By: A Williams (April 2011)
As a youth I can remember learning and reciting the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), the Psalm of David (Psalm 23) and even the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17); all which were considered to be staple scriptures every Christian should live and abide by with their walk and growth in Christ. From forgiveness and mercy, to courage and blessings, to laws given directly from God, these passages include a vast amount of guidance in becoming more like Christ by humbling ourselves and submitting to God, exercising your faith in Him, and being obedient to His word.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, better known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11) discusses the traits Jesus is looking for in his followers. Jesus warned his disciples about the temptations that would arise in living like Christ. Do not expect fame or fortune but mourning, hunger, and persecution; however in the end they would be rewarded. Each beatitude teaches us how to be blessed; how to reap the rewards and be fortunate to experience God’s kingdom. However, if we are not careful we will find ourselves using God’s message to promote our own personal interests. The Beatitudes do not promise laughter, pleasure or earthly prosperity but speak of the hope and joy in following Jesus no matter what the cost.
Humility, compassion, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and holy satisfaction are just a few of the promises Jesus tells us we are entitled to when we are willing to give when others take, love when others hate, help and aid when others abuse. Jesus illustrated humility by giving up his rights in order to serve God and serve man. He showed compassion by healing a man with leprosy (Mark 1:41). He displayed forgiveness to the Jewish leaders who thought His words and actions were blasphemous after healed a paralytic man (Mark 2:9-12) and even forgave the criminal on the cross and those who crucified him while being crucified (Luke 23:34, 39-43). He demonstrated his grace & mercy for us by continuing to bless us and offer us salvation even though we don’t deserve it (Matthew 20:15). Christ also confirmed his love for us by dying on the cross for us so that we could live eternally with him (John 3:16, 17). If our goal as Christians is to be like and follow Christ we must also want to live as He lived and be willing to serve, help and minister to others.
We are not the first and certainly will not be the last people who are looked down upon for being obedient to God’s word. Some of God’s greatest prophets (Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel) were all persecuted for doing just that. Applying the Beatitudes will challenge the way we live each day.
Are you striving to live more like Christ or making excuses why it’s too difficult to do?
Be blessed my brother/my sister.