Wednesday, 8 September 2010

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - Matthew 5:3

18 months ago, I led a bible study in our small group on this beatitude. As I spoke of my brokenness before God, it became apparent that there was a disconnect between me and my dear Christian friends. They seemed to be concerned for me and my low self esteem. I was even handed a book after the bible study on Christians and self esteem. I went home in tears, distressed that we seemed to be speaking a different language.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised at the disconnection. After all, our pastor had at one time preached that we as a people have now moved beyond “worm theology” as he gently mocked the hymn lyrics of Isaac Watts (“Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I”), and that God doesn’t want us flat on our faces before Him - didn’t He tell Joshua to “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?” (Joshua 7:10).

The teaching in the church was on living a victorious Christian life. As a church we even went through Neil Anderson’s 7 Steps to Freedom in Christ so that we could live in victory. I went to work for the UK Director of the Freedom in Christ Ministry. I withered. Dark days.

Brokenness. When I became a Christian, I understood I had been forgiven my past sins through the death of Jesus on the cross. I now saw I had an opportunity to start afresh, to prove my love for God. Needless to say, I failed. Dark days. I recently looked back at a song I wrote during that time, and one lyric in particular stands out – “I can’t accept Your love when I have nothing to give”. Oh boy. I read that now and I can’t help but think was I saved then at all? I simply refused to believe that the love God had for me was on account of the love He has for His Son. I wanted God to love me because I deserved to be loved because of who I was. Proud, wicked heart! Thankfully God in His mercy took me and broke me. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). I can testify to the truth of this statement. I now see my absolute poverty of spirit, my moral bankruptcy before a holy God, and my absolute dependence on His mercy in Christ. Paradoxically, I have never felt more at rest in my soul than I do now. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).

Recently, through the internet, I have come across other Christians who speak this same language. I was amazed the first time I heard Chris Rosebrough on his "Fighting for the Faith" radio programme. I had never heard another broken Christian speaking what was on my heart before. I cannot begin to describe the joy it brings me to hear of others share their brokenness before God too, which stems from their understanding of His holiness. It is so edifying to my walk when I hear this same language which resonates so deeply within:

“I love the Apostle Peter so much. My Christian journey has been like his in some ways: starting out with a zeal for God but no knowledge, being refined, being foolish, learning and being refined more, more foolishness, and finally knowing at the end that HE is God and I am small, insignificant, sinful and wretched. And sometimes all I can do is say, Lord, despite all my wretchedness, my sin, my foolishness, search my heart...and know that I love you”Christine Blackerby Pack.

“The gospel only became "good news" after I first took a hard honest look at just how bad the bad news really was. Trust me, utter depravity is very bad news and substitutionary atonement is very good news.”Elizabeth DeBarros.

“Whenever I start thinking too much about this world and myself, I think of all that Christ has done for me and I'm back on my knees begging forgiveness, humbled before God, with how weak and lost I am without Him.”Ruth Szalapski Owen.

I thank God that He has brought me into contact with other saints who speak the same language as I do. I am truly edified, truly blessed, and so encouraged.
I need to finish with a song. I came across this Casting Crowns video last week, "Who Am I?" and it sums up completely the transformation in my views during my Christian journey:

"Not because of who I am but because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done but because of who You are...I am Yours."


  1. You are speaking my language! As a matter of fact, if I were to change just a few things within that post, it would be my story as well. Christian friends have walked away from me, have stopped reading my blog... for the same reason. So sad, and yet, liberating as well! God bless you!

  2. Petra, thanks for the encouraging words. It is such an encouragement to know there are other like-minded believers. God bless you and your walk with Him.

  3. Great post Diana! - and not because you quoted me and sent my pride through the roof :-)

  4. Tess, LOL! :-)

    I think we're always on a hiding to nothing in writing about poverty of spirit...and trying to remain humble whilst doing so...