The ‘Be a Certain Way’ Attitude’s

I was recently thinking about the first teachings to come out of Jesus’ mouth, according to the book of Matthew, in chapter 5. It got me thinking, is this the ‘gospel’ Jesus taught and all things would flow around these teachings? They call them the beautitudes, must mean something about ‘being blessed’. The teachings are as follows and I think they represent a fair portrayal of what Jesus altogether taught through his life.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
What is the ‘poor in spirit’? Luke pins/defines it by saying ‘the poor’ (leaving out spirit). It seems that Christians would identify themselves as people that care about the poor (ex: depressed, poverty-stricken, diseased, hospitalized, oppressed, etc). Following Christ seems to mean ‘helping/serving’ the poorer parts of our society, identifying with them and actually caring about the needs they have. Jesus’ whole ministry included the poor in his society (lepers, blind, poverty-stricken, diseased, demon-possessed, prostitutes, drunks, etc…).

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Mourning, the act of sorrow and contrition. I guess the opposite of this would be holding in and harboring pain, resulting in much stress and anger. It seems the release of your problems and your sorrows is key with moving forward in life, to finding answers, to finding comfort. Bad things will happen in life around you and it will change you, will you deal with loss or build animosity? It seems Jesus points to this and says ‘this is normal’ and comfort will come from all angles if we accept, not reject our sorrow.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
What does meek mean? Meekness is interpreted as ‘gentle’, ‘kind’, ‘quiet’, and ‘reserved’. Being meek means to exemplify the message of Christ, kindness and compassion. These are the people that ‘do not lord it over others’, they act as ‘servants’, and ‘love & accept others’. Meekness is seen as the opposite of proud. This statement is true about inheriting the earth. The more accepting and compassionate you are the more friends you gain, who in turn trust you (sometimes with everything). Little do you know that by your kindness you have safe-guarded your life.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Satisfaction can only come by seeking and ‘hungering’ for the truth or the ‘right’ answer. Ignorance is bliss, but the truth is satisfying. Asking questions and seeking the answers to problems is key to growing and becoming a responsible person. If you quit seeking and asking you run the risk of becoming apathetic and complacent…you make yourself irrelevant. Getting the ‘right’ answer is not an easy process but it will help complete your life (ethic, ideas, paradigms, answers, actions, etc).

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
This is the idea that if you treat people with mercy (forgiveness) they will in turn do that for you when you wrong them. It also speaks to respecting others and your outlook on judgment (do you judge too critically?). The call is to be someone who can forgive others because sometimes ‘they know not what they are doing’. It is also the higher principle in judgment, having mercy as your basis for judging others and not condemnation.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Pure in heart? This seems to relate back to the last point ‘treating others as you want to be treated’. It’s about developing ethics based on these ‘blessed’ statements and developing an attitude of salvation (you can actively help others) and not judgment (being critical of others to their detriment). It is a pure thing to have a vision of seeing humans as God’s creation and then treating them thusly. Not only are you seeing the human side of a person but you recognize their link back to God (as His creation)…so you do see God in helping them and sharing with them. This statement directly relates to Jesus’ parable on the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
This speaks to the heart of the gospel (Jesus’ teachings), it is called the ‘gospel of peace’…meaning these words of Jesus should always reflect peace and nothing else. It plays a reference to knowing God in that being called a ‘child of God’ is being called part of God’s family (there is no higher praise for a human than this). So the child of God is a child of peace and decides in all situations that division, destruction, violence, hate, seperation, and war are all ideals of a human mind-frame (limited thinking). There is nothing greater than knowing you partner with God in any situation that brings peace.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
It is a little known fact that some people will not like you for the sake of ‘doing the right thing’, as proven in history, which comes from seeking the right answers to tough questions (ex: segregation, in-equality, racism, class systems). Doing the right thing doesn’t always mean people are going to hold your hands up as a champion, no…they might hate you if it is too hard against the status quo (ex: see the civil rights of African Americans in the 1900’s). Helping others on a personal level might mean you are subject to harsh criticism’s, judgment by friends, avoidance, and outright dislike towards you (it does happen). This can happen once you decide to help the oppressed, down-trodden, poor, depressed, criminal, etc..and fly in the face of the norm.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
This is the same speech as the previous one and means the same thing except for one little addition ‘because of me’. This means you are standing up for the ‘right things’ (same as above) but you also are recognized as a follower of Jesus (more for it’s time period 1st Century AD). But the fact Jesus taps his name on the end of it does mean He is aware of the animosity people will have for these teachings (and following Jesus’ teachings can make you a target). What is also different is the fact these people might be ‘killed’ for what they believe (that’s what happened to many of the prophets who claimed to have messages from God). Rejoice in the fact you are hated? Points to a central teaching of Jesus, everlasting life or a heaven (resurrection & life after death). So focus your effort’s on earthly situations, but your reward is from beyond this earth.

