Living By Faith Blog


Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

A neglected key for obeying the Beatitudes


There’s something puzzling in the Beatitudes.

Jesus blesses those who are poor in spirit — who admit that in themselves they can do nothing of spiritual value (Mat 5:3).

But then he blesses those who do things of great spiritual value — who show mercy, are peacemakers, are persecuted (Mat 5:5-10).

How can he bless those who do things of great spiritual value — when He has just told us that in ourselves we can do nothing of spiritual value?

How can paralyzed people run?

That would be like saying —

  • blessed are you who admit you are paralyzed,
  • blessed are you who run the 100-yard dash,
  • blessed are you who do the high jump.

That raises the obvious question — if we are paralyzed — how can we run and jump?

How can we who are poor in spirit do things which require being rich in spirit?

Then I saw it.

The order of the Beatitudes is not random.

Where Jesus starts

Jesus starts where the Christian life begins (and continues) — admitting that we are sinners in need of grace.

When we come to Him and admit that we are poor in spirit — the heart-changing power of the Kingdom increases in us (Mat 5:3).

And when we mourn before Him for our sin — which includes trusting Him to forgive us, change us, and satisfy us — He comforts us (Mat 5:4) —

  • He pours His love into our hearts (Rom 5:5).
  • He quenches our heart-thirsts with the living water of the Spirit (John 7:37-38).
  • He bears witness to us that we are adopted and loved by the Father (Rom 8:15).

What this produces

When we experience this comfort — our hearts start to change.

We become meek (Mat 5:5) — how can we be proud when we have been freely forgiven by Jesus’ blood?

We become hungry for righteousness (Mat 5:6) — tasting God’s presence makes us long for more — which comes in the path of righteousness.

We become merciful (Mat 5:7) — God’s love fills us so we pour out love for others.

We become pure in heart (Mat 5:8) — why pursue greed or lust when we can enjoy the living water of the Spirit?

We become peacemakers (Mat 5:9) — we long for others to drink of the Spirit, so we seek to resolve Spirit-quenching squabbles.

We become willing to be persecuted (Mat 5:10) — we so love Jesus that to honor Him we gladly suffer loss.

All this flows from obeying the first two beatitudes.

Follow the instructions

Let’s say you bought a stereo receiver which had buttons to play CD’s, AM and FM Radio, and TV.

When you open the instructions, Step One says “Plug in the receiver,” and Step Two says “Push the ON button.”

So — what if you skipped the first two steps and just hit the CD button?  Nothing would happen.  The TV button?  Nothing would happen.

Why?  Because there’s no power.  You skipped the first two steps.

We need power

We are — after all — poor in spirit.  Left to ourselves we can do nothing of spiritual value.

But if we follow the Beatitudes in order, we who are poor in spirit will, by God’s grace, become rich in spirit.

So start by turning to Jesus and admitting — “I am poor in spirit.  I bring no goodness to the table.  I have nothing in me that deserves your mercy.”

And then mourn for your sin before Jesus — “I am sorry for my sin.  Thank You for your death on the Cross.  I trust You to forgive me, to change me, to fill me.”

When we take those first two steps — meaningfully, from the heart — Jesus promises to comfort us.

He will pour His Spirit upon us — fill us with His love — satisfy us with His nearness.

And that will change our hearts.

Where we live

This is not just where we start the Christian life.

This is where we live the Christian life — at the foot of the Cross — looking to Jesus by faith — trusting Him to forgive us, change us, satisfy us.

When we live there — we will experience His comfort.

And His comfort will change our hearts so we live the rest of the Beatitudes.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Feedback?

I’d love to hear them — feel free to leave a reply below.  Thanks.

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(Picture by wwarby on everystockphoto.)

Category: Motivation for Obedience


6 Responses

  1. Dave S says:

    Your best blog yet.

  2. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    Hi Steve,

    What shall we say then? Nothing except, “This is a brilliant posting!”
    Yet something additional 😉 … as always, you know …

    The comparison of paralyzed people with us being poor in the spirit is a very good illustration. Since I did a lot of sport in my life, I love this picture. The only way to overcome paralysis, weakness and fear in this area is to maintain activity via regular exercise (workout) in order to allow the muscles grow. Moreover, suitable food and enough water are of tremendous importance.

    That implies – spiritually spoken:

    (1) workout = regular prayer without ceasing ( 1 Thes 5:17)
    (2) food = Jesus, our bread of life (Jn 6:48)
    (3) water = the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18)

    Or just briefly praying to Jesus, “Please, fill us with the Holy Spirit.”

    The example with the receiver is incomparable good. Taken from real life and used for Biblical exegesis – it could not be better!

    Blessings to you,


  3. Deanna Rubio says:

    Love this post. Encouraging and equipping. The ‘how-to’s’ are always helpful. Thank you Steve!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Brings my heart joy to hear from you, Deanna. You and Ray are loved and missed. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your encouraging words.

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