Read:  Matt 5:1-48

God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.  Matthew 5:5

Matthew  5:1-12 is the opening to Jesus’ most famous sermon – The Sermon on the Mount. We call these verses the Beatitudes, and they set the tone and really the state of heart that all the rest of Jesus’ teachings hang on. They outline the kind of people that God blesses, the kind of heart He is looking for in His followers.

Verse 5 summarizes the point… God blesses humble people. People with the humility to see their need for God. People with the humility to not act like they have it all together. People with the humility to not make life all about them but to pursue justice for others. People with the humility to extend mercy. People with the humility to accept that there is sin in their lives, who can then work to keep their hearts pure. People who can swallow their pride and work for peace rather than their own dominance or rightness in a situation. And people who can walk through persecution with a humble heart, much like Jesus did.

The rest of what Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount hangs on this humbleness of heart. Our willingness to put others first, to serve them, and not let our hubris get in the way of what God is doing. In some cases this may mean that we’ll need to be ok with being wronged without retaliating so that we don’t cloud who God is for others.

At the end of the day – humility wins the battles we fight, brings the blessing of God to our lives, and enables us to get out of God’s way so that He can do more than we could ever hope for or imagine through us. I would venture to say that humility is the key virtue of the Christian life. Without it we can’t really follow God well. Yet pride is the chief human vice. Pride blinds us, blows up relationships, and causes us to miss God and what He is doing.

So how is your humility? Living in America where we have been blessed with so much, it’s easy to be arrogant and not even know it. We begin to place our trust in ourselves, our stuff, our abilities, and we can’t even see it.

The Beatitudes are really a heart check for every Christian, and now would be a great time to do one. Are you growing in humility? If not, you aren’t growing toward Christ.

And here is some free pastoral advice. Don’t pray for humility. We aren’t instructed to do that in the Bible, and the answer to that prayer is usually painful. What the Bible does say is to humble yourself before God and He will lift you up. God will eventually humble you for your own good if need be, but it is much better to do the soul searching and life analyzing required to humble yourself.

Lord – that’s the kind of person I want to be, totally usable by you. I do not want a life that blocks your glory with my pride. Help me to see where I need to humble myself, and help me to be the kind of person you bless. Thank you Jesus that your way is the best way, the way that leads to life in all its fullness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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