Time with God Daily Devotional by John North

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Time with God - August 20

Friday, 20 August 2021

Matthew 5:3

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

In the words of the old hymn, “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to your cross I cling!”

God doesn’t give you “the kingdom of heaven” because of all the goodness you bring to him. No, he gives it to you because you could never attain it based on what you bring to the table. Picture the tax collector in Luke 18:13 who threw himself on God’s mercy. “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” May we be like that man.

Your salvation is totally and completely 100% God’s grace. Paul tells us in Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” God’s great gift was underserved. We could have done nothing, we are doing nothing, and we will never do anything that will earn us God’s forgiveness. It is 100% God’s mercy and grace. Not 95%, not 99%, not even 99.999999999% God’s grace and mercy. It is totally and completely 100% God’s grace. Beware of the tendency we have to attribute at least a little bit to our ourselves.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at this verse and seeing the word “poor” and thinking negative things. Far from it! It’s an attitude of knowing what God has done for us and not thinking that we are better than other people (like the Pharisee did in the story in Luke 18). We accept the GIFT from God for what it is with a grateful heart, knowing we didn’t earn it in any way, but rather it is given to us from God’s loving heart!

Accept the gift with a joyful heart. The Christian walk is meant to be a joyful experience. “Rejoice always, and again I say rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). Note that word – always. It doesn’t say sometimes, nor even most of the time. Always. The Christian walk is not a beat-up. Being poor in spirit is not about beating yourself up about how bad you have been and how far you are from God’s perfect ideal. No, it’s an attitude of gratitude with a grateful heart!

Thank God for the gift of his Son and the gift of life with him.

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