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22 thoughts on “The ‘Be a Certain Way’ Attitude’s

  1. Very wonderful post. I have recently figured out that trying to live your life by these values can cause a lot of heartache. It shouldn’t be of no suprise, but I guess I just thought everybody would see things the way I do. But, Jesus said if they hated me their going to hate you as well.
    By the way, I have a new blog address. it’s http://www.chrisledgerwood.blogspot.com
    I was offline for awhile and was unable to use the old address. As always you have written a very thought provoking post that I needed to read. Thanks!

  2. Hi Society
    I have a few points for you to consider.
    Re: Poor in Spirit

    First, Jesus’ blessing of the poor in spirit is just that. Often we equate “poor in spirit” with “materially poor” because people of little faith tend to be poor. My father was “poor in spirit” and his lack of faith impoverished his family for 2 decades. (BTW, the “rich” tend to invest more in their children. They have faith in the future, even though the love of money is a constant temptation.). But if you ask him, my father would never say he’s “poor in spirit” and that’s the key. Being aware of your own spiritual poverty is the condition for receiving the blessing. All of us are poor in spirit, being infinitesimal in spirit without the redeeming love of Christ. Jesus is calling us to recognize in ourselves our own spiritual poverty (i.e. hubris) so that we can receive His spirit and His kingdom.

    Jesus calls us to help the poor, but here He is specifically addressing the poverty of spirit. Also, Jesus always adresses each listener/reader directly. He’s showing us how we can be blessed. His discussion with us must always be viewed first as “one-on-one”.

    Meek
    Your definition of meek is correct except its not complete without the biblical definition, “bearing difficulties or injuries with patience and humility”. Meekness was a virtue to the Psalmists and the prophets in the OT, not a weakness. Its more akin to “long-suffering”, which is only maintained by a trust in the Lord. By gaining friends I assume you mean they gravitate to a meek person because of their integrity. As for earth, I think He’s referring to the new Earth, not the one that’s destined to turn to dust.

    Hunger for Thirst and Righteousness

    You hit the nail on the head here. For the sake of clarity, I would add the definition of “righteousness” as being “right in God’s sight”. That would close the door to those who would expand it to include “social justice” with its deadly “right to choose”. “God’s justice” is what we have sought when we receive this blessing.

    That’s the first three reviewed. The main point I’d like to make is that Jesus is talking about our relationship with God, that’s His focus here.

    For instance, you wrote, “This is the idea that if you treat people with mercy (forgiveness) they will in turn do that for you when you wrong them.” They? I hope you mean Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you mean Islamic fascists, don’t hold your breath waiting for mercy.

    The root of all our problems begins with our relationship with our Creator (Gen. 32:22-34/ Matthew 6:33). If we seek to grow that relationship, everything else falls into place.
    As always a thought provoking post. You’ve given lots of ideas for my next posting assignment.
    God bless and Thanks.

  3. Jim I commend you on the research you’ve put into this comment, very well done. I commend your writing and your focus. Thanks for the comments.

    I think poor in spirit is just that, maintaining a stance that stands besides the ‘poor’ in society (side by side as partners in the struggle). I have wondered about this saying ‘the poor in spirit’ for some time and from a thorough read of the gospels it makes more sense to say ‘identify with the poor’ than spiritual bankruptness. If I simply read the gospels it is filled with references about Jesus’ mission to the under-fed in religious society and the outcast (Jesus being both poor & poor in spirit). Then he tells John’s disciples ‘the gospel is preached to the poor’…why is that important at all? Jesus’ ministry shows it was the literal poor he was talking about (ex: lepers, samaritans, demoniacs, diseased, etc). So on that I think there needs to be more discussion.

    Meekness is the opposite of pride, if there is an opposite. It’s washing feet, breaking the bread for the table, and serving others…it’s taking the place as an equal and not an authority. People tend to gravitate to people that are humble (meek) like this. The disciples are that proof, as they hang on Jesus’ every word. Meekness may also be ‘long-suffering’ but that is tackled in a later ‘blessed are you…’. I think meekness here refers to humility, gracefulness, and genuine kindness. The proud get destruction and the meek get the earth…a role reversal. If that’s a new earth…that is left unsaid.

