Desert Wisdom: The Way Into the Kingdom

John of Thebaid said, “Above all a monk should be humble.  For this is the Saviour’s first commandment, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3)” (The Desert Fathers, 15:23).

Love is the hallmark of holiness.  The two great commandments define its nature and expression.

But the Christian tradition has always named humility as the hallmark of love.  And, for many Christians, the Beatitudes are the evidences of how humility comes to be realized in our lives.

The Beatitudes begin with the ultimate expression of humility: abandonment to God.  That’s what it means to be “poor” in spirit.  God is at the Center, and everything else is on the circumference.  If anything or anyone else is put into the Center, humility is lost, because we will be the ones who have put it there—which will be another indication that we are still trying to be the masters of our fate and the captains of our soul.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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