As a kid I’d hear a story about the beatitudes or might be asked to sing a song about them. As I grew into my tween years I figured out that they’re the first part in the all famous Sermon on the Mount. What’s the sermon on the Mount? Jesus’ longest recorded sermon. I really enjoyed other parts of this sermon, but not this part. I’d skim over them whenever I stumbled upon them while spending time with Jesus. Blessed are the _____ for they will _______. A long list of certain types of people who will receive something. However, in Bible Study Fellowship we are studying Matthew this year. This week I either have to study Matthew 5 and those little beatitudes or not be prepared for our small group discussion next week. So, I began reading them, pondering them, and trying to figure them out. Thankfully, God’s word is alive and active and He is always ready to teach me! And – this time I was ready to listen.
God blesses the Poor in Spirit. Hum… What in the world makes one poor in spirit? If I had lots of money can I still be poor in spirit? Probably. Maybe it means to have a humbled spirit? To not boast or be proud. But, that doesn’t necessary equate to having self-pity or placing yourself in the bottom of a cave emotionally. Poor in Spirit – I’m thinking it’s having a heart and life that is humbled before God and a spirit that it yielded to Him. For the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn. Ok, so I don’t exactly think it’d be fun to go around crying constantly or wearing a sad face. But, just because I wouldn’t want to do it doesn’t make it untrue or something that God isn’t commanding me to do. He asks me to do things I don’t want to do pretty often. But, the command to be filled with joy seems to contradict the idea of crying or being sad all the time. God doesn’t lie. How can both be true? Maybe mourning is connected with having remorse and sorrow over our sins for a time? For not simply looking over them as if they’re not a big deal. They are. Maybe that is what we are suppose to mourn over? For they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are Meek. Meek. That’s a word that makes sense. God will bless those who are humble. God will bless those who are teachable and desire to learn from Him and change their lives because of their learning. So, what will they inherit? The Whole Earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. What would it look like for me to hunger and thirst for righteousness? It would be more than praying every morning or reading my Bible before I go to bed. A hunger and thirst is like a longing, a deep, passionate desire. If I truly had that kind of desire for the presence of Jesus…. wow! I’d be spending lots of time in His presence. For they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are Merciful. I don’t really like being merciful. If someone does something wrong I enjoy seeing them receive the punishment they deserve. Ok, well there are some people like my little brother and husband who I naturally have more mercy towards than others. But – that’s an ugly part of me. Lord Jesus – please teach me how to be merciful and extend mercy to the people around me. He is sooo good at it and extends mercy to me every stinkin day. For they will be shown Mercy.
God blesses those who are pure in heart. Pure in heart? We talk a lot about purity in our Christian culture today. But, more often than not it is associated with sexual purity of the body and mind. Sure, being pure in heart includes that, but it is sooooooo much more. It is an undivided devotion to the one who created you with no room for other idols or lingering sin. A person who is pure in heart strives not to sin, and when/if they do, they are quick to ask for forgiveness. For they will see God.
God blesses those who are peacemakers. When I’ve read this in the past I would associated a peacemakers with someone who would settle disputes within their families and help people from different perspectives see eye to eye. Or a person who would do that for their neighbors, etc. Maybe my brother wanted to go into the navy and mom didn’t want him to. So, if I were a peacemaker I could assist them in seeing things from the others perspective and come to some sort of agreement without raising their voice or slamming doors or walking out the door. Ok, well I don’t think that’s exactly what Jesus was talking about. But, that’s the image I had in my mind whenever I read the word peacemaker in the Bible. I think Jesus is talking about sharing his peace with others and bringing peace to peoples lives by introducing them to Jesus. Rather than it being about fixing two peoples problems with each other, I think it is a much higher calling and purpose. God’s peace is what is important. And, in order to be a peacemaker, one has to first have the peace that passes all understanding in their own being. For they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted because of righteousness. This one makes sense. If someone is committed to the Lord and His ways and are persecuted for it – then The Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. I think the problem here is that often times people are persecuted because of something they THINK is of the Lord, but it really isn’t. Instead it is something they made up, took out of context, or thought of while they were praying. BUT – those who are persecuted, whether killed or mocked or a verbal put down, because of Jesus Christ then the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
So, now I look at the Beatitudes a little differently. I won’t skim over them anymore because I don’t want to learn from them. What I shared here about each beatitude isn’t God’s word. The actual beatitude is – but my interpretation could be totally wrong. Take what I mentioned about each and compare it to God’s word. I’m not a genius, just a young lady living in love with Jesus and striving to grow closer and closer to Him. I mess up. Feel free to share your thoughts about each of these beatitudes below in the comment bar. I love to learn!