    I do admit this ‘righeousness’ is doing right things versus doing wrong things and Jesus’lays that out clearly in Matthew (sermon on the mount) and in other gospels. I guess the search for ethical truth will end in finding God (satisfied).

    Why does righteousness = God’s justice? Mercy = God’s justice in these statements. Righteousness seems to be the search for truth and knowledge here, not justice.

    I think we gather these statements from Jesus (God) and then in turn live them amongst others. It is more than just a relationship with God being taught here, that’s part of it…but it also includes the way we ‘treat our neighbor’. It’s the rock we build upon (our paradigm), that’s these teachings.

    As far as blessing goes, I am not sure if this is something you believe but it seems to me you equate blessing with riches (or wealth).
    “because people of little faith tend to be poor. My father was “poor in spirit” and his lack of faith impoverished his family for 2 decades”.
    I don’t think blessing comes in the term of money, power, or anything man-made. The blessing, if it is to be compared with later verses, seems to be identification with the ‘kingdom of God’. You will be taken care of and you in turn will take care of others. Money is not a blessing, since Jesus’ teachings on money contradict such ideas. Such as these little gems:
    As for where your heart is, so will your focus also be. You cannot serve 2 masters; it’s either God or money. Store up treasures in heaven and not on earth (this cannot mean money so what are we storing?). Not a single parable mentions money as a blessing, addition of things but not money. I may be wrong here but it seems church-ology has been Capitalized.

  4. Hola society
    Thanks for your prompt reply.

    I have wondered about this saying ‘the poor in spirit’ for some time and from a thorough read of the gospels it makes more sense to say ‘identify with the poor’ than spiritual bankruptness.

    So Jesus meant “identify with the poor”, not “poor in spirit”? Why did He say “poor in spirit” then? Is that a typo? A thorough reading of the Scriptures begins with the Scripture you’re reading. “Poor in spirit” in Greek does not translate to “identify with the poor”.

    3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
    4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

    7″Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

    Hmmmmmmmmm. Now, what do you think is more important, knowing Christ or wiping out poverty? I also would like you to run “Judas Iscariot” as a search on Bible Gateway. He was the traitor, the one of the 12 who got it wrong. Please do a post on why he got it wrong.

    If I simply read the gospels it is filled with references about Jesus’ mission to the under-fed in religious society and the outcast (Jesus being both poor & poor in spirit).

    OK, where are those underfed folks today? Are they collecting 2000 years of social security because Jesus fed them? No, of course not. They’ve been long dead. And Jesus, being God, could not have been “poor in spirit”.

    Then he tells John’s disciples ‘the gospel is preached to the poor’…why is that important at all?

    “Preaching to the poor” was one sign of the messiah because God’s investment in man is not limited or even overtly concerned with the rich and powerful. Christ would not be disappointed if He was never invited to be on “Oprah”. Don’t forget that the key factor was this: “and He raised the dead”. That was the clincher. Anyone can preach the gospel to the poor. The messiah can raise the dead.

    Jesus’ ministry shows it was the literal poor he was talking about.

    Do you really want to box Jesus in as a socialist messiah? Jesus is God to the rich, the middle class, and the poor. Note: You can help the poor all you want, and still go to Hell.

    Your idea of meekness is ostensibly the same as mine.

    The disciples are that proof, as they hang on Jesus’ every word.

    And I’m sure Matthew got the “poor in spirit” part right!

    If that’s a new earth…that is left unsaid.

    My maternal grandfather was meek, and he sure didn’t inherit the earth. If Jesus was telling the truth, He could only have been talking about the earth to come.

    Righteousness seems to be the search for truth and knowledge here, not justice.

    No, righteousness is the acceptance of Christ and the deliverance of our lives to Him.

    I think we gather these statements from Jesus (God) and then in turn live them amongst others. It is more than just a relationship with God being taught here, that’s part of it…but it also includes the way we ‘treat our neighbor’.

    Fair enough. Our relationship with God is primary. Its a matter of accepting His guidance, and then we can receive His blessings, all eight of these at least.

    As far as blessing goes, I am not sure if this is something you believe but it seems to me you equate blessing with riches (or wealth)….Money is not a blessing, since Jesus’ teachings on money contradict such ideas.

