The beatitudes Jesus shared during His Sermon on the Mount challenge the way we think and act. Sometimes we can go entire days and weeks without considering our attitude—but Christ's words in the beatitudes pull at difficult places in our hearts. Read Matthew 5:1-12. As you reflect on the beatitudes, consider the following:
First, they are inseparable. Each beatitude leads to another, like the steps of a staircase. The beatitudes point to the nature of Christ, and if we want to be like Christ, we cannot pick and choose the parts of Him we want to reflect—we must choose all of Him.
The beatitudes are not the life that we live to receive blessing; they are the life that the blessed live for the King.
Second, they are instructive. As we read them, we learn from them. We ask God to mold our attitudes to fit His, and we ask God to help us live in obedience.
Third, they are interdependent. The beatitudes are not a cafeteria menu to choose from, but an entire mindset and lifestyle centered around Christ. He is the ultimate source of our blessedness.
So what are the beatitudes? They are not the life that we live to receive blessing; they are the life that the blessed live for the King. This leads us to ask: "What does blessed mean?" In Matthew 5, the Greek word used is makarios, which translates to the word happy. But the English word happy is overloaded with excess baggage. It's superficial, temporary, and solely based on circumstances. It doesn't last.
However, this kind of happy, this kind of blessed, has a different meaning. It refers to an overflowing joy and satisfaction that can only come from experiencing God's glory. This is not the blessing of financial wealth or success at work. It is the blessing God extended to the Israelites in Numbers 6:22-26, the blessing of His presence: "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace" (vv. 24-26).
Jesus' introduction to the Sermon on the Mount is a difficult teaching when everything inside of us wants to do the opposite—but we must remember that the beatitudes are not a heavy burden, not something we grit our teeth to accomplish. They are blessings, and God will help us live them out.
Prayer: Lord, reveal Yourself to me as I read through these beatitudes. Help me to center my life around You and grow in obedience to You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).