When Jesus saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, He began to teach His disciples…
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus sits down. We stand up to preach; in the first century, religious leaders sat down to teach.
In eight short verses Jesus teaches the most effective and sublime system of ethics in human history. Whenever I go over the Beatitudes (having memorized them over 30 years ago) I sense direction for my life.
In 2022, read or memorize the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 and ask God, “Allow these attitudes to be mine. Let them influence who I am and the decisions that I make.”
If you do, you will be blessed.
The Greek word for “blessed” could be translated as happy, and it also means a joy that cannot be quenched by Covid, politics, the economy, or whatever happens in 2022.
Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Jesus isn’t against wealth, nor does He promote poverty. Poor in spirit means an utter distaste for pride-motivated works of achievement. Those poor in spirit recognize Jesus as the only source of life.
Ask this question: “Lord, in what area of my life do I need to utterly depend upon You?”
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Mourning is sympathy for those suffering. The injustice others experience becomes our experience. Their pain our pain. Our resources their resources. Our comfort sacrificed to help.
Ask this question: “Lord, what area of pain or need do I serve in 2022?”
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
The word gentle was used to describe a well-trained horse in the first century. We are not to be subservient but instantly responsive to whispered commands from Jesus.
Pray: “Lord, help me to hear your whispers loudly in 2022. Give me a love for obeying your word. No hesitation at all.”
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Righteousness allows God to define right and wrong. We don’t succumb to a self-oriented “our story” or one dictated by culture. We choose God’s story, authored before time.
Pray: “God, here am I. You love me. Every time that I stumble, You still love me. Help me to love You more than my strong desires.”
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Receiving a gift that is not deserved is the definition of God’s mercy. He gave us Jesus. We are to give gifts to others that they don’t deserve. As we give mercy, we receive more mercy from God.
Ask: “God, to who do I need to give a gift of forgiveness?”
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
The Greek word for pure is “catharos” from which we get the English “cathartic.”
Totally cleansed, everything evil gone. Bitterness cast aside, impurity confessed, offenses forgiven. Selfishness turning to generosity and walking the narrow path of God’s calling.
Ask: “God, what do I need to lay aside in my life? What is keeping me from completely following you?”
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be sons of God.
Not those who love peace, but those who are willing to ask forgiveness. Peacemakers step into difficult situations needing reconciliation. Often, a peacemaker is attacked by all sides of a conflict.
Pray: “God, I need help. Like Jesus weeping in the garden before His crucifixion, send Your angels to give me resolve to make peace.”
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Pray: “I am willing, Jesus, to suffer!”
I sat on the mountain from which Jesus spoke the Beatitudes. I could see the Sea of Galilee in the distance. No better pulpit in the world!
The Beatitudes have been tried by many. Most fail. Until this year.
By a renewed filling of God’s Spirit, you will succeed. The most astonishing aspect of Jesus’s teaching on the Beatitudes – it’s possible.
They aren’t a teaching to be printed, placed in a frame, sold on Etsy, to be hung in your kitchen.
Jesus wants you to have these attitudes in 2022.