    “Equate” is a dishonest distortion of my words. Wealth is indeed one blessing. How we use it shows our Creator who we are. I recently watched the movie on Babe Ruth and was disappointed to see that the Babe worried more about being forgotten in his declining years than he was happy that he had been blessed for playing a silly game that 100 years before would have brought him nothing. Money is a tool in His repertoire, but not the ultimate blessing.

    Not a single parable mentions money as a blessing, addition of things but not money.

    The “parable of the talents”, the payment of the vineyard workers, etc. Jesus uses money as an analogy to blessing over and over.

    I may be wrong here but it seems church-ology has been Capitalized.

    I have no idea what you mean by that. Please clarify – it does sound interesting.

    You’ve opened a provocative and fruitful discussion of the Beatitudes. For that I thank you.

  5. “So Jesus meant “identify with the poor”, not “poor in spirit”? Why did He say “poor in spirit”…”Poor in spirit” in Greek does not translate to “identify with the poor”.” (Jim)

    Spirit is the interesting word here that we can’t find common ground on. Poor is just obvious. I also using Luke’s (6:20) wording which simpy is ‘blessed are the poor’ (he excludes spirit for some reason). I find with or without the message I am saying won’t alter. Since being ‘poor in spirit’ and ‘poor’ are 2 varying things according to your interpretation. I don’t see the conundrum as much and then one has to wonder…what was Luke thinking?

    As far as Judas goes he was called a ‘betrayer’ and in the passage you cited, a ‘thief’. He betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins (money)…he proves the old adage ‘you can’t serve both money and God’. He was not unjustified for saying ‘give the money to the poor’ but for wanting to ‘steal it’.
    The fact Jesus says ‘you always have the poor’ is notable. It’s like saying ‘you always have war and rumours of war’. They are true statements but do not denote a single thing. This is not a statement condemning the poor, nor is it a statement supporting the poor…it is merely a fact.

    “OK, where are those underfed folks today? Are they collecting 2000 years of social security because Jesus fed them? No, of course not. They’ve been long dead. And Jesus, being God, could not have been “poor in spirit”.” (Jim)

    The under-fed, well, you ‘always have them with you’…it’s the human condition and phenomena we face every century. Poor can come to mean diseased, poverty-stricken, sick, demonized, etc. These people suffer in our society and so did in Jesus’, but he did something for them. Should we do something for them? WWJD?

    As far as Jesus not being ‘poor in spirit’ well that’s just not true from a firm read of those beautitudes. Other characteristics mentioned include: mourning, meek, hunger/thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted (for God). I read those and I can see Jesus’ character reflected but ‘poor in spirit’ does not reflect Him, just us? So I can pick that one out and say this does not reflect Christ? Then why are the ‘poor in spirit’ inheriting heaven? Same place Jesus ascended to.

    “”Preaching to the poor” was one sign of the messiah because God’s investment in man is not limited or even overtly concerned with the rich and powerful…Don’t forget that the key factor was this: “and He raised the dead”. That was the clincher. Anyone can preach the gospel to the poor. The messiah can raise the dead.” (Jim)

    According to Isaiah the raising of the dead is ‘a’ key factor. Along with preaching to the poor, giving sight to the blind, lame walk, lepers cleansed, and the deaf hear. John’s disciples in Luke 7 report this phenomona to John in prison and John after hearing about healing’s and someone being ‘raised from the dead’ (in Nain) still questions if Jesus is the Christ? Jesus quotes Isaiah to the disciples and tells then to go and tell John what they ‘seen’ and ‘heard’. So identifying with the poor is a sign (preached to them) of the Christ. I find no problem with a message aimed at the poor…for the blind, lame, deaf, diseased, etc.

    “Do you really want to box Jesus in as a socialist messiah? Jesus is God to the rich, the middle class, and the poor. Note: You can help the poor all you want, and still go to Hell.” (Jim)

    I am not boxing Jesus into nothing nor comparing Him with a political regime of any sort. I am just reading what is there lined up with what he lived (from within the gospels written of Him). I don’t see Jesus teaching socialism but if he was then he was ‘way ahead’ of His time. That being said the bible reflects (including Acts) a type of community that shares all things, feeds the widows, lives together, etc. Now is that socialism? Acts 2:43-47.

    If you help the poor all your life you cannot for sure say ‘they will go to hell’ or God is no longer their judge, you are…so that’s also worth noting. But if I saw someone devote their life to the poor (ex: Mother Teresa or someone like her), even parts of their life, then I have to say they identify with Christ, knowingly or not. Are they saved? If they practice the ethics taught by Jesus what can I say…’he that is for Him cannot easily be against Him’.

