Blessed Are They That Mourn
Homilies of Jesus: Part Two
By Fred Pruitt
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matt 5:4)
To get to the place of understanding what it is “to mourn,” as I want to share it, we have to start at the most basic place. Right foundations make the building much more solid.
We’ll start here. How much do we really understand what this means, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us?” (John 1:14). This truth, when we see it, is one of the major keys to everything! Like all of these truths of and in Christ, we keep going into deeper and deeper levels of understanding. That Word confronts us from day one, and means something on that day. It happened like that with me.
It took a few decades for this truth to become settled in me. It was not that I was having a hard time seeing Jesus as “the Word,” or that the Word became “flesh” or “human” in Jesus. I didn’t understand it, really, but I took this Word for truth by faith, because I had learned to trust Him and the direction toward which He steered me.
Like most, it was my working understanding for quite a while, that this walk was primarily “about” the Jesus of Nazareth of history, and that our salvation and walking in the kingdom of heaven were given us by grace operating our faith in our continual recognition of that truth.
While that is true, it is not all that is true. There is more. There comes a completion. In the beginning, we aren’t cued in to a lot of things. We only know separated-self in our days of unbelief, having no clue about who we are. If we do not know who WE are, we cannot know who anyone else is, either, especially God. We are, literally, “in the dark.”
God’s “economy” works quite differently from ours, because in order to “find ourselves,” i.e., “who” we are inwardly as well as in the great framework of things, Jesus said we have to lose ourselves. Now, please don’t think, “OMG, he’s putting law on us again!” It’s just the way things work. Lose yourself to find yourself. Finding “yourself,” (your “true self” I should say), in a sense IS what salvation is.
As with everything (which takes a while to see) the Spirit is the One Who does the doing in us. So when I say we lose ourselves to find ourselves, I must emphasize again this is what the Spirit does and not what we “do.” I am meaning the opposite of self-effort, or “law.” If I were to put you back “under” the law, I would be telling you 15 things you can do to lose yourself, and how you must take what I say and “apply it” to your lives, and keep working and working and working on it until you are successful. Of course, there’s no end to that. There will always be more stuff to “work on” about myself.
Obviously, that is not what we say. Jesus said just throw the whole thing out – the false leaven along with its bread. We’re not going to be putting new wine in old wineskins. The supposedly “false self” along with its corruptions as an accompanying “body of sin,” can never be improved or brought into line with the Spirit. Why not? Because it is a false entity, that only exists in our decieved imaginations. Who we thought we were all our lives, we now realize (looking back from the Spirit’s new perspective), was a person who almost doesn’t exist. We were a projected false image of a real person inside, but we do not really know that person (who is ourselves) who is invisible inside us. All we have ever known has been this false image of ourselves, given each of us by the devouring roaring lion (devil), blinding us to the Light of God’s truth while we are still in the thrall of the false. Our only “escape” is a rescue from the other side!
Jesus’ Word regarding losing and finding yourself, is really a very succinct way to describe the same truths given us by Paul in Romans 6, 7 and 8. In Romans 6 Paul brings out that we have died with Him on the Cross and we are no longer slaves to sin. We have risen to new life and now use our “members,” (aspects of our humanity) for righteousness. In a sense that is like “theory” until the Spirit makes it real in us.
Paul begins to find deliverance from his Romans 7 “wretched man,” when he makes a dual discovery. The first is that he began to come to the place of emptiness, realizing by the Spirit that “no good thing” dwelled in him. He doesn’t say it is evil, just “not good!” What’s the difference? Paul’s word lined up with Jesus’ Word when He told the rich young ruler, “Why do you call me good? There is no one good, except the Father.” Paul’s discovery by the Spirit is the same. He realizes his emptiness, and subsequently His need for filling his emptiness, with the “something-ness of Christ.”
The second thing Paul discovers is that it is the Spirit Who took him over that insurmountable hump at the end of Romans 7. Only He can do it – no matter how many perfect performances of and declarations of “kingdom principles,” it remains completely beyond us to effect that life in us.
(Also, in case some might misunderstand, this “death” is not anything we do or do not do as a preparatory step. We don’t DO anything to make this happen. First, our “death” in Him already has happened and we are only lacking the knowledge and understanding of it. Second, it is not something in our power to do, or even to know, except the Father reveals it in us. We find our place of rest and expansion when we see the Spirit does it, and we recognize what He has done!
But wait, there’s more! Who am I? Where am I? What do I do? Paul puts the finishing touches on it in Colossians 3:3 – “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Ah, that’s it, were getting to the heart.
