“Something to think about" The Be-Attitudes
In the Beatitudes (‘beautiful attitudes’!) Jesus highlights eight unexpected situations in which you receive God’s favor and blessings.
1. Be spiritually desperate for God
Blessed are the poor in spirit. The word for ‘poor’ means ‘begging… dependent on others for support’. Here, it means being brought low or weakened to the point of realizing the need to depend on Jesus: ‘You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope’. The poor in spirit are blessed because, through what Jesus has made possible, ‘yours is the kingdom of heaven’.
2. Weep over your condition
‘Blessed are those who mourn’. Mourn your own sin and the mess in the world around you. Weep with those who weep. It is not wrong to weep and to mourn the loss of those you love. Jesus’ promise is that those who mourn ‘will be comforted’. God’s comfort goes way beyond any kind of ordinary comfort. As Joyce Meyer writes, ‘It’s almost worth having a problem in order to be able to experience [God’s comfort].’
3. Be content with who you are
‘Blessed are the meek’. The Greek word for ‘meek’ means ‘gentle’, ‘considerate’, ‘unassuming’. It is showing kindness and love for others. It is the opposite of arrogance and self-seeking. It means ‘broken’, not in the sense of a broken glass that is shattered, but in the way that a horse is broken – tamed, strength under control. Through Jesus the meek are blessed – ‘they will inherit the earth’ ‘you’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less’.
4. Be hungry for God
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness’. ‘You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God’. Pursue a relationship with God as your number one priority in life. Pursuing anything else for its own sake ultimately leaves you empty. But the blessing of a hunger for God and his righteousness is that you ‘will be filled’.
5. Receive forgiveness and be merciful
‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy’. Don’t give people what they ‘deserve’; give them what they don’t deserve. As C.S. Lewis put it, ‘To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.’ The merciful are blessed because ‘they will be shown mercy’.
6. Be completely sincere
'Blessed are the pure in heart.' 'You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right’. This is not just outward purity but integrity, openness, sincerity and authenticity. It is a purity that truly allows you to ‘see God’. A pure heart starts with your thoughts because your thoughts become your words, your actions and your character. A key step to being pure in heart is allowing others to see us as we are – in all our brokenness and vulnerability.
7. Strive to bring peace
‘Blessed are the peacemakers’. Don’t stir up conflict, but make peace. Jesus, the Son of God, came to make peace for you on the cross (Colossians 1:20). Blessed are the peacemakers ‘for they will be called children of God’ (Matthew 5:9). ‘You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight’.
8. Expect nothing in return except persecution
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness’. Don’t expect anything from the world in return except criticism. But God is with the persecuted church: ‘theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. ‘You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution’.
Lord, help us to be a community of love, hospitality, help, faithfulness and contentment. May we please you by our worship, serving and giving.
You Version 2019 Bible in One Year