    “No, righteousness is the acceptance of Christ and the deliverance of our lives to Him.” (Jim)

    If this statement you say is true then why didn’t Jesus just say that? Blessed are those that accept me as deliverace for their lives, they will be satisfied. Seeme you are adding something from dogma to the mix which isn’t actually being said at all. I checked for your literal statement in Jesus’ teachings, ‘acceptance of Christ and deliverance of our lives to Him’…nothing came up. A sound check of of a theology text might bring it up. Top that off righteousness is simply the teachings of Jesus (the right things to do) and as mentioned, they get outlined throughout the gospels but in one place as much as right after these beautitudes (sermon on the mount).

    “Not a single parable mentions money as a blessing, addition of things but not money.”
    The “parable of the talents”, the payment of the vineyard workers, etc. Jesus uses money as an analogy to blessing over and over.” (SV & Jim)

    Jesus used money as an ‘analogy’. Which denotes not a literal interpretation of those ‘parables’. I guess money can be added to you as a blessing but it’s not noted well in the gospels at all. Responsibility is noted (added more too), even accountability, but talents more than often seem to reflect following the teachings of Christ. Sorry if I equated your saying with money, I was presumptious.

    “I may be wrong here but it seems church-ology has been Capitalized.” (SV)

    Capitalism and the alignment of Christian teachings to it, not vice-versa. In that I mean the society of ‘money’ and ‘gain’ which infiltrated the church decades ago. We now have pastors with mansions, huge amounts of money, and true contentment on earth. If we do more of what Pat Robertson”’s group just did for Katrina we might look a little more compassionate, and less authoritarian.

  6. Hi society,

    Spirit is the interesting word here that we can’t find common ground on.
    I’m not sure why .

    Poor is just obvious.
    My French is very poor. Does that mean I have no money?

    re: Luke 6:20 – Read through the whole wording of Luke 6, particularly from verse 18 in the Amplified Bible. Jesus promises the poor will receive the kingdom of God, not affordable healthcare and foodstamps.

    Jesus used money as an ‘analogy’.
    Yes. An analogy of blessing.

    Should we do something for them (the poor)? WWJD?

    Yes! More than is comfortable for us to give we must give. Our time, food, clothes, etc.

    Our difference is not in the actions we wish to take regarding the poor. My message to you is to understand that the final stand will not be here on earth. As Christians we should never invest in a conservative or liberal movement or mind set because our Guide is so much greater than that.

    We have disagreed on emphasis and interpretation, but not on our mission. If the poor believe that riches on earth are the goal, then the kingdom of God loses its importance.

    In the end glorifying God must be our way of life (our modus operandi, as it is our way to Life. Worship of God alone, seeking the hand of Christ and letting Him lead us.

  7. Here’s a new way of seeing “poor in spirit”… looking at the Greek terminology and original meanings, the phrase can be broken down like this:

    poor (meaning a beggar, or the needy)
    in Spirit (Holy Spirit, or spirit of life from God)…

    Therefore it is very possible that as Jesus was saying this, the people hearing Him then would have taken it to mean that those who need to the point of begging for the Holy Spirit or new life from God would by received in heaven. Being desperate for the Holy Spirit, those are blessed. Even in Luke, as the “in spirit” isn’t present, it still makes sense that Jesus would be assuring the people that if they are in need (perhaps those who believe in Him), that they are blessed for they have the resources of heaven.
    ———————————-
    I take the “pure in heart” slightly differently. When something is pure, it’s 100%, not diluted or corrupt. So I see being pure of heart as being undivided in our hearts, being wholly God’s and not mixed with or tainted by the world or other affections. This is a harder thing to achieve since everything in the world is vying for our heart’s attention, and our busy-ness distracts us from loving God with our whole heart. But wow!, what a reward, to see God! To be purely His vessel for use, purely laying our lives and rights down to live only for Him, to purely worship and adore Him without selfish agenda creeping in at all – now to live like that, a person would be truly blessed!

  8. “Spirit is the interesting word here that we can’t find common ground on.
    I’m not sure why .” (SV & JJ)

    I guess I should say ‘in spirit’ is where the discussion zooms into a higher platitude. You say ‘spiritual poverty’ and I say ‘identifying with’ (as in same spirit). But the term ‘spiritual’ poverty does not come up at all again in Jesus’ teachings. Where as the word ‘poor’ does (several times) and always refers to ‘being poor’, thus I raise this discussion. I am not saying I am right but I will check this out further. I am open to your idea.

