We might experience similar despair when we read Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). Anger is as bad as murder (v. 22). Lust equals adultery (v. 28). And if we dare think we can live up to these standards, we bump into this: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (v. 48).
“The Sermon on the Mount produces despair,” says Oswald Chambers. But he saw this as good, because at “the point of despair we are willing to come to [Jesus] as paupers to receive from Him.”
In the counterintuitive way God so often works, those who know they can’t do it on their own are the ones who receive God’s grace. As the apostle Paul put it, “Not many of you were wise by human standards. . . . But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (1 Corinthians 1:26–27).
In God’s wisdom, the Teacher is also our Savior. When we come to Him in faith, through His Spirit we enjoy His “righteousness, holiness and redemption” (v. 30), and the grace and power to live for Him. That’s why He could say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
Thank You, Lord, for blessing those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, and who hunger and thirst for Your righteousness. You are our righteousness!
Read more from Oswald Chambers at utmost.org.
Through the Son we can enjoy life in God’s kingdom.
The Bible is filled with stories of how God used weak, unlikely, or flawed characters to bring about His purposes. Included in that lineup are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, and Peter—just to name a few. God chose elderly Abraham and his barren wife to be “the father [and mother] of many nations” (Genesis 17:5). He used Isaac, who played favorites (25:27–28), and Jacob, a deceiver, to continue that line (25:29–34; 27:1–29). God called the reluctant Moses, a murderer on the run, to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 2:11–15; 14:1–31). God chose the prostitute Rahab to hide the spies in Jericho (Joshua 2) and to be included in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5); He called Gideon, who cowered in fear, to serve as judge and rescue the Israelites from the Midianites (Judges 6–8); and He appointed Peter, an outspoken fisherman, to be His disciple (Matthew 16:22). God still uses flawed characters—you and me—to fulfill His purposes.
For more on how God can use you, check out christianuniversity.org/SF212.