Too often Christians act or react badly in certain situations and display the same contempt toward others as many non-Christians. This is because they don’t know the scriptures and have no direct knowledge about how to deal with many of the situations they face. Yet, Jesus was very specific in His teaching and we can get a fairly good insight as to how to act and react when we learn what He said in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5: 3-12:
“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 filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain 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 they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Jesus is telling us how a born again Christian, someone who is walking in love and who knows Jesus, should conduct their behavior. We all fall short of this and if we are honest, we would all have to admit that there are times when we miss this mark.
He is telling us that this is the way that we should automatically act and react when dealing with the events of daily life. The more we study the Bible and seek Jesus and the more we worship Him, the more these attributes become a part of us and the less we have to focus on them. But while we’re still growing, it’s really a good thing to read the Beatitudes and get them deep into our heart.
What they mean:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The “poor in spirit” are those who don’t know Jesus, but then when they learn about Him they repent of their sins, give up their sinful life and become born again. They are blessed because now they have Jesus as their Lord, the Holy Spirit as their guide and eternal life with God in Heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” When a Christian’s heart is heavy with sorrow, the Holy Spirit inside them will comfort them and give them a peace that they could not get anywhere in the world. God’s love pours over them like only a Father’s love could.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” It’s the people who love the Lord and come to Him in love and with reverence and respect for Him as their Father, Lord, and Almighty God who will inherit eternity with Christ and who will come back with Jesus to live on the earth. It’s not the ones who “name and claim” their inheritance or who chant scriptures or whose gospel is focused on the prosperity message. The “meek” are the Christians who love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul and strength and who love others with the same humility.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” These are the people who love Jesus and who want to know Him; these are the people who are not concerned with personal financial gain or career objectives, but who love the Lord and who live for the Lord and whose focus is to serve Jesus. These are the people who believe that the righteousness of Christ is everything and they hunger and thirst to know Him and to be with Him.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” These people treat others with the same love and patience, kindness and forgiveness, compassion and understanding as Jesus has given to them. They know that Jesus loved them and died for them on the cross while they were still sinners; He did not give up on them and He gave His life to save them. And even now when they do something that they realize has displeased the Lord, they know that they can tell Him they’re sorry and that He will forgive them and continue to be their best friend. As the saying goes, what goes around comes around, and if we don’t have mercy on those who offend us, then God will not intervene with mercy at times when we need it.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The “pure in heart” are the Christians who are born again, washed in the blood of Jesus, and who have repented of their sins, turned away from their sinful ways and now follow Jesus with gladness. They are the ones who are covered in His righteousness and who are filled with the Holy Spirit, and they are the ones who now are part of the family of God and who have a home waiting for them with God in Heaven.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” We can talk to people and deal with situations much better when we do it with a peaceful attitude. Christians who focus on peace know that others will be drawn to them and their example will be a testimony to them. When Christians strike back and retaliate when they’re called names or when false accusations come against them, they are not walking in peace and often will turn an unkind situation into something really bad. Jesus is our example, and although He spoke direct at times He always did it with a soft and peaceful attitude.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” As the world gets closer to its final days, the rampage of sin continues to grow worse and Christians are being persecuted more and more because they love Jesus. The whole sinful revolution is brought on by the devil who hates Jesus and who knows that his time for persecuting Christians and causing problems in this world is almost over. Many Christians won’t speak up for Christ and won’t take a public stand because they don’t like to be mocked or ridiculed or persecuted – and that in itself displays their lack of love for Jesus. But those whose love for Christ is the very reason for their existence will preach the gospel, stand for righteousness, defend the innocent, and declare the love of God – and they will not be ashamed. They may be persecuted, but their love for Jesus is stronger than their fear of persecution.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” There will be times when non-believers will be upset with Christians and will make up lies about them and try to ruin their testimony. But Jesus said, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.” He does not want us to retaliate, call them names back, post nasty things about them online or spread evil rumours about them. He does not want Christians to stoop to their sinful ways and act the way they act. He wants His children to be glad the Word of God has riled their spirits and hopefully to the point where what was said or done might be the first in a string of events that will lead them to Christ. The Christian’s reward is in Heaven; God does not want them to fight back carnally here on earth as they try to get even in their defense. This is not God’s will for them – it’s the devil’s will.
The blessings of God in our lives make life worth living. We cannot preach the gospel without Him; we cannot be nice to mean people on our own efforts; and we cannot come to God in arrogance and expect anything short of discipline. God is our Heavenly Father. He loves us enough to die for us. He has prepared a home for us in Heaven. And He’s given us these precious Beatitudes so that we can know the heart of God and learn to treat others the way He treats us.
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tender-hearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9
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