Pastor Dwayne Britt
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Clenched Hearts

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matthew 5:4-11

Make your hand into a fist, clenching it tight. Now imagine that your heart is like that: clenched, closed, so tense and tight that it almost hurts—but in a strange way that tightness feels safer than letting anyone in to hurt you.

Listen as Jesus begins a powerful sermon, declaring, “Blessed are the poor in spirit. . . .” It’s as if he’s saying, “Of course your heart wants to clench up. It feels inadequate; it is wounded and weary; it feels threatened, like it’s under attack. It wants to protect itself.”

But he knows that a clenched heart might also shut out the love of God. So, Jesus invites us to open our hearts, just as they are, wounded and weary. It’s as if he is saying, “Don’t pretend; be real; be vulnerable. You are poor in spirit, but you want to hide that from people around you, so you clench your heart. Let it go! Being poor in spirit is not something to hide; it’s a way to be blessed!”

Years ago, a friend told me that on her first day of college, she met her roommate and quickly discovered that this person was tough, hard to get to know, and actually a bit scary. She tiptoed around her for a couple of weeks. Then one day she came back from class and found her roommate weeping. After a hug, they talked things through and found a new way to handle dorm life together. That’s an example of a “dying to live” blessing that can come from being open to one another.

Open your heart to others—to show God’s love.

New Life Tabernacle Pentecostal Church © 2016