How you feel does not matter, but who God is in securing your future.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus, having made known God’s desire to bless all who are poor in spirit encourages the people to break the spirit of mourning. In leaving the posture of grief, the believer takes concrete steps towards a life of godliness and blessing. Having said, a man’s level of faith is demonstrated not by how positively or negatively he feels but by what he does by faith. Thus, a grieving person no longer needs to wait for his emotions to turn around… He can do something (despite how he feels) in working towards a breakthrough! In today’s devotion, we learn: how we feel does not matter, but who God is in securing our future.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
In view of the blessings that is promised, the citizens of heaven no longer live in a state of mourning but shall be comforted. To mourn is to be overtaken by tragedy and loss and having no hope for the future. Contextually, Jesus may be addressing the people of Israel who are subject to the harsh rule of the Romans, being unjustly oppressed by the rich and the ruthless. Jesus comes to break the power of Satan to restore prosperity and freedom if they repent and follow Him. To be comforted is to be encouraged and strengthened with hope in the face of protracted difficulties. The Greek (parakaleo) carries an added connotation of being called to the presence of the one who comforts. This comfort does not come amidst favourable circumstances but the supernatural working of the Spirit through the impartation of grace. Jesus is calling all who mourn to come to Him so that they may receive comfort. In a broader context, who are those who mourn?
a. They are those who have suffered losses, who had their dreams taken from them. Hence, they live in perpetual regret, constantly trying to regain what was lost. Because they cannot move pass their grief, they project their anger and disappoint to those around them. Jesus comforts the people by the promise of restoration when they walk in His ways.
b. Some mourn the unbelief and impenitence of their generation. There is an uncontrollable saddness that rises up when you see a generation who knows no righteousness, empathy or gratefulness. Jesus, while approaching Jerusalem sees the city and weeps over a generation who refuses to deviate from the path of destruction (see Matthew 23:37-38). Elijah weeps for impenitent Israel but is comforted when he realises that God has left 7000 who have not bowed to Baal (see 1 Kings 19:18). In the same way, God will reveal to us those whom He has reserved for Himself; those who remain pure and steadfast in the face of worldliness.
c. Some because of their past mistakes mourn the loss of a supposedly bright future. They question why God did not stop them at their moment of folly. Thus, these constantly live under a cloud of “what if’s?” while fantasying of what life could have been. Jesus offers Himself once and for all to forgive their sins and to give them a future and hope (see Jeremiah 29:11).
d. Some mourn because their burdens are overwhelmingly heavy despite their efforts. They despise themselves and are resigned to a life of helplessness and meaningless existence. Jesus comes to unshackle them from the chains of poverty and enrich them with His gifts.
A man’s emotional state has no bearing over the fulfilment of his destiny but what he does through faith.
A man’s destiny is not fulfilled by the level of optimism he possesses, but by the series of steps he takes towards it. And when he finally reaches the destination, there he will receive true comfort and vindication for his faith. A man’s level of faith is demonstrated not by how positively or negatively he feels but what he does. A man may feel pessimistic about a new venture because of his past failures, in a sense, he is still mourning his failure. But if he places his trust in God’s promises and obeys regardless of how he feels, he will succeed and be comforted. A man’s mourning can be turned into dancing when he disregards the pangs of despair and in doing what the Spirit commands, he becomes blessed. It is good news, that a grieving person no longer needs to wait for his emotions to turn around… He can do something today in working towards a breakthrough! Having said, a grieving person can feel within his spirit, the rising of a new hope and comfort every time he responds by faith to the commands of God.
However, many desire to be comforted on their own terms, and are not ready to do what God tells them. They remain in self-absorbed notions of wishful thinking, of revivals, prosperity and bliss. Hence, many seek their brand of comfort through an emotive kind of worship and preaching and having “anointed” ministers pray over them. Years on, one may still see many of them praising God for His faithfulness even though they have never experienced the victory which God has promised. Even in their singing, one can’t help but notice a hint of sadness and disappointment because they have never experienced what is promised.
