Sunday, March 13, 2011

Matthew 5: Beatitudes: Christ versus Self-Attitudes

Matt 5:3-10 
"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 sons of God. 
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Here Jesus listed the 8 blessings of the Kingdom:
(1) God's acceptance (v.3&10 - "theirs is the kingdom of heaven")
(2) God's strength (v.4 - "comforted")
(3) God's inheritance (v.5 - "inherit the earth")
(4) God's righteousness (v.6 - "filled")
(5) God's favour (v.7 - "mercy")
(6) God's presence (v.8 - "see God")
(7) God's character (v.9 - "called sons/children of God")

The blessings of the Kingdom can be summed up in one word - CHRIST! It's in Christ that we receive God's acceptance, strength, inheritance, righteousness, favour, presence and character. To have Christ is to have all the blessings of the Kingdom: "All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God" (1 Cor 3:21-23).

But to experience each of the blessings, we need to have the right attitudes:
(1) humility ("poor in spirit") - renouncing self-sufficiency
(2) brokenness ("mourn): renouncing self-righteousness
(3) submission ("meek"): renouncing self-ambition
(4) desire ("hunger and thirst"): renouncing self-gratification
(5) forgiveness ("merciful"): renouncing self-vindication
(6) purity ("pure in heart"): renouncing self-motivation
(7) reconciliation ("peacemakers"): renouncing self-assertion
(8) suffering ("persecuted"): renouncing self-preservation

The conditions for God's blessings can be summarized in one word: renouncing SELF in its various manifestions - self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, self-ambition, self-gratification, self-vindication, self-motivation, self-assertion, self-preservation.

Father, thank You that we have Christ. Help us to renounce and put to death our SELF-life that keeps getting in the way of the CHRIST-life. Amen.

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