I had one of those 10-15 minute soaking sessions with God this morning—one of those mornings where I didn’t think I would even have time to read His Word, but decided I’d sit down for 5 minutes before I left and open the Bible. I hadn’t been in Matthew, but that’s where it opened to, and my eyes fell upon the Beatitudes, and I knew that God wanted to stop me and speak to me right there. As I read, He began giving me things that I just had to write out…(hopefully not hindered too much by my own words)
We had a lesson in the Beatitudes a few months back in Sunday school, and it opened my eyes to the way in which this was really meant—I always looked at it as future tense, but that lesson made me understand the implications of the present tense. Anyway, here is what I ended up writing from this experience:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3
Those that know that in and of ourselves, we have nothing to prove, nothing to show, nothing to gain from our own works – those are the ones who are living in the presence of God in this world, on this earth.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
Those that grieve over their own sin and are broken before the Lord, and know that their own righteousness amounts to filthy rags – those are the ones who, when they come before God, on their knees, broken before him over their own state of sinfulness, they are comforted with the presence of Almighty God stirring within their hearts and lifting them up. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
When we understand that we have nothing of value in and of ourselves (that is, our flesh) – and we seek after the righteousness of God alone, our world is transformed. Not the world around us, but our perception of it. We begin to seek to serve others from the depths of the heart that has been transformed by God’s grace. Then we will be able to look around us, day in and day out, minute to minute, enjoying the immense beauty and the gifts that God has given us on this earth, and the gifts of the community that he has surrounded us with, and Creation itself. The beauty of his Creation will come alive like never before to us.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6
Those who come before the Lord and intercede on others’ behalf, those who want God’s glory to be shown with reckless abandon on this earth, those who desire more than anything for God to be glorified in their lives, and their workplaces, and in every part of the world – those are the ones who will be filled with all measure of the Spirit, who will be able to rise above and beyond the daily mundane tasks, and the bitterness and the aggravation of the troubles that come. They are the ones that will be Spirit-led and will overcome.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7
Rather than spitting darts at another who we see is doing wrong, we choose instead to show love and grace to them, not giving them what their actions deserve. And because of that, God is manifest within us, and he will show mercy toward us when we fall. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:15
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8
Those who seek after God, who have a heart like David, who come before God knowing the wretchedness and brokenness within them, and have the desire to live for him and him alone – they are the ones that will be given many gifts in order for them to go and spread those gifts to others. They will see God working on their behalf and the behalf of others every single day. When they desire above all else for God’s glory to be manifest in this world, they will see him manifest himself through them to others.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
Those whose lives are lived with such peace and empathy toward others, people can truly feel and see Jesus living within them. Any past anger and bitterness has been transformed by the grace of God into empathy and mercy. When outsiders look upon them, they are overwhelmed by a love that they don’t even recognize. The ones outside of Christ may not know exactly why they love these people, but it’s because God is being manifest within them, and they see that the God they follow is true.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10
The kingdom of heaven on earth is when we live in such dependence upon God—even in the midst of unbearable circumstances—that in turn, God manifests himself through us back out to the same ones that are persecuting us and throwing us under the wheels of the next train. When we live in such a manner, we know heaven on earth. We can live our days humbly submitted to him in all of our ways, seeking him and his kingdom, Our focus is intensely focused upon God and his glory and his unending love and mercy and grace, his love for us and his love for others. When we live in such a manner, we live in the manifest presence of God.
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. Matthew 5:11-12
We have the honor of suffering for Christ. But we can’t have that honor apart from living completely submitted and dependent upon him. When we have troubles with another, we take them to him immediately, and we are given the change of heart and the change of mind to realize that we are being blessed because of and through our persecution. Through this, we learn that we can live for his glory in the midst of the storm. We can live in such abundance of love in our heart, understanding the great honor that there truly is to suffering with Christ, and for him.
Christ, who created all things, who came to this earth from heaven, who died upon the cross, without saying a word toward his accusers (us)—other than “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He loved us so much that he was willing to come and die for us. And we have the joy and the honor and the pleasure of suffering for Christ in the world, day in and day out. We can live above the temptation of bitterness and anger, if we only grasp the reality that it is a gift to suffer with him.