Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

In Jesus first public sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, He emphasized meekness as one of the core values of the Kingdom of God. At the very onset of His message He made a shocking statement, it’s not the strong, rich, or accomplished who will reign with Him in His Kingdom, it’s the meek, lowly, and humble. This statement didn’t only fly in the face of the leaders of His day; it stands in direct contradiction to leaders in virtually every culture the earth has ever seen. People love strong leaders who exude confidence and power. They especially love when someone looks the part as much as he plays the part. Jesus’ statement, however, is the antithesis of what people look for in leadership. This is the truth of His kingdom, not many noble, not many mighty, and not many powerful people are the leaders in His kingdom; it’s the meek and lowly that He chooses (1 Cor 1:26 -27).

If you’re like me you love the idea of meekness and you probably even value those who act humbly. At the same time you probably realize that you fall woefully short of Jesus’ example. If you’re like me, when you get past the surface of these truths and look deeper into your own heart you realize you don’t’ really resemble the meekness that Jesus taught and live. What’s worse is you have probably realized you can’t just do meekness. Humility and the fallen human heart are completely incompatible. Here we are, you and I, stuck with hearts that are deeply stained by pride and Jesus requires humility from those in Kingdom. We know we can’t fake it. How do we change? Here is the bottom line; you and I can’t truly be humble without God transforming us. Sure we can act humble for a moment, an hour or a day, but to live our lives loving humility, loving being least, last, and lowest takes a complete change of heart only available through the power of the Holy Spirit. Transformation of this kind doesn’t happen because we try harder, it only comes as a product of God’s powerful grace released to our soul.

Jesus taught us to come to Him to learn meekness (Mat 11:28-29). It’s the only time He directly tells us to learn a topic from coming to Him. Paul tells us that as we contemplate Jesus’ we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 3:18). Here’s the point: if we want to grow in meekness we have to come to Jesus, admit our pride, and ask Him to transform us. As we ask for change, we must consider and reconsider Jesus, the One who is meek and lowly, and He will impart grace to our hearts to transform us.

Think of it. Jesus is co-equal with the Father. He is from everlasting. Uncreated. All Powerful. He who is most highly exalted put aside His divine privilege in becoming a man and submitted himself to human weakness, humiliation and death. Though He is so great, all that He was and is as a man expresses perfectly His core identity. He didn’t become a man as a “humility assignment”, He is humility. He didn’t have to try to be humble, He simply expressed His core nature.

As we continually consider who He is in humility, it will have a powerful transformative effect upon our hearts. I encourage you to continually consider Jesus astounding humility, ask Him to teach you of Himself in this way, and the power of God will transform you.

In thinking about Jesus and thinking about America it’s hitting me hard how un-American Jesus actually is. Even the statement that Jesus is un-American strikes many people as irreverent or rebellious. I assure you I am in no way being irreverent or rebellious. I am however calling out a deep-seated American nationalism that colors our mentalities about Jesus and His values. Unintentionally we imagine that Jesus is an American and is for America in all of her exploits. Even within our country’s political structure people at times imagine that Jesus has allegiance to one of our political parties. The extent to which we hold these mentalities is the extent we misunderstand His nature and values.

I honestly believe that we can’t overstate how un-American He actually is. He said the same through Isaiah, “My thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways are my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” He wasn’t kidding, nor was He exaggerating. The truth is, nobody natively thinks like Him. It would be sheer hubris for us to imagine “The American Way” is somehow exempt from His exclusion.

For arguments sake let’s take a cursory look at some of the beatitudes to identify a few key differences. I see the beatitudes as the core values of the Kingdom of God. They are not just values that we should live by, but they are values that Jesus embodies and actually lives Himself. They are His values.

Blessed are the Meek – Ask yourself when was the last time you heard an American political pundit espouse the virtue of humility and meekness in leadership ? Or better yet, when was the last time you saw authentic meekness, not posturing for a media moment, displayed by one of our national leaders?

Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness – We hear much about desiring a better America, a more prosperous and powerful nation, but it’s exceedingly rare to hear political leaders ever mention desiring a greater righteousness in America.

Blessed are the Pure in Heart – This speaks to the issue of ambition. The impure heart is the one that lives for self and is ambitious for promotion. The pure heart is the one that lives for the pleasure of God and the furtherance of His kingdom in the earth.

Blessed are the Persecuted for righteousness – Not only does this not play well on a national level, it doesn’t play well in the Church. We are so attuned to the American value of the “pursuit of happiness” that even in the church we imagine anything that doesn’t make for our own temporal comfort and pleasure to be a curse. Jesus said the opposite.

This is such a small token of thoughts that illustrate how different He is from us and from our national values.

But what about things like freedom? Doesn’t He value liberty? Absolutely, yes! But the liberty He values is one that is experienced in the heart and leads to an expression of righteousness behavior. It is a liberty from the bondages of sin. It is not a human centered liberty that gives freedom of expression to every wicked passion of a fallen heart. His motives are always God-centered not man-centered and thus His agenda and tactics are thoroughly different from ours.

What do you think? Is Jesus an American in mentality? How is He different? How have we created Him as a God in our own image, similar to the children of Israel with the infamous golden calf.

Over the last decade I’ve had the privilege to travel around the world visiting some extremely remote villages as well as some of the world’s largest metropolises. From China to Australia, Jordan to Germany, Israel to Australia, and Kenya to Hong Kong it is absolutely clear that God is raising up His house of prayer. It looks different depending on the culture and language but no matter where you go throughout the earth, you will find people whose hearts are burning with a desire to worship Jesus night and day.

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