Daily D – Matthew 5:3
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (NLT)
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (MSG)
I recently finished listening to Surrender: 40 songs, one story by Bono. If you know who he is and are a fan of his band, you will love this book. If you are only tangentially interested in U2 and its lead singer, you will find this book deeply insightful. If you have no idea who I’m talking about, I have other recommendations for you.
PS: This is a book you want to listen to even if you also read it. Trust me on this.
Among the big names Bono tells about is Frank Sinatra. He tells how Paul Anka wrote Sinatra’s big hit, My Way when the whole recording industry was changing and making it harder on artists, even tried and true artists like Sinatra. My Way was Sinatra’s way of saying, “I’m done here. I’m not putting up with this stuff.” It was a song of defiance.
Bono also tells about hearing Sinatra sing My Way near the end of his life. Same song. Same lyrics. Different mood. This time when he sang it, it sounded more like an apology. He exchanged defiance for humility.
The last verse of this chapter, the first chapter in the Sermon on the Mount, says, “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
That word perfect scares you if you know what’s good for you. If there’s one thing I’m not, and one thing I’m never going to be, it’s perfect. The way we most often use the word is to mean “without fault.” The way Jesus uses it here means something more like “complete.”
The Message helps us with its amplification of this verse:
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it.
Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
It’s amazing, isn’t it, how growing up often results in an apology tour? My list of people I need to apologize to before my exit is growing by the day. I keep remembering all the stupid, thoughtless, careless things I have done. I may require two world tours.
There is good news for those of us who are planning our apology tours. All the resources of heaven are available to empower us to set things right. Listen again to Jesus:
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Jesus provides what Bono and Sinatra, Dave and You need to set things right, to live things right, and to remain on the path labeled Right This Way. This is why the Gospel is considered good news. What we cannot accomplish with our Apology Tour selves, Jesus makes possible with his Amazing Grace and Absolute Mercy.
The road to Perfection begins with the confession of spiritual bankruptcy.
I will confess my bankruptcy and receive God’s grace and mercy for my best next steps toward spiritual maturity.
Our Father, Bono famously sang, “I’m not broke, but you can see the cracks.” Duct tape is not going to hold me together. Superglue cannot put me together. I have fallen, and I can’t get up. I freely confess my fractured self. I want to be who you want me to be. I want to do what you want me to do. Only by your mercy and grace is this possible. Thank you that your mercies are new each morning. Thank you that your grace is more than enough. Thank you that your love endures forever. Amen.
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Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Acts 18:24-26 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.