by Michael Smith
Please read Matthew 5:1-12
A preacher once re-named the Beatitudes 'The Beautiful Attitudes', as the Lord Jesus called those that follow them blessed and happy. The Beatitudes list qualities of character expected of the Christian, and they give the essence and the heart of so much of the teaching of Christ. As another minister remarked: "Never was so much truth condensed into so few words", and yet another: "The Sermon on the Mount, which begins with the Beatitudes, is the greatest sermon ever preached."
Blessed and happy, says
the Lord, are the discouraged, the sorrowful, the lowly, the
merciful, the single-minded, the peacemakers, and the persecuted.
How opposite to the world's way of seeing things!
A short checklist:
Do I have a genuine poverty of spirit? Do I realise my own fallibility and great need for God and His help, love, and mercy in my life? Do I pocket my pride and forego trying to go it alone, acknowledging my inability to live the life God wants me to without His constant guidance?
Am I continuously mourning over my sin that grieves the Holy Spirit, that separates me from God, and closes the door to eternal life with Him unless I repent and seek His forgiveness?
Am I meek? Am I willing to obey God's laws and ways? Do I realise that He is perfect and knows better than I? Am I willing to put my faith in Him and trust Him to lead me each day?
Am I hungry and thirsty to be in a right and close relationship with God in every realm of my life? Do I put God and His will for my life first in every situation, decision, and circumstance?
Am I merciful towards others? Do I exhibit a spirit of forgiveness? Do I freely forgive those who may have offended or hurt me when they ask for my forgiveness, just as God freely forgives me when I ask for His forgiveness? Or do I have a hard and unforgiving heart? Do I exhibit spirits of resentment, bitterness, and hatred?
Am I pure in heart and single-minded in seeking God above all things and in living the Christian life? Are my motives always pure or am I double-minded? Do I put God first, others second, and myself last, in all that I do?
Do I seek to be at peace with others? Do I try to be a peacemaker between those who may be at loggerheads, even when it may be to my disadvantage? Does healing of relationships have a major place in my prayers? Do I seek God to bring peace and harmony where there has been discord, jealousy, hatred, or resentment?
Am I standing so visibly for Christ that I am in opposition to the world, the flesh, and the devil? Do I suffer persecution as a result of my commitment to the Lord? More so, do I rejoice when men revile me and say all kinds of evil against me falsely for Christ's sake? If I do then great is my reward in heaven!
The Lord Jesus Christ was perfectly faithful in all things. But we fall very short at every step along the way. Do we know just how desperately much we need His help, grace, and blessing every moment of every day?
The Beatitudes form only the first few verses of the Sermon on the Mount which covers three whole chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel (chapters 5-7). This sermon contains more spiritual insight and wisdom than the combined 'wisdom' in all the 'insightful' books ever written by man, and it will continue to guide us along life's path - right through into eternity when our time comes.
© Michael Smith 2013