Who Should We Be?

In Matthew 5 Jesus starts His Sermon on the Mount. Over the next few chapters he gives insight into how we as believers should act, the things we should support, and the type of people we should strive to be. Jesus saw the crowd that had gathered and starts out his message with, what is called, the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5:3-12

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
4Blessed are those who mourn, 
   for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek, 
   for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
   for they will be filled. 
7Blessed are the merciful, 
   for they will be shown mercy. 
8Blessed are the pure in heart, 
   for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers, 
   for they will be called children of God. 
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, 
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

Each of these statements is packed to the brim with theology, weight, and meaning. Whole books have been written expanding on the content of these verses. However, many of those people miss the point of what Jesus was talking about. The Beatitudes are not “if-then” statements. 

The temptation in reading the Beatitudes is to treat it as a step-by-step guide in how to gain blessing. We want to look at verse 5 like it’s saying, “try your best to be meek then you will be blessed, and you will inherit the earth.” We get things twisted when we try and coerce God. We mistakenly think that by acting kind, or being pious, or appearing charitable that it puts God in our debt. I did something good so now God owes me something good in return. This is not how it works.

We have already been given the greatest gift of salvation. It is not through any actions we have performed, any good works we have done, or because any of us just turned out to be good enough. We are blessed beyond measure because of the love God has shown us. The Beatitudes are a great reminder of the blessings that come to us as the children of God, and they are all great ideals for us to chase. 

However, we all must remember that God loves us first, God loves us completely, and all we can do is share the love we have received with those around us.