Read Matthew 5:1-12
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15 NLT)
Listening to the news can be a very depressing thing. As a follower of Christ, I believe that the world has forgotten what it means to be children of the Most High. I believe that humanity has lost its way in terms of what it means to love God through loving our neighbors as ourselves. What’s more, I believe this to be just as true of many Christians as it is of people from other faiths. We, as Christians, have not taken Jesus’ words as seriously as they deserve…as they demand…to be taken.
The beatitudes, for instance, call for us to live like the children of God, and Jesus goes to lengths to spell that out for us, does he not? Blessed are those who are poor in Spirit (meaning that they “realize their need for God”, as the New Living Translation puts it), for theirs is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for God will set things right for them. Blessed are the merciful, who will also be shown mercy. Blessed are those who have pure hearts, for they will see God. Blessed are those who work for peace, not repaying evil for evil, for they will be called the children of God.
Yet how many Christians do we see living up to these standards. We often pass them off as something that ONLY Jesus could do. “Sure,” we say, “Jesus was a peacemaker…but he was the Son of God.” Then, as we pass his teachings off, we note that “peace in this world can only be attained through force.” Let me ask you this, was Jesus teaching us these things in the hopes for us to pass it off as impossible? Was Jesus just being showey in telling us to do things ONLY HE COULD DO? Or are we simply taking the easy way out by excusing ourselves from what God is actually calling us to do.
The truth is never quite as sugary as we would like it to be and the truth is that we are not taking Jesus’ teachings very seriously at all. We can continue on building up the list of excuses as to why we cannot live in the world the way Christ has called us to, but the reality is that there is one reason why we should…and that reason is staring us all in the face: BECAUSE CHRIST CALLED US TO. No excuse will EVER change the fact that we are called to live according to Christ’s standards. No excuse will ever mask the fact that we’ve been called to realize our need for God, to mourn with those who are grieving, to remain humble, to live justly, to be merciful, to keep our hearts pure, and to work diligently and persistently for peace.
So, the question is not whether or not Jesus wants us to live out the BEATITUDES and/or his other teachings and examples. HE DOES WANT US TO. The question becomes whether or not we are going take his teachings seriously and start working as an ambassador of God’s Kingdom, or whether or not we are going to continue doing things our way and working as an ambassador of the world. The choice is before each of us, myself included, every moment of every single day. We are not perfect, but we are being perfected by God if we will only open ourselves up to that perfection. Again, the choice is before us. Choose this day whom you will serve.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“And you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” – Jesus of Nazareth (John 8:32, NLT)
Lord, I know you are guiding me and I know that you are calling me. Continue to teach me your ways and guide me on your path, and help me to steer away from the excuses that keep me from taking your call seriously. Amen.