The arrival of Advent has found me thinking about hope, and how it somehow seems to leak through the cracks of all kinds of oppression and chaos here on earth.
In the morning silence, I found myself reading the Beatitudes as I was contemplating hope. If I’m being honest, I’d have to admit that hope and the Beatitudes seem like opposites, really-a sort of contradiction to what we imagine our hopeful lives should look like. But these confounding upside-down beatitudes actually reveal what has reign over us. They reveal that, when God has “reign of us” through Jesus, he gives us the counsel of the Spirit, which supernaturally allows us to respond to difficulty in uncommon ways.
People who walk in the moment-by-moment counsel of the Spirit have a resident hope, and they are quite at home, because their identity and indeed their very lives are firmly rested in Christ and what he did, not in themselves and what they can do, or have done.
So it is with us hope-dwellers. When we walk in this way of counsel and surrender to God, through Christ by his Spirit, we reflect the fruit, the DNA, the hope and the manner of Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is not then just a list of behaviors for people who hope, but rather a response to abiding with him. So then, even our spiritual disciplines simply serve to remind us that we have “everything we need for life and godliness” in Christ if we will just draw near and abide in him in all things.
...And when life throws us blows, and on days when we swallow hard and things are not going as planned, we have a reigning resource of hope.
Our “Beatitude kind of lives” lead us to the King of our hope who invites us to lay down the “yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5) and cling to Christ for every bit of resource we need, come hell or high water here on earth.
You know an Abiding Beatitude Soul when you meet them. There is an absence of striving. You often feel they are at peace to face the difficulties, the mysteries, and the disappointments in life, awake to Jesus’ presence and full of his Life, regardless of outcomes.
As I’m growing in the reality of Christ indwelling me, I find that the Beatitudes invite us all to reflect how we can live our wonderful, complicated, real lives “happy, rich, blessed” in all circumstances, by the Christ Life bringing hope through each of us. As we rest, Christ works “through, in, and with us,” thus bringing himself through us, to the world, wherever we go.
-Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
-Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
-Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
-Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
-Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
-Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
-Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
-Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The problem for most of us is that we prefer more common forms of richness and blessing that look very little like this list of beatitudes and more like success, health, beauty, and generally anything that looks like we are outwardly “winning” at life.
The Beatitudes are a signpost, an outward reflection of inner abiding with Christ, who is our living hope and reason for a weary world to rejoice.
Dear hope-dwellers, may you find hope leaking into your heart and mind as you welcome the dawn of Advent.
P.S. Here’s a beautiful song about our Living Hope, by Phil Wickham, if you’d like a little inspiration