A Blessed Progression
It’s been a wonderful six weeks slowly digesting the Beatitudes one by one (Note: the Beatitudes are the verses at the beginning of Matthew 5 that start with “Blessed are the”). If you were asked seven weeks ago to describe what a Christain looks like, would your answer have included the words poor, mournful, meek, hungry, merciful, pure, peacemakers, persecuted?
Let’s review what blessed means. These are the people who enjoy the benefits of being favored by God and thus find themselves extremely blessed. There is no better place to be and there is no greater joy to be found.
If you want to be #blessed, look no further than Matthew 5:2-12.
- Poor in Spirit: Empty hands. These people know their spiritual poverty and their great need for Christ
- Mournful: Those with Godly sorrow who find themselves broken for their own sin and the sin around them.
- Meek: Having quiet confidence in Christ. This meekness invades how you see God, others, and yourself.
- Hungry: Christ’s followers have an appetite for the Lord and His righteousness over all other desires
- Merciful: Knowing the great mercy they have and continue to receive in Christ and the type of people who are glad to pour out mercy on others.
- Pure in Heart: The longings of the heart of a person who sets his eyes on Christ
- Peacemakers: Actively working to bring peace relationally and through sharing the gospel of peace with others.
This brings us to the final beatitude (Matthew 5:11-12). Pastor Mike preached last Sunday that all of these beatitudes are a progression leading up to persecution. The world does not like those who exhibit the qualities Jesus describes here. These things stand out, shine light, and look weird to others. Thus, be prepared that you will be persecuted and reviled. Living out these beatitudes will inevitably invite persecution. Do you see the connection now? I do!
But where is the hope and joy in the promise of being slandered, rejected, and ill-treated? Jesus commands us here to rejoice and be glad. If we are only looking at this world, then there isn’t much joy. But this verse points us to look elsewhere. To heaven. To eternity. As we incur this evil against us we can be assured that eternity is coming and here we will find a great reward for all we have endured for the sake of following Jesus. It is all worth it. Bring it on. Following Christ is worth everything it costs. Rejoice and be glad you are found in him, worthy to suffer as he did and keep your eyes fixed on eternity.
Join me in praying as we close out the beatitudes:
Oh Father, I see that I’m supposed to manifest these characteristics. They are beautiful because they all reflect you. I see where I fall short and I humbly ask your forgiveness and know in Christ you grant this great mercy. Father, grow me in these beatitudes. I feel that I am unlike them all yet I long to bear this fruit for the sake of the name of Christ. Do this miracle in my heart Lord. Strengthen me when persecution comes and help me to cling to Christ and the eternity he secured on my behalf. All of my hope for any blessing from you is in Christ. To Him be the glory.