MATTHEW 5:3-12: “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.” NLT
OBSERVATION: Times – they are a-changing! We certainly live in a different world than the one I grew up in during the 60s and 70s. It is rare to read about a commune that is living in the mountains proclaiming love and peace. Now, groups are taking over city blocks with guns and force and calling it their new world order. In all of this unrest and uncertainty – I need to do an attitude check!
I realized something a few years ago. During the 2016 election cycle, I found myself becoming more cynical and angry as I watched the 24/7 news coverage. My attitudes were being affected by the barrage of negative and fearful coverage I was watching. My thought patterns began to reflect the world around me and not the true kingdom of which I am a part. I am so thankful that my reading has taken me to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount the day before we enter a New Year.
If Jesus were walking the earth today, if He was recruiting disciples in the current age in which we live, I wonder how many would be buying a ticket to hear His presentation. When you compare the teachings of Jesus to the book titles in the local Christian bookstore, or online, they seem miles apart. The church unfortunately is not modeling a counter-culture that is marked by the life of Jesus. The church has begun to overlay their faith with the values and attitudes of this world.
Let’s review the Be-Attitudes that Jesus proclaims are to be the hallmark of His disciples.
- “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”
Jesus does not emulate the self-reliant, the strong, the accomplished. Jesus proclaims God’s blessings upon those who are poor (in spirit) and recognize their need for Him. It is also true that those who are poor in this world are more receptive to the Gospel than the wealthy. This is something to think about!
- “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
When is the last time I have mourned over the brokenness of this world, the lost souls around me, and those who have died spiritually and will one day be eternally separated from God? The world tells us we have the right is to be happy. God calls us to mourn. For, only those who truly mourn will be comforted!
- “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.”
Humility is to realize our place in the scheme of things. We are not God. We are fully dependent upon Him. The one who dies with the most toys will not win. The one who walks in humility and devotion toward God, although they may suffer in this life, they will receive the blessing of heaven and the world to come!
- “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.”
We live in a world of perverted justice. We are not interested in the truth if it contradicts our worldview. The world calls evil – good, and good – evil. We will never find the true peace and satisfaction we desire without the truth. Truth demands justice and righteousness. God blesses those who hunger for His truth!
- “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
The standard of the day is revenge. Our nation is divided. When one side does not get its way they take to the streets in violent protest. We cannot seem to tolerate someone who holds a different opinion than we do. We forget so easily the mercy that we have received. And, we wonder why no one extends mercy toward us? We must be merciful if we are going to experience mercy. God blesses the merciful!
- “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.”
Who has a pure heart? I know that I do not. Yet, my standing with God is not based on the condition of my heart, but the direction of my heart. I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I have been fully pardoned and clothed with His righteousness (purity). As I direct my heart toward Jesus I walk in the light of His mercy, truth, and love. The familiar chorus echoes this so well – “Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see You, I want to see You!”
- “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”
Jesus told Peter to lay down his sword. The believer is not called to take up arms and convince the world that it is wrong. The church has tried this in the past and history records its grave failure. We are to be people of peace. We are to promote peace, extend peace, and model peace. Living in peace is one of the very fruits of the Spirit that show that we are the children of God!
- “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
Finally, I hear a nudging at my heart saying – “Kirk, get over yourself!” How many times have I thrown a pity party for being misunderstood, judged, or even de-friended for my stand for God’s righteousness and my proclamation of Jesus Christ? Hebrews 11 is a reminder that there is a price for living by faith. When we suffer persecution for our testimony we should rejoice! It means that our light is shining in the darkness. It means that we are making a difference and are living as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven – now!
Lord, thank you for giving me an attitude check this morning. Help me to remember Your call to be poor, mourn, humble, hungry, merciful, pure, peaceful, and rejoicing in times of persecution.
Help me to walk in YOUR-ATTITUDES as I enter the New Year!
In Jesus Name!