I have been studying the Beatitudes and am finding myself once again in awe at how the Lord uncovers His Word for our heart to take in and our life to breathe out.
"Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4
You gotta love when you see something as if it were for the first time. As I have read this verse before I have always taken it as anyone who is mourning. But there is more. Yes, with the Lord there always seems to be more. Don't you think? It's as though His Word is brand new each time I open His Word.
This verse takes us back to Isaiah 61:1-3. As I read these words, I am again seeing a Savior of love and hope. One who wants His children to feel His patient love.
"The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of our God's vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify Him."
God takes suffering and brings restoration. We are set free when we surrender all to Him. He brings beauty from ash. Oh how sweet His grace is to those who love Him. We can find comfort in mourning. It is as though when we mourn our body is giving up what has been holding it captive.
Have you ever felt like a prisoner? Maybe the heaviness of chains has been holding you down. Our sin can do that. Sin holds us captive. It takes away and leaves behind a scar. We can be held in bondage for years by just one sin that we cannot let go of. One sin that cripples us for life. It could be one or many. Sadly, in life we tend to overlook our sin and get cozy with it. It's when we become comfortable in our sin, that Satan us right where he wants us. Soon we find ourselves asking, "How did that happen?" We must be careful of our comfort level and keep measure ourselves against the Word of God, not the standards of this world.
Maybe we have allowed sin to hold us under, but have asked for forgiveness and have moved forward from that sin to face it no more, but now years down the road we are face to face with the consequences. I have been there. I have moved passed my sin only to face it again as the consequences become real. We forget that each choice we make takes hold and touches another. Leaving behind a trail of idle gain.
This verse is speaking to those who are in mourning over their sin. Those who have come to Christ asking forgiveness and seeking a new found peace. Oh, how I have mourned over the consequences of a sin of the past. I have found forgiveness, but now am in need of restoration. God can do that. We were created to be blessed. We were not born to live in sin and find ourselves in chains. We are to be free in Christ Jesus who loves us. When we mourn our sin and consequences we have a humble heart. An attitude of repentance. This doesn't mean we dwell here. It means we see those consequences and we give it all over to the Lord. In Him we find strength. In Him we trust. In Him we believe that He will bring beauty from our ash. It is through Him that we can see past the sin and know He will bring about blessings as we seek His face.
"I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy."
"Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Friends, whether you are facing your sin today or seeing the consequences of that past sin, you can be sure that the Lord is with you. He sees your heart and knows your sorrow. Only He can remove the stain of sin and wash us white as snow. He will restore our mind, body and soul. Seek Him today and find His amazing grace. It is a treasure that makes life new. You will see His mercies brand new. Just simply surrender and He will cover you with a quilt of comfort. You will find yourself wrapped in His tender arms of love.
So what do we do with this new freedom? How do we keep temptation from becoming sin? We keep our eyes upon the Lord. We keep our focus steadfast upon Him. Keep reminders of His grace and mercy. Place His promises surrounding your daily life so that it will continue to give you strength as we face each day to come.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things."