    “My French is very poor. Does that mean I have no money?” (JJ)

    No, but that sentence is not the sentence under discussion anyways. But if your french is poor can you relate to the french language? In some sense, yes. But if your french is poor ‘in spirit’ then I don’t have a clue what that might mean? Seeing that french is not a living thing, but a language.

    “My message to you is to understand that the final stand will not be here on earth. As Christians we should never invest in a conservative or liberal movement or mind set because our Guide is so much greater than that.” (JJ)

    I agree, our Guide is so much greater than any political agenda or system. I have never mentioned I agree with a political agenda, actually I have stated the opposite. But as far as ‘our final stand not being on earth’, wow? Where should it be on another planet, another solar system, or in another lifetime? By final I am not sure I get the point…I am merely saying we have ‘to live here’ on earth.

    “Jesus promises the poor will receive the kingdom of God, not affordable healthcare and foodstamps.” (JJ)

    Yes. I never once mentioned either healthcare of food-stamps as part of the program, I am not sure where you think I am going with this?

    “In the end glorifying God must be our way of life (our modus operandi, as it is our way to Life. Worship of God alone, seeking the hand of Christ and letting Him lead us.” (JJ)

    I agree with that assertion, God should be glorified by our lives. The lead us part/seeking God’s will is right there in His teachings, which is why I wrote in the first place.

    Thanks Jim for the insight, I really do value what you have to say.

  9. Spiritual Starscaper

    You should rethink your name and try “spiritual skyscraper”. You defined “poor in spirit” better than I could have.

    I also liked your post on camps – how Christians decide they don’t like a certain kind of Christian but doesn’t He use all kinds to preach Christ? I pray that fewer Christians decide to be “right-wing” or “left-wing” or “anti-charismatic” et al. After all there is only one Original. The denominations are counterfeit copies.

    God bless you,
    Jim

  10. “Even in Luke, as the “in spirit” isn’t present, it still makes sense that Jesus would be assuring the people that if they are in need (perhaps those who believe in Him), that they are blessed for they have the resources of heaven.” (SS)

    This is more the definition I lean towards, the resources of heaven for the needy. But I am not disagreeing with the first part either…just questioning it’s validity with other ideals in the gospels. Maybe it is a reference to the ‘born again’ idea?

    “I take the “pure in heart” slightly differently. When something is pure, it’s 100%, not diluted or corrupt. So I see being pure of heart as being undivided in our hearts, being wholly God’s and not mixed with or tainted by the world or other affections. This is a harder thing to achieve since everything in the world is vying for our heart’s attention, and our busy-ness distracts us from loving God with our whole heart. But wow!, what a reward, to see God!” (SS)

    I like the purity ideal and the definition is true, problem comes when some decide what is truely pure and what is not concerning humans. But I agree (in a way) with the idea of losing the distraction to focus on Christ, to see who God is. That’s kind of part of the reason I read and study the bible in the 1st place.

  11. I did some soul-searching on the term ‘poor in spirit’ and I think I have cracked the code (figured it out).

    1. Opposite: What is the opposite of ‘poor in spirit’? ‘Filled with the spirit’? Then it makes more sense for Jesus to say ‘blessed are the filled with spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ since we equate ‘filled with the spirit’ with the kingdom of heaven (as a reward) – as Jesus is mentioned being. But Jesus says ‘poor in spirit’ get the ‘kingdom of heaven’. It can’t mean spiritually bankrupt or else these ‘being poor’ and ‘being filled’ both get heaven (no difference).

    2. ‘In spirit’ means to be of the same mind. For example, If someone says they are in the same place with us ‘in spirit’, they really mean although I am not there my mind & thoughts are with you.

    3. How this works: Being ‘poor in spirit’ is the attribute of saying “I will not leave my brothers n sisters who are poor/have needs behind, instead I will identify with them…if they are poor, then so am I.”

    It is in this thinking that we not only identify with the needs of the ‘poor/needy’ but we also say we will ‘stand by your side’. It captures the idea of ‘loving your neighbor’ and Matthew 25’s seperating of the sheep and the goat (helping the needy got people into God’s kingdom – or at least not forgetting them). This idea builds love for others and self-sacrifice in us.

    4. Example: I have a friend who called not long ago who needed money to pay the rent ($300.00) and she was a single mother with 2 kids. My wife and I never hesititated to help her so they could afford to live. We took an act of saying ‘if you are poor then so are we’ in that we will not let you stand there alone. We knew the act was correct since the person was in need (actually poor at that moment) and they would recieve the help (so we showed our care by giving). We saw her through the whole thing and continue to do so, she is our neighbor…more, she is our friend.
    By this statement I also agree that the ‘poor in spirit’ also are people who who are ‘poor’ and can recoginze the ‘kingdom of God’ at their moment of despair.

