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Summary: The first choice is the Reality Choice... I acknowledge that I am spiritually bankrupt. I am powerless to overcome my tendency to do the wrong things and I need help.

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Title: The Reality Choice

Text: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

Thesis: The First Choice is the Reality Choice in which I admit that I need help; that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that I need help.

Lenten Series: Life’s Healing Choices. Following the pattern of the Beatitudes the series will be about introspection and reflection, repentance and restoration. Transformation. This series is based on Life’s Healing Choices: The Beatitudes from Saddleback Resources.

Introduction

Whack-A-Mole is an arcade game with a board filled with holes. You are given a hammer and the object of the game is to whach-a-mole when you see it pop up through a hole. Amazingly, no matter how fast you whack-a-mole, as soon as you’ve beaned one, another pops up from another hole. So you whack that mole and another pops up from another hole so you whack that mole and another pops us and you whack that mole and on and on and on it goes.

Watch this YouTube clip version of Whack-a-Mole called Whack-a- Human.

Project Clip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_ogAyToui8

Rick Warren says that Whack-a-Mole is a metaphor for life. One problem pops up and as soon as you’ve knocked that one down, another pops up and so we go through life whacking one thing down only to have three more pop up.

Whack-a-Mole may also be a metaphor for the persistent struggles we have with temptations, sins, habits or weaknesses that just keep popping up… those issues that we just never quite manage to get under control. So we just keep whacking away, never ever getting the thing to stop.

That kind of frustration and defeat is not uncommon. Even the most godly people we know have inner struggles with their thoughts, compulsions and attitudes and some struggle with things more obvious.

We can relate to the Apostle Paul’s inner conflict as reflected in his admission in Romans 7,

“I don’t understand what I do. What I want to do I don’t do, but what I hate to do I end up doing! I know that nothing good lives in my sinful nature. I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Romans 7:15 and 18

Seemingly, the only way to stop the moles from popping up is to unplug the game and take away its power. Likewise, the only way to stop those things that dog us and defeat us is to take away their power.

Perhaps the single most important step in taking away the power of those things that persistently result in discouragement and defeat in your life is to own your struggle.

The first Beatitude says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

There are many Bible translators and they all put their spin on the meaning and intent of the text. The Message says, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope…” The New English says, “God makes happy those who know they need him…” The New Century translation says, “They are blessed who realize their spiritual poverty…” and God’s Word translation states, “Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless…”

Just as we know when we are broke financially… we may also know that we are destitute spiritually.

The person who is “poor in spirit” is a person who owns his or her stuff. They have a spirit or an attitude that recognizes they are living in spiritual poverty. They recognize that they have no power to really stop the ongoing struggle.

How can a person develop the attitude of being poor in spirit?

I. The person who is poor in spirit humbly admits that they need help.

The greatest hindrance to being able to own who and what we are is pride. To be proud is to say, “I do not have a problem.” To be proud is to say, “The problem is you, not me.” To be proud is to say, “I do not need any help.” To be proud is to say, “I thank God I am not like other people…” This is what God says about pride:

• “God hates pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Proverbs 8:13

• “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

To be proud is to live in denial saying, “My stuff doesn’t stink.”

Have you ever had a potato go south on you? Have you ever picked up on the unmistakable whiff of a rotting potato? When a potato begins to rot it stinks and there is no denying the thing is putrid and reeks and needs to be tossed. A rotting potato not only smells terrible… it is disgusting to touch. Ick!

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