A "Different" View of the Beatitudes
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Do you ever feel like God is showing you different themes in your life? Recently, I’ve felt that the Lord has been convicting me of living like Christ. I think for so long my focus has been on increasing my knowledge base of Christ and the Christian faith. “The more I know, the better I’ll be” is what I thought. Then God really began to open my eyes. You see, there’s nothing wrong with learning about Christ. The problem is that often it never gets past learning. I’ve heard it said before, by Ravi Zacharias, that the furthest distance is often between the head and the heart. We know it in our head but oftentimes it never reaches our heart. This was my life. I was a member of the Kingdom but I didn’t live as a resident of it. The question is what does Kingdom living look like in our lives on a daily basis? Jesus answered that question with the Sermon on the Mount. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that Jesus was speaking about what life will be like in heaven but He’s speaking on how we are called to live in the here and now. I’ve recently had the chance to read The Sermon on the Mount by Sinclair Ferguson and in particular the Beatitudes and was convicted of how far short I fall of how Jesus calls us to live. The eye opener for me was how each beatitude is not to be taken by itself but rather how each beatitude flows into the next. What does that look like? Let’s take a look:
Blessed are those who see their poverty of spirit and how far they are from God and as a result mourn for their sins. And when they mourn for sins they will be comforted by the Father. When we now see the truth about ourselves before God and how we need His help, we live meekly. In other words, we live with a quiet, gentleness toward others because we ourselves have been saved. Those will then hunger and thirst for righteousness in themselves and in the world for others and since they have been filled with mercy from God, they will also give mercy to those in need. We live now with purity in heart which means nothing and no one stands in the way of our vision of Christ. We are new creations because of Him and have peace with God through His death and resurrection. Now we are called to be peacemakers and to go out and show others the way to peace with God. And when we live this way, know that you will be persecuted for the same reasons that Jesus was when He was here.
In essence, what Jesus is saying is that when you see your status before God, it should change the way you see others and treat others. We should desire for righteousness and desire Christ more than anything. We now live in peace with God through Christ and are to go out and show others the way to peace with God. When we do, we will be persecuted like those who came before us. The reward is great though! The question that each of us needs to ask is whether or not we will live this way or will we always be satisfied living the Christian life with one foot in and one foot out. Will our lives be defined by choosing to live in the Kingdom as a citizen in whom Jesus calls me to be or under my own terms?