  12. Maybe your over analyzing the whole thing. It could, and probably does, mean both financially and spiritually. Jesus did hang out with the poor, both spiritually and financially.It was a great post!!!

  13. I thought you might like to read this,…Steve Christian Universalism

    “Christian Universalism” is the position that all of mankind will ultimately be saved through Jesus whether or not faith is professed in him in this life. It claims that God’s qualities of love, sovereignty, justice, etc., require that all people be saved and that eternal punishment is a false doctrine. Salvation is not from hell, but from sin.
    There are two main camps in Christian Universalism:

    Those who teach that the unrepentant will be punished in a future state, and that their punishment will be proportional to the degree of sin committed in the mortal state. They generally hold that the punishment is moral and not physical. There is no hell. They do not maintain that salvation is merited through these sufferings.

    Those who teach that all the punishment for sin occurs in this life and that God’s discipline in our lives is for the purpose of purifying us, though this purification is not our merit for salvation. In eternity, there will be a loss of reward for those who did not trust in Christ in this lifetime.
    Christian Universalists claim to hold many of the tenets of historic Christianity: Trinity, deity of Christ, deity of the Holy Spirit, salvation by grace, etc. As always, it is necessary to inquire and ask what is meant by the terms they use because the diversity that exists in universalist beliefs warrants further examination. Nevertheless, the Christian universalists claim to affirm:

    The inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible.

    From what I have seen here, they hold to the orthodox position.

    There is only one God.

    From what I have encountered, most universalists who claim the title “Christian universalists” do not accept the standard doctrine of the Trinity, but lean more towards either Arianism (God is one person, Jesus is created) to modalism (God takes different forms in history). This is, of course, heretical.

    Jesus is the Son of the Living God

    Many cult groups say the same thing. What they mean by the phrase is what is important. The Christian Universalists tend to say the Son is a manifestation, an image, a representation of God’s essence, yet he is not equal to the Father. Therefore, they are denying His true deity. But, not all who claim to be Christian Universalists deny this.

    Some hold that Jesus is not God but that He is divine. This is perplexing since divinity is a quality of God, not angels or men.

    Jesus’ Resurrection

    Most Christian Universalists affirm the physical resurrection of Jesus. But, some claim he did not rise from the dead physically, but was assumed into heaven to dwell with God. “The Crucified is living forever with God, as our hope. Resurrection does not mean either a return to life in space and time or a continuation of life in space and time but the assumption into that incomprehensible and comprehensive last and first reality which we call God.”1

    If, by the above quote, the physical resurrection of Jesus is denied, as it seems it is, then anyone who holds to that position is indeed a non-Christian since it denies one of the essential doctrines of Christianity.

    The Holy Spirit is God’s presence

    There is a surprisingly common denial of the personhood of the Holy Spirit. (personhood is self-awareness, a will, the ability to speak, etc.). This is a serious error on the part of those who hold to it. But to be fair, many universalists affirm the Holy Spirit as the third person in the Godhead.

    There is no salvation without accepting Jesus as Savior

    This statement is problematic for two reasons:

    Since to many universalists, Jesus is not truly God by nature, they have an improper object of faith (denying the Trinitarian nature of God and the deity of Christ). Their faith, then, is useless since they have violated the command to worship no other God (Exodus 20) and are worshiping a false god. The Jesus they believe in, is not the real one. This means they are definitely not Christian.

    There is a second chance theology at work here where people who have rejected Jesus in this life can come to faith in the next life, even though he has flatly rejected Jesus’ sacrificial atonement.

    Some Universalists believe…

    in consciousness after death, others do not.

    in limited punishment of sinners in a type of hell that is not of fire, but of some moral chastising.

    that punishment in the afterlife was for a limited period during which the soul was purified and prepared for eternity in the presence of God.

    Conclusion
    “Christian Universalism” really isn’t Christian and it is meshed with many other unorthodox and erroneous teachings. This belief system should be avoided.

    CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS AND RESEARCH MINISTRY
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    Copyright Matthew J. Slick, 1996 – 2006

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  14. Well thought, well put.

    The “be a certain way” angle is interesting considering the post I wrote yesterday (which you left a comment on this morning… thank you!).

