It's the beginning of a new year. Time seems to fly and make me wonder what is important, really important. That's what made me ask, "What does Jesus think is important?" The first thing that came to my mind was the Sermon on the Mount. This is what I want to talk about, beginning with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10).
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Have you ever been sad or lonely or depressed? I have and I learned that God can deal with a broken and contrite heart. Turn to Him in your despair. Say His name and be loved.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Have you mourned the death of a friend or family member? Have you grieved over a sin that caused distance between you and God? Mourning is part of life, but it isn't pleasant. Yet, God comforts us in our sadness.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. This is the opposite of what we see in the world today. It is the strong and powerful who get ahead. In God's kingdom, however, it is the humble, the meek (not the weak) who will obtain a great inheritance.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Did you know that when God created mankind, He left a void only He can fill? That's why so many people, leaders and movie stars, people like you and me often feel empty. We try to fill the hole in us with popularity, wealth and possessions but nothing satisfies except Jesus. I don't want to tell you how many years it took me to figure this out, but I finally learned that by turning to Jesus and wanting to be more like Him, God filled me with His righteousness.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Do you know what it's like to be merciful? It means being kind and gentle and forgiving. Merciful people are few and far between today, but those who show mercy will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Wow! to see God. How awesome that would be! God sent Jesus to teach us how to live and He died for our sins. When we accept that in our hearts, then we want to live for God. He purifies us from a sin nature and helps us live our lives pleasing to Him.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Do you know the difference between peacemakers and peacekeepers? The police and government workers are peacekeepers, but it takes a special person to be a peacemaker. Regardless of how unlovely people are, God says, "As far as it depends on you, live at peace with your neighbors."
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Sometimes we choose to please God instead of the people around us. It's not a popular thing to do, but it is what God honors.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Has anyone accused you of something you didn't do? Have you been persecuted to the point of death? Many of Jesus' followers have. Although it is hard for us to think about, if we are called to suffer in such a way, God will reward us.
Think About It
God's ways are not the ways of the world, but by reading His word, we can learn His ways. The Beatitudes are a good start.
Pray About It
Teach us Your ways, O God. Show us Your paths so we might learn how to live for You. Amen.