A common practice of mine is to read several different Bible translations when I’m studying a passage of Scripture. Even though I am well-acquainted with the Sermon on the Mount, I decided to read it again. Today, I read it from The Message.
I like this interpretation of Matthew 5:3: You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
I think many of a person’s problems can be explained by this verse: There is too much ME and not enough of THEE. One of the underlying principles of Paul’s theology is the old nature is to be crucified daily, so Christ can rule.
When Christ rules in our lives, multiple blessings are ours to claim. One of these blessings is the extraordinary love of God. According to I John 4:11, the love of God dwells in us deeply.
John writes about the result of Christ’s loving presence: God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love (4:17-18).
Everything that Jesus did, He did out of love. He lived the sinless life that we could not live, and He died the death that only He could die. And, He did all of this when the time was just right.
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him (Romans 5:6-8).
Here’s a thought to keep you thinking: When a person comes to the end of his rope, is he to struggle in his own strength, or is he to let go and let God get going?