I’ve just started at least a ten-part series on the Sermon on the Mount (for the audio click here). Â AnÂ incrediblyÂ rich and challenging message from Jesus.
The beatitudes are promises/statements not commands, but the thrust of promises should motivate us to desire transformation so we too may be the blessed.
TheÂ CharacteristicsÂ of the Righteous: The Beatitudes
The poor in spirit are those who understand their own lack of righteousness (bankruptcy) and need apart from God–they trust Him alone and His will–they experience the current reality of the kingdom
Because of their own lack of righteousness they mourn–but will be comforted with eternal riches
The clear understanding of who they are and sorrow causes them to be meek, not seeking their own–but shall inherit it all
Because they are meek they are then able to take their eyes off themselves and hunger and thirst for righteousness–they will be satisfied with perfect righteousness in the kingdom
Those who desire to be righteous will develop mercy toward others, because they see their own need for mercy
This lack of a judgmental spirit leads to being pure in heart–they shall see their heart’s desire, God Himself
They then are peacemakers because they are not seeking their own benefit but that of others–God takes notice
Which will cause others to be convicted and persecute them–the ultimate judge will reward them in the eternal kingdom with everlasting comfort
The Influence of the Righteous
As our character develops, the purpose is not just for us. Â Our character enables us to be an influence in the world. Â God is notÂ satisfiedÂ with us being who we should be, He wants us to leverage who we are becoming so that others can see our visible acts of righteousness and see Him. Â Our “good deeds” should be so counter-cultural, that no one would give us credit, but would glorify God.
We are to be the salt of the earth, we are to be the light of the world. Â How do we hide it?
We may try to hide it by seeking anonymity–”If they don’t know I’m a Christian then they will leave me alone, won’t challenge my beliefs, won’t be offended by my actions…”
We may try to hide it by seeking isolation–seeking to be only around others like us but not allowing the light to shine in the dark places
We may hide it by indifference–living for ourselves, living with a limited perspective, living like the world
We may hide it by distortion– rules and regulationsÂ (religiosity), Â rather than relationship and reality, hide the real light or at least distort it
We may hide it byÂ dilution–watering down the reality
We may hide it by division–not standing together in unity and love
Let your light shine! Let your God be praised!