I read Matthew 5-7, and I am humbled, brought low. Blessed are the pure in heart and the peace makers, and can I be counted as one of them? Salt? Light? Jesus calls me out on my moments of anger that are deserving of judgment. He instructs me to remove stumbling blocks at all costs, to value eternity more than the temporal. He tells me not to retaliate, and he tells me to love. To love. My friend? My enemy? Yes. He gives me an ultimatum: worship him or possessions. He commands me not to be anxious and to be more concerned with his kingdom and righteousness than nourishment from food. But I can focus on little else if I haven’t had breakfast.
I look at this clear picture that Jesus has painted, and in an instant, all of my pride is exposed for the utter foolishness that it is. When Jesus calls me to this kind of life, what warrant have I for even the smallest morsel of pride? Absurdity! But in exchange for the blow to my pride, I am given something of infinitely more value!
I see that I cannot begin to measure up to the standard set forth by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. I see that I’ve no chance to even come close. Not one of his commands, not one of his descriptions of godliness is attainable for me. And in the moment, I feel what I always know: I’ve nowhere to go but to the cross. And the most beautiful, astounding thing about it all is that I can. I, the antithesis of God, can go boldly to the throne of grace! I can cast myself on his mercy. I can stand unafraid of judgment! I can glory in the sovereign grace of God and praise him for it, thank him for it! Thank him for Christ’s atonement for my sin and his righteousness counted to me, and for sanctification. That I am less and less the antithesis. I can enjoy the goodness of his presence. As I decrease and he increases, I am the mournful, the poor in spirit. And I am the comforted; the kingdom of heaven is mine!