“Remember who you are. Don’t compromise for anyone, for any reason. You are a child of the Almighty God. Live that truth.” (Lysa Terkeurst)
We have come to the end of our look at the Beatitudes (or the “be attitudes” as I like to call them). I feel like I’ve been on an emotional operating table, where my heart has been investigated, dissected and then popped back together again, but in a (hopefully) better working order!
There is so much that we can take from the Beatitudes, so much to challenge us throughout our entire Christian life. I’ve been a Christian since I was 5, and I think these verses are just as applicable and challenging to me today as they were when I was a young Christian. These ‘be’ attitudes are an indication of what our life should look like. As an article on martinharris.wordpress.com put it “The Beatitudes define our lives, passions and commitment to live out God’s purpose in us. They will keep us strong and spiritually robust, prepared to rightly handle life’s challenges, and enable us to live life to the fullest with God”. They are all equally important and all fit together as one. If we are ‘be’-ing correctly, it is impossible to not have one without the other.
So what can we learn from the Beatitudes?:
All are counter-cultural. All go against the way our world works. All require courage. We live in a selfish society, that puts the needs of “me” ahead of everyone else; that seeks revenge instead of forgiveness; and chases greed instead of contentment. But the Beatitudes asks us to do the opposite. They ask us to imitate the one who saved and rescued us from our own self-destruction
We’re not promised an easy life, where we can just float on through without a care in the world. We WILL face trials (John 16:33 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”). But, Christ has gone before us and will walk WITH us through these trials. We are promised his help (Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”).
One of the challenges we will face is how we respond when we experience injustice and pain. We are told very specifically to have mercy and to forgive those who hurt us. We are reminded that we have also been, and continue to be, forgiven even though we are undeserving and must, therefore, extend that grace and forgiveness to others. (Matthew 6:14-15 directs us: “…make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.”).
We are told to expect persecution because the world hates whatever is different, and we are called to be different ( John 15:19“If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you), but our reward is a place in heaven, seated at the Lord’s table.
But, we have the greatest role model in Christ. If we look to Him and learn from him, then we find ourselves on the right path (Philippians 4:9 “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”)
Jeff Cook concluded in ‘Seven’: “We all know something inside us is tragically out of sync. We cannot consistently be the kind of people we wish to be. We hate yet cherish that which destroys us – the need to be centre of attention; gossip and destruction of those we don’t like; our excessive, comfortable life while others go without. Our only hope is that God is not willing to leave those he loves in such condition”. Throughout the whole of scripture, we are reminded that this IS our hope. God is not willing to leave us as we are. Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross we have been redeemed and restored. God has taken our wrecked, undeserved souls and transformed us through His love and sacrifice into something wonderfully whole. God has not abandoned us to figure this life out. We are told time and again throughout the Bible how He has rescued us, because He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. So, we find our joy, our hope and our strength to “be” in Christ alone: Romans 15:13 says “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.
I want to leave you with a summary of the questions I asked over this blog series. Is there anything that needs to change, or anything that you need to let go of for you to achieve these ‘be-attitudes’?
- What paper crown are you wearing that you need to take off? (Toowayhon)
- Is there anything you need to repent of and let go of? Do you need to move out of the state of mourning? (Godly Sorrow)
- Do you need to practice strength under control and opt for a more meek approach? Do you need to retain courage and power and stand up for what is right by God? (I’ve Got the Power)
- What is satisfying you? Are you at the vending machine or the Lord’s table ready for a feast? (Chocolate Buttons)
- Do you need to forgive/be forgiven? Do you need to show mercy? (Care-full)
- What do you treasure? What do you need to say goodbye to? What are your motives – selfish intentions or selfless love? (#checkyourheart)
- Are you a peace-maker or a peace-breaker? (Peacemaker)
- What are you united to? What will you give everything for? (Courage in the Fire)
Keep trusting in the Lord and do what is right in his eyes. Fix your heart on the promises of God and you will be secure, feasting on his faithfulness (Psalm 37:3)