It is right to want to see only Christ. We sing worship songs like, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” or “Thou Art Worthy,” greatly desiring to forget ourselves and to experience Christ in some way.
But that is not yet the center. The center is to “see Him as He is.” This is where Paul meets John, saying almost the same words: “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 2b).
Even though the full completion has not yet appeared, we see Him and seeing Him is what releases our humanity from bondage and delivers it to a total liberation. That is an absurdity to the logical mind, that simply by “seeing Him” (and in our case, we “see Him” in our faith), we shall find ourselves like Him. This is as absurd a concept as is the story of the brass snake in the wilderness with Moses and the Israelites. Check out the story in Numbers 21:1-9. It’s a nine-verse story just tucked away in Numbers, but it’s also an absurd story. All the ones who were sick only had to look at the fiery serpent made of brass stuck up on a pole, and they would be healed. Just look at it, that’s all. And according to the story, it worked. Everyone who gazed at the fiery serpent got well.
Yes, to the mind of man it is a crazy thing to think that just by “seeing” Jesus in His fullness and glory, we come to know His Mind and Spirit within us and find, eventually, that we are full expressions of Him in our humanity. We discover that we can also say with Him, “I and my Father are One.” (John 10:30), so that the Life we find ourselves spontaneously living is not the like we used to live for years – a life of continual effort to be “Christ-like” and do “Christ-like” things. We thought that would be pleasing to God and in the way of thinking we had been taught, God would give us blessings when we were successful at our being Christ-like and doing Christ-like stuff.
That is living after the law of self-effort, which is weak due to the flesh, and doomed to continual failure. (Rom 8:3). The reason is because the law speaks to the flesh, the self-effort, independent person we have all been deceived into believing we are. To the self-effort self, the law says, “Keep me,” and the self-effort self replies, “All that the Lord has told us we will do.” Like Peter who thought he could not and would not deny Jesus on the night of the Trial. Fleshly resolve often caves quickly under dire circumstances!
But living by the Spirit we walk in the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, which has already set us free from sin and death, i.e., the law of self-effort, or “the mind set on the flesh.” We live this by the Spirit in us Who does it. He walks the walk and talks the talk in us and as us, because we have become one. It is no longer I but Christ, yet still it is ME who gets to live and manifest this wondrous mystery. We live and walk in relaxation when we fully realize, “The Father Who dwells within me, He does the works.” What “works?” The “works of God” in, through and as me!
The greatest change perhaps is that we no longer are looking for blessings. My life has finally ceased to be “about ME!” We ARE the blessing and the blessers, and that means we have something to bring to the table.
Now, the most powerful thing we bring to the table of being with other humans, is ourselves. We don’t need props or proofs. Why? Because we are the Light of the World, the Salt of the Earth, known and read of all men. We do not come to people as enlightened heavenly beings, here to “grace” those who receive us with special favor and secret knowledge. No, we come as brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, cousins and friends. We come finally as Who and What we are – human beings whose self-identity is Christ in us. One person, manifest in and as the many persons, each unique and distinct in their Christ-empowered humanity.
That is why it is blessed to mourn. It is part of being human and part of living in a temporal world. When we consider our world and all we have experienced and all we have known in it, it is all tinged with this mourning.
It is part of being intimately involved in the Cross for others. Jesus was a “man of sorrows,” and we all share that. We mourn for humanity even while we pray for it and celebrate it. The further along this road we go we know the more we will see the sorrows of Christ multiplied, along with the building up of what appear to be enemy strongholds in the earth. We mourn for humanity because suffering never ceases.
The further along we go the more we “see” the ones we are with, as well as Him always in the midst of us. One way I thought of the other day to describe my life, was for me to realize that I increasingly “see” other people. What do I mean? The simplest way to put it is that I realize everyone is in a sense “like me,” and has the same thoughts, issues, desires, etc., common to all humanity. Instead of looking out from my physical “fortress of solitude” (body) and seeing across from me another fortress of solitude like myself, i.e., an hypothetical person over there, possibly an adversary, the fortresses that have existed only in my mind have fallen, both mine and yours, and without all those other accoutrements, here I am, and there you are. I see you. You see me.
I know you and identify with you because I know you’re a person of sorrow, too.
The most wonderful thing about having and experiencing all that sorrow, is that we are comforted of God. That’s an important point to remember. There may be other people involved in our comforting from the Lord. But we will also know it in our depths, where no other people are.
Hang in there only a little longer …. He does not tarry!
“For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” (Heb 10:37)
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Rom 8:16-19).
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor 4:16-18).