I was reading a study plan today and felt compelled to write about it. The reading was from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 5:1-48, but I really wanted to concentrate on verses 2-12 only, also known as The Beatitudes. It is very thought provoking and, in my opinion, a very good starting point for someone who wants to explain the word of God to someone who might have questions. When I started reading the passage the first thing that came to mind on how to describe it was "Beautiful Attitudes" for Christians to follow and possibly emulate. Starting with verse 3, Jesus tells us we must be poor in spirit; Blessed are the poor in spirit, , for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.. That means we need to be someone who is always searching for the answers spiritually, always seeking God and His promises. We must never think that we know everything and never assume we know God's intentions; we must continue to act as if we are "poor" so we continue to seek God in all things. Secondly Jesus said "blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." In my opinion it is not meant to mean 'mourn the dead', but to mourn our sin. No one is perfect, but our pursuit of Christ must be perfect. We must recognize our sin, be upset with it, but to also seek Christ with a heavy heart and guilt toward our sin action. We must ask for Christ's forgiveness and be comforted; we must also learn from our sin so we can learn to recognize the potential for it so we may defeat it before committing it. The next beautiful attitude is to be meek "blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." We are to be meek, or submissive or obedient, to the teachings of God our Father. Contrary to what the world says, the Bible is good. It's examples offer the blueprint to a successful finish to life. When it mentions that the meek shall "inherit the earth," In my opinion, Christ didn't mean that we will inherit the earth in our lifetime, he meant that we would inherit the earth after the Book of Revelation is fulfilled and God defeats Satan; he is talking about all Christians inheriting the earth at His second coming, a gift that can only be fulfilled though obedience and submission to a life of God. We accomplish verse 5 by living verse 6. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." We accomplish this by staying morally strong. Christ never mocked anyone, made people believe he was better than anyone else, he was righteous, he was morally right, always living and teaching according to the ways of God, just as we should. We can pursue righteousness by being merciful, as stated in verse 7 "Blessed are those that are merciful, for they shall receive mercy." Everyone struggles in life; everyone will experience events in life where they will need mercy. Christ showed mercy, offered forgiveness to those who deserved none. We need, (and need to be) someone who is forgiving, compassionate, humane, kind, gracious or sympathetic. We should want to help the homeless, the disabled, help someone fix a flat tire, etc. We need to show mercy if we want to receive mercy. More importantly is that we must do it with a pure heart. Verse 8 states "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." We must not act with the intent of being recognized or rewarded, or to receive a "pat on the back." Jesus never wanted recognition for his actions to focus on him, he did everything so others could recognize the power of God. He didn't go around puffing his chest or declaring, "look at what I did"; he went around proclaiming "look at what my father has done, through me." Christ lived with a pure heart of God, and they (the people) saw God through him. These actions set us up to verse 9, the peacemakers. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." In this verse, again my opinion, Jesus isn't talking of world peace, at least not in the short term, and certainly not by yourself. Imagine, if you will, every Christian on earth sought to be a peacemaker to one or two people; imagine if one Christian encouraged peace to one person. That could lead to that person to encourage peace to someone else and so on, before you know it millions of people could display a pure, peaceful heart of God. Now imagine numbers of that magnitude displaying that characteristic, evil wouldn't stand a chance. Every Christian needs to realize though that these attitudes will never fully resonate with everyone though. No matter what we do, how well we live our lives, or how true the motives of our actions are, people will always misinterpret it. This is one of Satan's ways of trying to steal, kill and destroy believers, and non-believers. He wants to keep Christians from confidently spreading the word of God by saying, or showing, that our actions are wrong or not necessary. It is Satan's game to say "you don't need to be a Christian to live like this." But it is our job to persevere through these types of attacks. Verse 10 "Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," says that persevering through persecution is what will get you the kingdom of heaven. We aren't supposed to worry about what Satan is trying to do, or what the world is saying about us. We are going to experience setbacks during this spiritual warfare, so if we chose to lose (or lose it), then Satan will defeat us. It is our job as Christians to keep fighting the good fight, we put our trust in God and live according to his word. Verses 11-12, "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets who were before you," tells us to brush off those attacks from Satan, or non-believers. Not only should we brush off and not worry about the attacks, but to rejoice in it, For great is our reward in heaven! So for all Christians, when we go out and try to live the word, or bring the word to others, but feel that we can't do it for whatever reason, just remember that we are giving in to Satan and his ways. We cannot allow that to happen anymore. We must remember that we serve the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Heaven and Earth. The more we chose to follow him, instead of our own fearful ways of the world, He will see it through, it will be our victory and God will reward us in the end, "for our reward in Heaven will be great."
Posted 17 January 2017 - 09:16 AM
Just wanted to say, good study!
I am learning, that all which you have talked about, is able to be accomplished here and now.... 'in' Jesus; just as Jesus lived in obedience to the Spirit of the Father that dwelt with 'in' Him. Jesus sums this concept up in His prayer in John 17. History reports how that it happened, by the reality of the 120 waiting until they received the Holy Spirit... Acts 2.
As Jesus said, it is not 'Me', but the Father with 'in' me that does all of this that you see.
A really good study is the little word "in" and what it really means; what the writers of New Testament have to say about it; their understanding of the concept of being 'in'. The meaning of Romans 8:1 takes on new meaning when we begin to comprehend the word "in", not as an assumed presumption, but as a living reality, with 'fruit', which the 12 disciples attained in a few intense years spent continually with Jesus; even experiencing the reality of the Holy Spirit in part, until Jesus went back to be with the Father and they became immersed "in" the Holy Spirit.
Tozer's Devotional this morning (January 17) says it very well, as he considers the meaning of John 17:3... which suggests another good study... Jesus 'knowing' us.
We all tend to be at different levels of maturity, in the character of Jesus, our example. It is unfortunate that too often we only learn by doing things wrong, learning humble restitution and repentance; how to correct, obey, and listen better, obey quicker, humble submission.
As you said Satan takes advantage of our mess-ups to try to discourage and defeat the Spirit of Jesus growing within us; to take our eyes off of Jesus, as Peter did, when walking on the water.
If I could/would only stop allowing elements of my 'flesh' to survive(have control), which allows Satan to have 'fertile ground' to sow His seeds of doubt, distraction, pleasure, etc. That is very hard for me, as an American, living in the Western culture.
I understand it is far easier for those in third world countries to have a 'living' faith, because they do not have the wealth to depend on as a backup.
I wish you the best in your growth toward 'completion of character' in Jesus!