Imagine you are sitting outside your dormitory on a sunshine-filled day enjoying lunch with friends on a slight hill near the student center. Picture Jesus walking up and He delivers what comes to be known as the Sermon on the Mount.
Read Matthew 5:1-12.
What would be your first impression after hearing Jesus’ words? Would you respond by saying something like, “What is this guy talking about?” Would you suggest Jesus change His message before it gets discussed/trampled/mis-communicated in social media? Would you think, “Wow, I’ve been looking for this all my life?” Or Jesus is not living in the real world?
Consider a scouting report on the eight elements of the Beatitudes…attitudes and actions that are to “be in us.” How would you rate yourself as you silently read through the list?
POOR IN SPIRIT: I recognize my spiritual bankruptcy and my need for God. My relationship with God depends on His grace, so I know I’m incapable of earning God’s love on my own.
MOURN: I feel the pain that sin, including my own, causes. I can let others know when I am hurting without embarrassment. I can weep like Jesus did.
MEEKNESS: I don’t have to be the strong one who is always in control. I can be tender and gentle. I’ve given control of my life to God and I don’t always have to win.
SPIRITUAL HUNGER: I want to know God and His will for my life more than anything – including my own pleasure, status, or success. My heart truly longs for God.
MERCIFUL: I can share the feelings of people who are hurting, lonely, or distressed, and walk alongside them in their pain. God has given me a sensitivity for the suffering of others.
PURE IN HEART: I am completely honest with God and others. I don’t have to put on a false front or pretend to be something I’m not. My life is marked with openness and integrity.
PEACEMAKER: I work hard to keep channels of communication open with others. Rather than allowing anger and conflict to fester, I deal with them constructively. I help those around me work out their differences without hurting one another.
PERSECUTION: I know for whom and for what I am living. And for this I am willing to suffer and (if need be) stand alone for what is right. I can take criticism without reacting defensively or feeling self-pity.
Jesus gave His first disciples (as well as first century listeners…and anyone else who pays attention) a revelation of God’s principles of behavior, by which all people are to live through faith in Christ, and Holy Spirit enablement.
Grow devotionally. The Beatitudes are important because Jesus taught them, are marks of spiritual maturity, and if followed, will enable us to flourish as human beings.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz