Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:1-12
The constant chase for peace only lets up when we are willing to die to ourselves. Comfort might distract us and provide relief for a moment, but it eventually gives way to boredom and apathy. Living a life of convenience proves to be a lonely venture. When one is thinking solely about themselves and their well being, it leaves little room to care for anybody else.
Unfortunately, many of us take the easy route by devoting a large portion of our energy towards taking care of our comfort and convenience. Just as long as our kingdom is well maintained, we ignore the fact that there are needs all around us. With an individualistic mindset, our most significant concern will always remain inward. When we become lazy in our spiritual life, we make ourselves vulnerable towards letting the status quo, convenience, and our feelings direct our actions.
We don’t understand the devastating effect this causes to our hearts. Our soul shrinks or expands to the size of our greatest concern. When our highest value is our comfort and well-being, our soul becomes minuscule and unusable. But, when our heart breaks with the compassion of our God seen in the Gospel, our soul expands to match this growing concern.
Purpose and meaning are only found in Christ’s call to pick up our cross.
We desperately need a growing soul, so we are energized to pray for opportunities to impact our world. Every day as we go about our business, normal, seemingly mundane opportunities will present themselves. During those moments, we face a choice: will we choose our agenda of comfort and convenience, or will we be an instrument God can use to make His name known?
Having been called to express the love of Christ through our words and actions, we cannot afford or survive being obsessively concerned about ourselves. Settling for a comfortable life is admitting you want to live a mundane story. Instead, choose impact over comfort. Don’t put fleeting happiness before holiness. Embrace a call higher than your comfort.
Based upon where your current energy and focus reside, would you say your soul is shrinking or expanding? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
God, I’ve allowed my soul to shrink by being so consumed with my little world. My biggest concern is often myself. Instead, may I turn my attention outward to those around me. Give me eyes to see the needs of others. Break my heart for what breaks Yours. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.