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The Notatitudes

March 17, 2015

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One of my mentors once said, “How can I claim to know Jesus if I’m not spending time in the Gospels?”  I had forgotten about that for a few years, but his words recently came to my mind, and I can’t get them out (Darn that Louie Inks and his wisdom!).

I claim to know Jesus.  I stand on a stage in front of thousands of people every weekend, leading them to worship him.

But do I really know him?

So, I decided to spend the rest of the year reading through the Gospels, over and over again, in an effort to get to know this man to whom I claim to give my life.

There are plenty of “Who was this man?” sermons out there, so I’m not going to go there.  Instead, I want to focus on something I read last week, the Beatitudes.

First of all, what the heck is a “beatitude”?  Honestly, I had no idea.  I figured it was just, you know, the attitudes we’re supposed to have.  “Don’t read the attitude, be the attitude, man.”  So I looked it up.  You know what it means?  “A state of utmost bliss”  Wow. I wasn’t expecting that, because, honestly, the verses bearing that name don’t exactly hit me as being “blissful.”

Now, some of these make sense.  I mean, we’ve heard that giving and sacrifice leads to joy.  Sure, I can imagine experience bliss as a result of being “merciful” and “pure in heart.”  But those are last on the list.  Here’s what comes first:

Poor in spirit
Mourning
Meek
Hungry
Thirsty
Reviled
Persecuted

Uh… what now?  These things certainly don’t seem blissful.  That’s the thing about Jesus’ kingdom – it doesn’t make sense unless you know Jesus.  Sure, giving money and time can lead to joy, and it often does.  But being a sacrifice… giving of yourself, no matter the cost… is what leads to true bliss… complete joy… paradise…

Frankly, I have no idea what it means to be poor in spirit.  I’m an American, splitting my years between California and Minnesota, good ‘ol fashioned affluent areas of the world.  To truly know Jesus, I need to know what that means.  I need to feel it.  This year my desire is to know Christ so fully that I begin to share his experiences, and understand what he meant when he declared this bliss 2,000 years ago.

Jesus’ kingdom doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  We struggle through these ideas together.  So, what does “poor in spirit” mean to you?  Have you ever been reviled or persecuted?

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Janet permalink
    March 17, 2015 9:31 am

    Thanks for these words! Makes me look at how well do I know Jesus? I think I will spend some time in the gospels too!

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