According to the bible, one’s future is not secured by how one feels or by the cursory declarations of the mouth. The promises of blessing is gained by first seeking God’s face in true repentance resulting in conviction (see the figure below). Then, followed by the fruits of the Spirit and works of obedience resulting in breakthrough and comfort. Many put the car before the train engine expecting their emotions of comfort to carry the day. The fruit of the Spirit, works and comfort and breakthroughs are a result of a life that is moved and convicted by the truth.
God promises an ever prospering future for all who seek to do His will on a daily basis. He says through the words of the prophet Jeremiah concerning the blessing of one who seeks Him,
Thus says the Lord, ‘… For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes…’ Jeremiah 29:11-14
Nevertheless, a man’s emotion functions as a thermometer indicating the state of his inner man. However, we are not to be led by our emotions but by our spirit where the Spirit of truth indwells. The more we feed our spirit with God’s truths, the more the fruit of the Spirit will be manifested: the peace, love, joy, kindness, goodness, gentleness, patience, faithfulness and a sound mind. The process of worship, prayer and meditating on the truth aligns the believer’s spirit with God’s grand scheme of things. For example, when a believer praises God as the sovereign Lord, the worshipper is in essence giving God full control by aligning his dreams and ambitions with God’s plans. Many churchgoers because of the lack of conviction, see God as almighty in protecting their interests, but they have yet to allow God full reign over their lives. Hence, many experience a dissonance in their hearts and prefer songs that express their cries of loneliness and need for acceptance to the songs that affirm God’s truth and supremacy. Most songs sung today are skewed towards fulfilling the individual’s needs rather than declaring the supremacy of God over the earth.
We break the spirit of mourning by declaring His praises in total surrender.
If you are feeling down and out, you can get out of your despair by listening to God’s promises and declare His praises in total surrender. The act of praising God breaks the spirit of mourning and unbelief. The prophet Habakkuk at the time when Israel is being invaded by Babylon recalls and praises God for His splendour and power when He delivers the Israelites from Egypt. At the back of imminent ruin; complete failure of crops and total loss of cattle, Habakkuk rejoices at God’s mercy that He will once again deliver,
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19
Habakkuk takes the concrete step of recalling God’s word and then praising Him for His faithfulness which in turn lifts up his spirit to minister to a soon to be enslaved nation. Likewise, we can overcome the spirit of despair by praising God continually because His word is true. In the process of praising God, we must anchor our mind on who He is (His attributes) which is our source of hope. As believers endeavour to praise God, and seek to know and obey His truths on a daily basis, there is no cause for fear but a certain expectation of victory.
If you are currently mourning the lost of your dreams, entrust your future into God’s hands by believing that He is planning something much bigger for you. Pay attention to the building of the foundations of wisdom, character and discipline. In God’s time, you will experience your breakthrough.
If you have lost the passion for the great commission and are mourning the apathy and darkness of this generation, believe that God has reserved for Himself many more who have kept themselves pure and are actively working through them. Fulfil your commission in your area of calling while trusting God to save the rest of humanity.
If you are mourning the loss of a bright future because of your own folly, believe that God’s sacrifice on the cross has wiped off the sin that demands your punishment. As you repent of your greed, pride and lust, God will restore to you what you have lost. Arise from your mourning and praise God for His boundless mercies. The psalmist says concerning God’s patience and mercy,
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. Psalms 103:8-10
If you are mourning because you are experiencing unprecedented troubles at all fronts, and your mind is constantly beset with anxieties. It is a sign that you are at some level being imprisoned by the devil. You need to discipline yourself in reading the word and in sincere repentance. Seek help from your pastor who can help you break the bondage of the devil over your life.
Dear Lord, I thank you that you have been orchestrating the events of my life so that I may be refined to accomplish my calling. Today, I put my trust in you believing that a greater breakthrough is imminent: breakthroughs in my personal walk with you, in uniting my family to serve you, and in my church’s outreach ministries. I believe my career will bear even more fruit in bringing blessings to many. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.