreciative and respectful (okay, in total awe, truly worshiping, prostrated before You! for Your salvation, Presence, Spirit, Love, Truth ... all ... for being All in All .. for Being!)
All areas in which I have so, so, so far to go :-(
Yes, being spiritually arrogant (in whatever way(s) that manifests itself) just puts up a big brick wall against any spiritual growth, development, relationship building. Sure does. I know that from my own personal arrogance. (Sorry, Lord. I've really only seen that very recently... how much of a "Pharisee" I am myself....)
So what now? "Repent"? ... but how? What does that really mean?
(I'm a good Canadian! People make jokes about Canadians and how they are always apologizing. Well, I'm for sure an apologizer... and hedger. I mean, have you noticed all the "perhaps's" and "maybes" and similar hedging expressions in my writing? "Keeping the peace." "Not offending." Being "reasonably tolerant" (now isn't THAT a double-whamming hedging expression!!!).
(When my kids were teens, they'd get mad at me for my constant "I'm sorry"s everytime something happened that upset the family "peace." They'd inform me that I really wasn't sorry...)
It seems that really being sorry demands a big change (total, turn-about, 180 degree type change). It seems tears and "I'm sorry"s aren't enough.
So what IS repentance? What does it mean?
Let's go back to John the Baptist's message for a minute. What did he say? Confess sins (really desire forgiveness!), be baptized, not just fleeing from the wrath to come but bearing good fruit here and now, sharing your extra tunic with someone who has none, same with food, not taking things by force, not falsely accusing (oops... does that include embellishing stories... and gossip...)... yep, all major life changes for the people he was talking to....
And what happens without repentance? Winnowing and threshing ... and the chaff burned up with unquenchable fire....
Poor in spirit?
If I want to be that, obviously my life will change. My motivations will change. I will turn away from my prideful, judgmental attitudes... (I'll stop any kind of gossiping, too...) (Etc...)
But how? Lord, please help me to see where I am NOT poor in spirit ... Help me repent ... Help me to depend totally on You instead of on my own self-reliance and "goodness" or whatever ...
(Do I really want all that?)
(I think so... yes...)
"Confess your sins."
List them. Individually. So you really see them ... and their impact.
And do it every day.
Keep your eyes, ears, heart open to see yourself... as others see. As God sees. (Yes, God "sees you through Jesus" and you are "no longer under condemnation" on the basis of Jesus' salvation) ... but now go on to LIVE in that ... live as Jesus lives, live as/who you now ARE. Be grateful, be joyful (surely you have reason to be!)... Flee from the life of arrogance and pride you've been rescued - saved - from. Why would you even want to stay there? Don't! Move on into the life Jesus has provided for you!
If you don't want to live Jesus' life ... if you "can't" ... have you really repented after all? Do you truly believe? Do you really "get" the wonder and awe of the gospel, of what Jesus has done for you? Really?