Posted by Craig Borlase on 11 May 2017

Take a moment and think about all the different things that people get celebrated for: their money, their talent, their looks, their influence. Anything else? Now read these verses.

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
[Matthew 5:3-12]

If you’re hoping that following Jesus is going to serve you up an easy life, you might as well quit now. Jesus is making it clear what will characterise the lives of those that follow him, pointing out the signs that will indicate that God is blessing them. First we’ll realise that we need God desperately, that spiritually we have nothing (verse 3). Then we’ll be willing to open ourselves up to share some of the pain and sorrow of the world around us (verse 4). We’ll need a little humility, a desire to put others first and not think too much of ourself (verse 5), along with a desire to strive for justice and right behaviour (verse 6).

Jesus goes on to mention forgiveness, kindness, and compassion (7), purity of intentions and motives, a love for what is right and a determination to keep out of evil (8).
We will need to have the desire to work as a reconciler, not bringing conflict but unity (9) and finally the willingness not to be popular, not be well though of, but to face opposition because of Jesus (10).

This is what will happen if we follow Jesus. This is how we will change if we let him. And when it happens, when people look at us and wonder why it is that we’re content and peaceful in the midst of all manner of things that are going wrong, we’ll know the answer.
We’ll know that it’s because we’re blessed.

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