    We are free to be ourselves and still able to conform to this list the Lord gave us.

    You have a great readership here. I love reading their thought-provoking comments, which makes for a readable conversation!

  15. Society, I slaped my son silly for you.(lol)Actually, your comments are posted. I think he had some trouble setting up his comments section. I think he linked to your blog as well. Thanks, bro.

  16. Jim:

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

    “Often we equate ‘poor in spirit’ with ‘materially poor’ because people of little faith tend to be poor.”

    Does not compute. The poor and ignorant grease the wheels of holy rollers everywhere. What have they got to lose? And yes, I read the rest of your comment. This is classic overthinking and making the quote say what you wnat it to say. Nowhere did Ia-sus elaborate on that statement in the manner described. Of course his preachings also had little to do with faith, since one would not need faith if there truly was an example of the godhead right in front of one. He did talk about belief, but that’s not the same.

    I think he was talking about those who lived like the poor, and did not discriminate against the poor. I think the target of this blessing was those poeple who lived frugally, did not hoard, and shared with their neighbors. I also believe that this was the picture the early church wanted to paint by putting those words in Jesus’ mouth. Sort of, “Blessed are those that don’t spend all their money on themselves, help the poor (so we the church/government don’t have to), and give of their wealth freely when we pass the plate.”

    I agree that there is such a thing as hubris, or false pride, but I find that the church often attacks and seeks to erode genuine pride, and this is bullshit. For example, an athelete thanking (crediting) god for a touchdown, instead of all his own hard work, the work of his trainers and coaches, and his own physical prowess. All good things belong to god, and all screw-ups are my fault? Perhaps I did not grovel sufficiently to the invisible super-monkey in the sky? Horsefeathers!

  17. Breaker’s lion I kind of get the point of what your saying, namely about the pride ideal (got that loud n clear). But the discussion on the ‘poor in spirit’ thing I got a little lost on.

    I am saying we should identify witht he poor, as in, we should direct our resources to helping them…nothing more nothing less. I can say for a 100% fact that I am not using them to make my name, on the contrary, I am helping them just because I feel for them (for in being raised absolutely poor I can read Jesus’ words as such). I needed the help through-out my life and very few people ever offered help from ‘religion’…even I am bold enough to say…none ever really cared.

    I look back at where I came from and I want to help those stuck in my shoes ‘years back’. I am saying I help the poor because I feel the need to do so. I am just trying to rock the church boat so they start doing so also, lest they forget the poor and broken out there. I recognize in Jesus’ words that exact teaching and proof in His actions as written.

  18. societyvs:

    I got that loud and clear, and I meant no sarcasm when I said “THAT’S the spirit!” I firmly believe in helping your family and your neighbors (no matter where they live), IF you are sympathetic, and IF you can afford to, and IF it is truly helping and not just enabling someone not to help themselves. Who decides? You do, and may no man criticize you with benefit of hindsight.

    I resent certain organizations’ tendencies to extort money by laying some guilt trip on me because I am better off than some. I am also aware that everyone involved in fund-raising activities who are not volunteers get paid, and (only) the top echelons get paid well. When I see the production values on the “Feed the Children” infomercials, for example, I must ask myself how my donation is being spent.

  19. Breaker’s Lion I agree with what you are saying. Firstly, no one like the guilt-trips certain charities put on people to give (a little dishonest). Secondly, I have often wondered how my money gets spent that I give to a charity (as you mentioned the middle men and how much of each dollar gets to the actual poor?). Those are great concerns to you have raised and I think they add another dimension to the discussion (the actual reality of the situation).

    Myself, I help people on such a local level that I know where every dime I give gets spent (since I run a group ‘The Action Group’ that helps the people around me in need and none of us takes a single dollar – but we give the money needed to help others). I did this with this group because of that exact concern you had about where the money goes…my same fear. Not trying to justify myself but show I am thinking about these exact issues also and trying to tackle them head on.

    I think my challenge is to churches to use their money for the ‘poor/needy’ and to actually get involved themselves (no money for the middle man), creating real response to problems in their neighborhoods. If you do not attend a church and want to know how the money gets spent, then the books should be kept so that we know not a single penny went to anyone’s pocket (something I believe about true accountability).

    Breaker great comment, not only got me thinking but also reminded me of some of things I forgot about.

  20. I never really understood the beautitudes till now. I was taught these as a child in childrens’ church. Of course, I never quite understood. It seems so simple the way you put it. It was love and compassion that Jesus taught. Thanks for the insight.

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