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Breakdown for a Breakthrough DAY 18

“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is

the kingdom of heaven.’”

Matthew 5:1-3

As we have nearly finished three weeks of lockdown I want to start sharing some thoughts on the famous words of Jesus, known as the sermon on the mount or the beatitudes. Jesus starts his longest sermon ever, introducing life in the kingdom. An upside-down kingdom where people will be challenged and invited to a life of true blessing and happiness. The phrase “Blessed are…” is used nine times in this short passage and is a promise for those who live and believe a certain way.

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

As we had a street braai with our neighbours tonight (from a distance of course!), we contemplated the blessings that has come from the lockdown. Things we never would have anticipated, like a deeper appreciation for those working in our homes; a greater hunger to connect with people and not with a screen; a much needed rest from the rat-race that keeps haunting us all. We used the word ‘blessing’ a lot and that made me think about today’s devotion. Now I know for many it is not a time of blessing, but of turmoil, pain and anxiety. So I don’t want to pretend that everything is easy for everyone. Yet I know that in the midst of our challenges we can still experience blessings. The phrase “Blessed are those” can also be translated as “Exceedingly happy are those…” That is what I pray for all of you.

‘Don’t worry, be happy’ rings the old tune. Easier said than done, especially when a virus has hit the globe, forcing two thirds of its population to stay indoors. But Jesus’ words goes much deeper than a whistle-along melody. He is showing us the secrets to the way his kingdom works. To inherit the kingdom, to be part of it, we know that the Word teaches that we need to be born again – put our faith in Jesus as we repent and turn to Him alone for salvation. But this key verse in Matthew shows us one step before that – being poor in spirit.

Poor in spirit has got nothing to do with our purse, but rather with our posture. Our hearts. The phrase ‘poor in spirit’ is like ‘a beggar on the street who owns nothing and knows it’. It means there is no self- sufficiency, no self-reliance. We are completely dependent, not able to save ourselves or add anything to enter the kingdom. Now for many this comes as a shock and a slap in the face. It strips us of all our own efforts and exposes our true state. Almost like this worldwide pandemic is doing.

Humanity, on a global scale, has never been more vulnerable and needy than now. Our ivory towers of pride have come crashing down. And maybe that it a good thing. Maybe that is exactly what we needed. I remember vividly before I had my first depression breakdown many years ago, seeing a picture of myself. It was a beautiful statue of me in a garden. I remember looking at it and kind of thinking, ‘Wow that’s cool’. Then I saw this statue starting to crumble and fall apart. That is exactly what happened a week later and from there I learned the phrase ‘A breakdown for a breakthrough’.

After fighting this battle for almost ten years, God miraculously set me free but in various other ways I have seen how God has used breakdowns in my life and others’ to bring to happiness, freedom and breakthrough. Can we poor in spirit, humble enough to bow the knee and acknowledge that we need help, that we need a Saviour? I dare you to do it. In it lies the greatest blessing you can ever imagine. Maybe you too need a breakdown for a breakthrough.

Stay safe and stand strong.

Retief Burger

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