Monday, December 07, 2009

Truly Blessed

Matthew 5:3-12
(3) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(4) "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
(5) "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
(6) "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
(7) "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
(8) "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
(9) "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
(10) "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(11) "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
(12) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

What does it take for you to feel blessed? Does it take money? Sex? Approval of others, including your spouse or children? What do you do to feel blessed? Do you take care of yourself? Do you look out for number one?

This passage is known as the "beatitudes." This is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. There is so much in here that a quick blog entry can only scratch the surface. What I think demands emphasis for the whole passage is how backwards all of this seems to our ears.

I don't think people have fundamentally changed since Jesus preached this. After all, we can see just how timely it is for today. However, I do think that our highly psychologized culture makes this seem even more counter-cultural than it was in Jesus' day. Jesus was speaking to the natural inclinations of our hearts. He pronounces blessing for things that we naturally avoid. Now thanks to Oprah and others we are basically told that Jesus was wrong.

We then come to a choice. Are we going to trust Jesus or Oprah? Are we going to do what we think is best for ourselves or are we going to trust what God says is best for us? How we answer that question determines how we live our lives. It also shows just how sincere our devotion is to our Lord.

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