Image via Wikipedia
Jesus gives the Beatitudes
Jesus began his sermon with words that seem to contradict each other. But God’s way of living usually contradicts the world’s. If you want to live for God you must be ready to say and do what seems strange to the world. You must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse. By giving up your own rights in order to serve others, you will one day receive everything God has in store for you.
There are at least three ways to understand the Beatitudes: (1) They are a code of ethics for the disciples and a standard of conduct for all believers, (2) They contrast kingdom values (what is eternal) with worldly values (what is temporary), (3) They contrast a superficial “faith” with the real faith God wants. These beatitudes are not multiple choice – pick what you like and leave the rest. They must be taken as a whole. They describe what we should be like as Christ’s followers.
Each beatitude tells how to be blessed. “Blessed” means more than happiness. It implies the fortunate or enviable state of those who are in God’s kingdom. The Beatitudes don’t promise laughter, pleasure, or earthly prosperity. To Jesus, “blessed” means the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. To find “real” hope and joy, the deepest form of happiness, follow Jesus no matter what the cost.
Jesus said that God’s kingdom is organized differently from worldly kingdoms. In the kingdom of heaven, wealth and power and authority are unimportant. Kingdom people seek different attitudes. They contrast fake piety with true humility. Are your attitudes a carbon copy of the world’s selfishness, pride, and lust for material things, or do they reflect the humility and self sacrifice of Jesus your LORD.
If you are trying to find fulfillment only through riches, wealth may be the only reward you will ever get – and it does not last. We should not seek comfort now at the expense of eternal life. Popularity is no guarantee of truth, and human flattery does not bring God’s approval. Sadness lies ahead for those who chase after worldly success rather than loving God with their WHOLE HEART.