Did you know that the Beatitudes is one of the most popular topics on my blog? I can see why. Anyone reading those verses can see the promise in them, but the thing is, we get kind of confused along the way. Blessed are the poor in spirit? The meek? Those who mourn? Let’s go to Matthew 5 and get into the meaning behind these confusing 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, NIV)
- Poor in spirit. What does it mean to be poor? Most of us, when we hear the word poor, think of someone who has very little money. Well, that’s one way of putting it. But poor doesn’t have to apply to our funds only. Before I get to that, though, let me ask you this: What do you do when you’re a little short of cash? The usual answer would be to get more, right? Well, in my mind, being poor (in whatever, not just cash) is a reminder of what we lack. And being poor in spirit is a reminder that we need to be constantly searching for God, constantly trying to form a closer relationship with Him; maybe to join His family for the first time. You are blessed when you have an awareness of just how poor you are in spirit, because the next step would be to fix that problem by getting more of God!
- Those who mourn. We all go through hard times in life; just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean everything will be perfect (far from it!). So remember God’s promise: Are you mourning? He’s there to comfort you.
- The meek. Meek. It sounds so negative, doesn’t it? It’s simply not a word that’s used much today, and because of that, we often define it incorrectly. You see, meek isn’t the same as weak or shy. It doesn’t mean people overlook you. It means being under the authority of, well, those who have authority over you. Teachers, coaches, parents. If you have a job, your boss. And most importantly, it means being under Christ’s authority.
- Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Have you ever fasted before? I definitely haven’t (unless you count the fast between dinner and breakfast); I love food! We all know what it feels like to be hungry. However, most of us say we’re hungry when we simply have a craving for some fatty or sweet treat. We aren’t really hungry; we don’t understand the meaning of starvation. We need to be starving for righteousness, starving for God’s Word, longing to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Verse six promises that when you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will be filled.
- The merciful. Would you consider yourself merciful? Do you forgive those who’ve wronged you? How about when you don’t think they deserve it? When they don’t even ask for your forgiveness? It’s not an easy thing. But we have to keep in mind the fact that God showed us mercy when we didn’t deserve it or want it; why can’t we do the same for others?
- The pure in heart. Are you focused on God? Or do you worship so many different things that God gets pushed to the side? To be pure of heart means that the Word of God fills our mind, our lives, our heart. It means being focused on Him and Him alone.
- The peacemakers. A peacemaker. Someone who intercedes for others, breaks up arguments, avoids stirring up tempers. Do you like to help others get along, or do you enjoy watching people argue? Do you feel called to bring people to salvation, or are you okay with leaving the world as it is? So, are you a peacemaker?
- Those who are persecuted because of righteousness. We have all faced persecution, to varying degrees. We will all get made fun of at some point for our beliefs. Stand tall and remember that yours is the kingdom of heaven.
And there we have it! Try modeling your life after some of the Beatitudes; you may find yourself surprised (and pleased) by the results.