Let me illustrate how these attitudes–indeed, how these blessings– that Jesus is telling us about build on each other.
In the last devotional, we looked at verse 8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Remember that “Blessed are the pure in heart” means without hypocrisy, or living a life devoid of sinister, improper motives and views…….NOT just being “outwardly” clean, but it is being “INWARDLY” clean in the secret recesses of our heart.
Some of the previous BE-ATTITUDES can be imitated. But purity of heart can’t. How do we receive this pure heart? Well, with me, I recognize that God is control. I rely on Him, (“3 Blessed are the poor in spirit”). I grieve my own sin because I am always trying to be a better person, indeed, I care for other people and grieve for the sins of the world that drag people to places that hurt themselves and each other, (“4 Blessed are those who mourn”). I have learned to seek God’s strength in my life, strength enough not to have to always defend myself and argue with others, but just to be honest with myself and others (“5 Blessed are the meek”). I seek daily to do the right things with the right motives (“6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”). I show mercy to others that are struggling by giving them encouragement and helping to meet their needs, (“7 Blessed are the merciful”).
AT THIS POINT…if I have even begun to adopt these things in my life, purity of heart is being achieved.
I need to point out that in each of these attitudes above, I, by far, have not “achieved” them perfectly in my life. But what I have done is to try to apply them in my life. When I fall….I get back up and try again. Adopting and applying the BE-ATTITUDES to our lives is a process and part of our journey.
I had an out of work friend come to me recently that was just offered a job making half as much as he had been previously making. He also had applied for and gone through the interview process on a couple of jobs that would, if they call him back, have full benefits and pay better. The person offering him this job making less knew that he was looking and interviewing and told him that would only be hired if he agreed to stay at least six months. His question to me was, “Should I take the job, and if I am offered the better job, quit anyway?”
1. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” : My advice was to trust God in this whole process and not to lean on his own understanding.
2. “Blessed are those who mourn” : My advice was not to put himself in a situation where he will be mourning his sin (knowingly saying that he will stay six months with no real intention of doing so unless it benefits him.) We want God’s bless us, right? How could God bless us for achieving something through lying or misleading someone? He wouldn’t.
3. “Blessed are the meek” : My advice is for him to simply to be honest with himself and others. The truth is, he doesn’t know the future and maybe this is a door opening to take care of he and his family until the dream job comes through?
4. “Blessed are the merciful” : In this case, it may not apply. However, it is always important to keep an attitude of caring for those around you that are in need….despite our own circumstances. Indeed, if you ask this man, he will tell you that in this last couple of months without a job……people have shown him mercy.
5. That brings us to , “Blessed are the pure in heart” : I have seen this man’s heart blossom these last couple months as he applied these attitudes to his disappointing circumstances and he has in my opinion come so much closer to living in the kingdom of heaven because he has been trusting God, indeed, trusting Jesus in his life. My friend has indeed found a great measure of comfort in his circumstances despite their pain. He has been shown mercy. As he has sought to do the hard right thing over the easy wrong….he has indeed been filled (at least he is now filled with a job that will help pay the bills…and he is filled emotionally by knowing that he did not sin in getting the job). Lastly….as his wife told me…..he has been coming closer to God and growing spiritually…….he has been able to see God in ways that he did not before. The good news is, though he doesn’t have the dream job he was hoping for, he is again employed and feeding his family. I believe that by applying these attitudes to his life and situation that there is much more blessing to come.
Tomorrow, we are moving on with an even stronger outflow of our inward condition. It’s interesting to me that at any time I can look at myself and ask what Beatitude I am struggling to apply and achieve now. It often varies from day to day. As I am talking to God every day and asking for His help and provision, He answers with situations that help me to achieve these attitudes and to not forget that I need Him–and I start to see these blessing in my life.
I pray that you too will continue to join me on this journey, that you too will seek to apply these attitudes to your daily life and that you too will see the blessings that abound from liveing in relationship with a loving God, indeed, Jesus.