Be -- attitudes

(A few condensed thoughts based on messages on the Beatitudes by Charles Price.)

Matthew 5:- Blessed are .... The ingredients of happiness; not the superficial happiness which comes from everything going well but the inner heart-rest and peace of mind which come from deepening relationship with the Lord Jesus.

The beatitudes are not characteristics which various individuals will have one or more of. They are not a list of rules to show us what to do. They are a disposition and attitude of heart for each and every believer, a progression in our lives so that we become what we are meant to be. It's not, "What should I do?" but "What should I be?"

When I am what I should be, it is only logical that I will do what I should do. Jesus was not giving us instructions for behaviour but (Ezekiel 36:26-27) showing the life we will live when the Holy Spirit controls and shapes us and enables us to become what we should be.

(3) POOR IN SPIRIT -- recognize my spiritual poverty; there is nothing good in me to live the Life God requires. The flesh cannot please God. My very best efforts will produce only wood, hay and stubble. I can't but Jesus can. All the blessings of the kingdom -- kingdom living.

(4) MOURN -- Repentance, not just for the sins I do but for what I am, which is why I sin. Repenting for sins committed is only part of it or else I will keep committing the same sins. Repenting for what I am -- my corrupt heart and sinful nature is why I do what I do. Continual repentance for what I am brings me the COMFORT of the Holy Spirit as He replaces my poverty with the exchanged Life. I am not changed or improved but I am invaded by the Resurrection Life of Jesus Christ.

"Not I but Christ." Aero-dynamics does not change gravity but it is a higher law which overcomes gravity and in a plane sets me free from gravity to fly. Just so, the Law of Life in Christ Jesus is a higher law which sets me free from the law of sin and death and for me to live is Christ.

(5) MEEK -- Humble and submissive to God. (Romans 12:1-2) When we yield our bodies, which is please to God, His will becomes pleasing to us. The rich young ruler wanted a Saviour but not a Lord -- and he got nothing. Surrender to Christ's Lordship -- inherit the earth.

We've already inherited Heaven but while we're on earth and surrendered to His Lordship, we will have all it takes for a happy, victorious Life, independent of the circumstances. (Romans 14:9) Christ died and rose again for this very purpose that He might be Lord of the dead and the living.

(6) HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS -- hunger is the evidence of life and health. Something is very wrong with someone who is never hungry. Hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God -- a righteousness which God ascribes (Romans 1:17). The Gospel reveals that righteousness is the moral character of God. We were created in His image to reveal His moral character. Hunger for God Himself and our reflection of His image will be shown in our relationship with others.

Kind - loving - merciful - generous - compassionate - patient, etc., because that's what God is like and we are here to show the world what God is like. This hunger and thirsting will always be SATISFIED.

(7) MERCIFUL -- A disposition, a discipline, a dynamic. If we love God, the logical outcome is that we will love others. Everything about Jesus shows His compassion for sinners, the sick, lonely, confused, downtrodden, etc. His only harshness was reserved for religious hypocrites. Whether it is giving or forgiving, as we show love and compassion, we will obtain the bountiful mercy, love and compassion of God.

(8) PURE IN HEART -- See God.

This brings immediate discouragement because my heart (mind, emotions, will, personality) is not pure. (Jeremiah 17:9) Deceitful and desperately wicked. (Ecclesiastes .9:3) The hearts of full of evil and madness is in their hearts. BUT GOD (Ezekiel 11:19) I will take away their hardened heart and give them a heart sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God. There are three meanings to the Greek word for pure: clean, sincere and unmixed or undiluted. Unmixed is the word here, that is single-minded. This one thing I do; not these 25 things I dabble in.

Of course I am involved in family, business, recreation, etc., but the focus is to be single-minded desire for growing intimacy with Jesus.

(James 1:8) double-minded, unstable and unreliable about everything.

(James 4:8) purify your hearts you double-minded.

Then with greater clarity I will see God in creation - how big He is. In circumstances - don't worry, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (hunger and thirst after righteousness) and all these things will be given to you. In the timing of death, a fatal illness may not bring death, it may be another way. The Sovereign Lord knows the time to call us Home. Of course we need to plan and prepare as wise stewards but there is nothing to fear.

(9) PEACEMAKERS - shall be called the sons of God.

First we must have peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. This is a position, a relationship to God. Peace in verse 9 and trouble in verse 10, at first appear to be contradictory. But Jesus is talking about peace which is internal and trouble which is external. (John 14:27) My peace I now give you, NOT as the world gives.

(John 16:33) In Me you have perfect peace (internal) but in the world you have trouble (external). This inner peace is the peace OF God (Colossians 3:15) the peace that rules in our hearts. Peace when everything is going well is not beyond understanding. The peace of God in the midst of all kinds of trouble (Philippians 4:7) is beyond understanding. When we know the peace of God, we want to be involved in what He is doing.

The Father - the God of Peace

Jesus - the Prince of Peace

The Holy Spirit - the Author of Peace

The Trinity is involved in peace. All Christians are the sons of God but when we experience the peace of God and share this truth with others, we are involved in what God is doing. Then, in a very special way, we are called the sons of God.

(10-12) PERSECUTED - great reward in Heaven.

Jesus starts off in the third person - those who are persecuted. But then He makes it personal -- revile you, persecute you, talk about you untruthfully behind your back -- because of ME. It's you and Jesus.

The persecution of the early church was horrible. Christians were thrown to hungry lions, others were tarred and ignited to illuminate Nero's garden parties, and etc. In 313 A.D. the emporer became a Christian and declared freedom of religion. As persecution ceased, several superficial people came into the church just because they wanted to be with the socially acceptable. And over the years the church weakened.

Why are Christians persecuted?

One of several reasons is that people of the world do not understand and what we don't understand, we fear. It is an intellectual reason because (1 Corinthians 2:14) to the unsaved, the Gospel doesn't make sense.

Apart from the revelation of the Holy Spirit, there can be no spiritual understanding of eternal truth. Also there is a volitional reason for persecution. You would think that a person who portrays the characteristics of the Beatitudes would be welcome and admired but the opposite is true. Jesus is Lord and to acknowledge Him as Lord requires submission, which the majority will never give. The most loved Name in the world, JESUS, is also the most hated. We will not have THIS MAN to rule over us.

We are the salt and the light in this dark world and our response to verbal insults or greater persecution is to rejoice because the salt is working, the light is shining. History right up to the present proves that wherever the Church suffers, the Church deepens and grows.

If I find that I am not happy, I need to go back over this list.

Am I rejoicing over any suffering which comes for the Name of Jesus? If not, is it because I'm not asking God for involvement with others to share with them the reality of peace in our troubled world? If not, is it because I am not single-minded in my pursuit of deeper intimacy with God? If not, is it because I have no love and compassion for others? If not, is it because I do not hunger and thirst for righteousness? If not, is it because I am not humble, meek and willing to be submissive to God? If not, is it because I am not mourning and repenting for what I am? If not, is it because I have never become aware of my spiritual poverty?

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