AFReG Devotions 2021

28 December 2021

The Beatitudes present a picture of the desirable expression of our lives when transformed. There is a promised blessing with each of the Beatitudes. As we continue to consider various topics under our theme – “Changing Against the Tide,” we will look at each of the Beatitudes for how it speaks to us as leaders in Africa today.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

If we are going to change and be transformed, we need to recognize that we need more than our abilities to succeed. Those who are confident in themselves alone will not possess the Kingdom of Heaven and will fail in accomplishing God’s call on their lives. However, those who recognize their lack and draw upon the right resources have the definite possibility of accomplishing God’s purpose for their lives.

Moses was fairly confident of his position and purpose when he intervened in the situation by slaying the Egyptian. Having had to flee Egypt, he was nowhere to be found until he had his divine encounter of meeting the LORD in the burning bush. There we see that he was no longer a self-confident man, but someone who was humbled. Even though unwilling at first, Moses would only go back to Egypt to carry out his God-given purpose on one condition – that the LORD would be with him. He was not prepared to go back in his own strength. Sometimes God has to separate us or carry us to the “backside of the desert” like Moses, to learn that self-confidence and our abilities are not sufficient to get the job done.

His mistakes of the past and having been on the run for so long had created a vulnerability within, which opened Moses up to greater dependence on God and a willingness to listen and eventually obey.

The character feature of being poor in spirit is indicative of humility, meekness and a willingness to listen and obey. This is an essential quality if one is going to represent God and His Kingdom because “the Lord resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

The Lord uses leaders to bring change. The leaders who were successful in bringing that change were the ones who were not proud, but humble and meek. Saul was rejected as a leader when he became big in his own eyes.

When we think of David, though a leader, he was willing to acknowledge his sin and to repent, crying out for forgiveness, recognizing his need and the errors of his ways. David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:10, 11)

Being poor in spirit will cause us to call out to God for the sinful situations in which we find ourselves, rather than excusing them. David was willing to acknowledge when he was wrong and to make amends for it. Leaders who do not have the quality of being poor in spirit will find it difficult to acknowledge their sin.

In addition, David was not driven by his ego but by instructions of the Lord. We notice that every time he was to make a major move in his leadership role, he was careful to consult the Lord demonstrating his dependence on God and not himself.

The greatest leader of all, the Lord Jesus demonstrated His dependence on the Father. All that He did was determined by the Father. Jesus recognized the need for the Father’s guidance and instruction. As the people of God in this world, we must not live according to our own way, but demonstrate our dependence on God. Those who live in dependence on God experience a greater manifestation of God’s grace in their lives, which will have a significant impact on those around them including those they lead as we have observed with Moses, David and Jesus.

How wonderful it is that those who are poor in spirit in this world have the assurance of inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven!

Prayer: Lord, help me realize my need for You and remain ever dependent on You in every area of my life. Thank You for Your assured reward of the Kingdom of Heaven as I continue in this humble posture. Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in my life as it is in heaven.