I am reading through the Sermon on the Mount these days, bit by painful/demolishing/invigorating/ hopeful bit, with my Bible in one hand and John Stott's reflections in the other. In unearthing the first beatitude, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God," Mr. Stott pointed me to Isa 66, which opens--
Thus says the LORD: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word."
"This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word."
Anyone got that built into their life?
"He who is humble and contrite in spirit."
I don't. But I want to get there. At this point in my emotional and spiritual development, at this point in my marriage, at this stage in my studies, I'm increasingly aware that there is nothing more needful. Against every fallen impulse to self-promote, this passage, a sheer and unmitigated declaration from the mouth of God, confronts me and will have none of it.
But the result of such self-death is life. "This is the one to whom I will look." I would like God to look to me. And I am reminded today that the way to get that is by the very thing almost none of us are recognizing: he must increase, I must decrease. Which is exactly where the personal increase we all long for is found.
I needed that reminder today.