Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:1-3 ESV
If we are poor in spirit, we are humble, not proud. We realize that we are sinners in need of a Savior, and that we can’t make it through this life on our own. We are not self-sufficient, but we are dependent on God for all that we need. Our lives now belong to him. His kingdom is ours.
We are contrite in heart, and we surrender our lives to the Lordship of Christ over our lives. We turn away from our sinful lifestyles, and we now follow Jesus Christ with our lives in obedience to his commands to us, his church. For, our desire is for him, to please him.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matt 5:4 ESV
To mourn, in this context, is to be sorrowful and to grieve over our sins, leading to repentance. It is not a mere acknowledgment that we are sinners, nor is it merely feeling sad because of bad things which we did. It is to hate the sin so much we want it out of our lives.
And this leads us to genuine repentance, which is a turning away from our sinful lifestyles, by faith in Jesus Christ, and it is now living to Christ and to his righteousness, empowered by God’s Spirit now living within us. Thus, we are comforted by God’s saving grace in delivering us from our bondage to sin so that we can now live holy lives, pleasing to him.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matt 5:5 ESV
Meekness and weakness are not the same thing. Jesus was meek, but he wasn’t weak by any means. Meekness has to do with exercising God’s strength under his control, being compassionate, and at the same time speaking the truth in love. It is a gentle balance.
There were times when Jesus had to be very forceful and strong with his words, like he did with the Pharisees and with the Jews who were coming against him, but other times he was very gentle, such as with the Samaritan woman at the well, and with the woman caught in adultery.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matt 5:6 ESV
I do know what it feels like to be truly thirsty. I can’t say that I have ever gone completely without food. We didn’t always have much, but we always had something. But I do know the weak feeling I get in my body when I have gone a relatively long while without food.
Yet, I know what it means to hunger and to thirst for righteousness. A lot of this derives from our grieving over sin. When we truly feel how God feels about sin, and we honestly comprehend how bad sin is, and we want it out of our lives, then we also long for the righteousness of God in our lives.
We long to live holy lives, pleasing to God, walking in obedience to our Lord, doing what he says, and we don’t want to sin. We love our Lord, and we don’t want to do what is against him. And we are so thankful for his grace in delivering us from our slavery to sin and in freeing us to please Him.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matt 5:7 ESV
Being merciful does not mean being soft on sin, for that is not mercy. True mercy is compassionate toward others in the same way in which God has been compassionate towards us in providing the way for us to be delivered from our slavery to sin so that we can now walk in his righteousness.
True mercy, therefore, will speak the truth in love to people about their sin rather than to coddle them in their sin. True mercy will give out the truth of the gospel, for it is the truth which sets people free, not the lies disguised as mercy. Mercy will always be consistent with God’s will for our lives.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matt 5:8 ESV
Our hearts are the core of our being. The heart is the center of our emotions. It is synonymous with our spirit and soul. It is the essence of who we are in character and in disposition. It is our inner self, including our will. It is here we choose to believe in Jesus or to reject him.
We store up in our hearts what is good or what is evil, and it is from our hearts that those good or evil things come out and are expressed in our words, our attitudes or in our deeds. As followers of Jesus, we should be pure (unadulterated and upright) in heart, and we shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matt 5:9 ESV
Peacekeepers will never ruffle feathers and will willingly do whatever they need to do to avoid any conflict, even if it means compromising truth and their faith in Jesus Christ. A peacemaker, though, doesn’t compromise truth or the gospel or their faith in order to appease others or in order to not “make waves.” We are God’s children.
Jesus was a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper, and he definitely “made waves,” and he upset people because he didn’t compromise with them. For, peacemakers are more concerned with people being at peace with God than they are with whether or not people like them and think that they are “nice.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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 so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matt 5:10-12 ESV
If you are a peacekeeper, you probably will never be persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ, for you will do everything possible to never upset people or to have them angry with you or thinking badly of you.
So, you probably won’t say much at all about Jesus or his gospel because you know that is bound to offend someone or to make people not like you. And, you won’t confront people in their sin, because you want them to like you, and to think well of you, and you won’t call them to repentance, either, or warn them of judgment for the same reasons.
Nonetheless, if you are a peacemaker, and if you are a seeker after righteousness, and if you have the love, compassion, mercy and tenderness of the heart of Jesus Christ in caring about other people, then you will say whatever the Lord gives you to say, even if people don’t like you in return.
You will speak the truth in love. And, you will say things that people don’t want to hear, and you will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, too.
An Original Work / May 30, 2011
“Fill me with Your Spirit;
help me to love others;
Let me know Your power;
be an overcomer.
Show me how to follow
Jesus Christ, my Savior;
Be His faithful servant
to obey Him always.
“Lead me with Your presence;
help me know the right way;
Teach me love and kindness,
Give me grace and courage
to be Jesus’ witness,
Teaching His salvation
to a world who needs Him.”
Won’t you come and follow
Jesus Christ, your Savior?
He died so you’d be
free of control of your sin;
Free to follow His ways
in complete surrender;
Living sacrifices –
let His grace transform you.