This week I began reading again through the gospel of Matthew. Coming to Matthew 5, as I began the beatitudes, I was struck with a sense of personally needing more of the realities mentioned in the beatitudes. So I began to pray each one, wanting more poverty of spirit, needing and asking for more of a spirit of mourning over the things that ought be mourned over, asking for more meekness and spiritual hunger and thirst, desiring more mercy in my heart toward people and situations, and asking the Holy Spirit for continual increase of purity of heart in all areas, and to make me more and more of a peacemaker.
I was praying with confidence, because I know that whatever is in the Word is clearly God's will for me to have in my own life. I was drawn out by the Lord's grace to ask for more and more of these things, and then suddenly, I was stopped in my tracks as I came to verses 10-11. I found my heart hesitant and even resistant: I did not want to pray for myself about being 'Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake' . . . vs 11 'blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.'
I sensed my heart not wanting to ask for more persecution, or to be reviled or spoke evil about; I did not want to pray this; I immediately saw that I wanted some of the things Christ promised but not all; I wanted more spiritual desire, purity, meekness, etc, but I did not want persecution. I was faced with the fact that I wanted part of kingdom reality, but not this part of the beatitudes which would bring hardship.
I was enabled by the Holy Spirit to face the truth and, surrendering on the point, I bowed my heart, asking the Lord Jesus to make vss. 10-11 more real in my heart and life. I then felt freedom, peace, and grace to help me; I dozed off to sleep with, at least, a heart that was not resisting His truth.
- Mack Tomlinson