Devotions
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May 30, 2017, 5:00 AM

Which trait found in The Beatitudes is the most challenging for you to display?



Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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 5:1-12

 

The words of Christ found in The Sermon on the Mount were a revolutionary rallying cry that confronted the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the day. Jesus’ message set the tone for all that would come afterwards. He came to not only fulfill the law, forgive our sins and restore our relationship, but to turn our world upside down.  With each word He spoke, Jesus contrasted the way of God with that of the world. He challenged the status quo of the religious establishment. Obedience of the heart meant more than mindless legalism. The last would be first. Love would replace hate and indifference. Forgiveness would win over judgment and vengeance.

 

Jesus didn’t sugar coat His message or lower the bar of His expectations in hopes of watching His numbers grow. In some regards, Jesus was giving people every reason not to follow Him. Jesus knew the road that lay before Him and what it would ultimately cost those who committed to leave life as they knew it behind.  They were committing to a cause much bigger than themselves, which meant an end to their comfort, convenience, safety and security. Rather than fight for position, authority and recognition, Jesus was looking for individuals willing to lay their agenda down. He desired people who were authentic, people who didn’t fit the typical mold. Jesus wasn’t drawn to power hungry individuals, but to those who made much of other people and brought value to their lives.

 

Every single trait listed in the Beatitudes conflicted with the worldly values of the times.  Nothing has changed over the years; the same agenda pushed by culture in the days of Jesus is present today.  Jesus let them know they were looking for life in all the wrong places and so are we.  Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23 Life is found when you make the decision to pick up your cross on a daily basis.  In essence, Jesus is saying the only way to truly find your purpose and passion is through the act of dying to yourself. By sacrificially giving yourself away, you are actually receiving much more in return. Which trait found in The Beatitudes is the most challenging for you to display?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, I confess I wrestle with the act of self-denial.  Lord I know I look like everyone else who fights for their own agenda and demands their needs are met first. Jesus help me to lay down my wants and demands, and pick up Your cross.  Lord teach me live out the traits demonstrated in the beatitudes.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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