Read Matthew 5:1-12
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
With Jesus’ announcement that the Kingdom was near (Matthew 4:17), people naturally asked, “How do I qualify to be in God’s Kingdom?” In his longest recorded sermon, Jesus began by describing the traits he was looking for in his followers. He called those who lived out those traits blessed because God had something special in store for them. Each Beatitude is an almost direct contradiction of society’s typical way of life. In the last Beatitude, Jesus even points out that a serious effort to develop these traits is bound to create opposition. The best example of each trait is found in Jesus himself.
Kingdom people seek different blessings and benefits, and they have different attitudes. If you want to live for God you must be ready to say and do what seems strange to the world. You must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse. By giving up your own rights in order to serve others, you will one day receive everything God has in store for you. Use the Beatitudes as a gauge. On a piece of paper, draw a continuum line, with the world’s selfishness, pride, and lust for power on one end and the humility and self-sacrifice of Jesus, your King, on the other end. Where do your attitudes fall? Why?