The Beatitudes have baffled me for a long time. I wonder, Why did Jesus choose those specific attributes to highlight and teach about? They seemed so random, important for some reason, but random. Then, this summer during a very difficult time for my heart, I was in prayer and I asked Jesus “how do you see me?” His reply was simple “Pure in Heart”. This rocked my world! How could He call me pure in heart? What does that mean? What does He SEE in my heart? How do I accept that without becoming proud? So my search began. A few months later, while in prayer again, I asked God to be very specific with me and reveal exactly what He meant when He called me “pure in heart”. The following is His answer. He showed me that the Beatitudes are a road map for our growing relationship with Jesus. (I found it inspiring to stay up all night while He decoded the Beatitudes for me.)
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, For the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Matthew 5:3 NLT
When I was in college, I realized that I am poor, destitute, and unable to save my soul. As much as I tried, I could not fix my life. I was into the party scene. Everything I tried on my own was hopeless; a failure. Sure, I had moments of success. Times of great accomplishment. However, my deep inner need for hope, for love and for acceptance went unfulfilled and empty.
When I came to Jesus, that deep inner need was filled by Him. Everlasting love, acceptance, blessings and deep inner peace pushed out the feelings of hopelessness and failure. Jesus welcomed me into His heart; His family. He gave me an identity as His child. No longer was I poor or destitute of love and a future. Now, I knew that I was an heir to Gods Kingdom. I had become His daughter. I belonged to Him and, I also belonged in His Kingdom of Heaven.
Do you know Jesus? Do you want Him to fill your deepest desires and give you a hope filled future? Would you like to become His personal child and inherit your own portion of the Heavenly Kingdom? Pray something like this:
Heavenly Father, in Jesus’ name I repent of my sins and open my heart to let Jesus come inside of me.
Jesus, You are my Lord and Savior. I believe you died for my sins and you were raised from the dead.
Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Thank You Father for saving me, for giving me a hope filled future and for welcoming me into your Kingdom… in Jesus’ name. Amen.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 NLT
When I finally realized my great need for Jesus, I also realized how much my sins had hurt Him. In all my striving to make my life work for me, I had made so many mistakes. My mistakes hurt people. My mistakes hurt me. My focus was on myself. I was selfish. With this realization, A huge amount of grief came over me. My sin, my selfishness, my independence caused my Jesus to suffer an unexplainable death so that I could live with Him forever. I was overwhelmed with how much my sin cost my Savior. Looking inside my heart, in light of Jesus heart, revealed just how black and sinful I was. I cried. I just cried and cried for all the hurt my sin had caused. I called out to Jesus and He came for me.
His love surrounded me. His light enveloped me. His truth, spoken into my life, changed my selfish heart. He comforted me by offering me unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness and a changed desire for my life. My heart is no longer black with sin, but bright with His love. My focus has moved from me and landed squarely on Him. My sadness became joy because accepting Jesus as my Savior has given me hope, happiness and mission for my life. Jesus love and comfort was a healing balm on my open wounds. I found this poem online and it really speaks to my heart.
Today I am struggling, Lord
Today it is not so easy to believe
Today the voices of the world ring loud
Today the center of my life is ‘ME’
Today will you be the strength I need
Today will you be the hope I desire
Today will you be the voice I hear
Today be the center of all I yearn to be
Today will you Comfort me Jesus. AMEN
God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. Matthew 5:5 NLT
As I moved closer to Jesus, I began to take responsibility for my weaknesses and my sins. Nothing is more humbling then admitting that I am not perfect. Few things are more freeing then admitting that I make mistakes and sometimes choose sin. Life becomes humbling when I accept my humanity and fallenness.
I started to see people in a whole new way. My sympathy for them and empathy for them grew. My tolerance for their weaknesses increased because I could see myself in them. I became aware that Jesus died for the man yelling at me from the side of the street and He died for the lady who cut me off in the grocery store line. He gave His life for my ex who hurt me so badly. He gave His life for the person who hurt my child. I am no better than any of my human brothers and sisters. We are all in the same boat, needing Jesus saving love to transform our lives.
When I chose to live an authentic life, weaknesses and strengths included, I found that not only did I relate to people differently but that they related to me in a different way as well. Those who were hiding secrets about themselves were encouraged to speak the truth about their lives. People who were suffering found that they were not alone. Friends who never admitted their faults were suddenly free to talk about it. The humble honesty about my life and my sin has created a community of support around me. People are naturally drawn to authentic, real and loving people. Allowing Jesus to work in my heart, recreating and humbling me, allows others to see Jesus healing love through me. I no longer hold myself as better or higher than others. I have learned to truly love them. I long for their salvation and for their spiritual freedom in Jesus. The earth has become my mission field. People became my passion. Jesus is the center of my life. My eyes are opened to the world around me not just to my own little space. I have inherited the earth so that I can reflect Jesus.
Heavenly father, I pray to Thee,
help me to love others,
the way that you love me.
Help me Lord, in all that I do,
to always be a reflection of you.
Walk with me closely, night and day,
so I shall never go astray.
Live in my heart, and give me Your light,
that I may become pleasing in Your sight.
Make me your vessel, that others may see,
Your spiritual presence dwelling within me.
Walk with me Father, till my journey is through,
then by Your grace, bring me home to You.
Written by: Billy F. Dial
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. Matthew 5:6 NLT
Bad things happen. Evil exists. Injustice runs rampant. This realization for a believer can be hard. How do we reconcile the Hitlers, the child abusers and the murders of this world? At some point in everyone’s Christian walk we must come to an understanding and a trusting acceptance of God’s Justice. We are forced to deal with the evil, the unfair and the atrocities we see. Life on this earth is not fair. It is not just. Our souls cry out for something to be done.
What a huge weight came off of my shoulders the day I chose to believe and trust that God would deal with the evilness in my world. He dealt with my evil heart, so He can certainly deal with everyone elses sin. Jesus will have the final say in the end. Sin will be finished once and for all. I am not in a place where I can judge the heart of the sinner. I don’t know the challenges or the lies or the hardness of their heart. I don’t want to be responsible for deciding their eternal fate. I am happy to leave that I am not responsible to show that justice was done…I am glad to leave that to Jesus. I am releived that I can trust in His all-knowing judgement. I know that one day, All my questions will be answered and my doubts will be lifted when I see my Savior face to face. Giving My life would not be enough to save the world from eternal death. Only Jesus life was enough. His life showed us a beautiful balance between His grace, mercy AND justice.
We know that You know the end from the beginning, and we only want Your will. If it is time for Judgment, Lord, may it come swiftly. If, however, there is still room for repentance then we ask that You grant a space for that repentance. Either way, God, let us trust You in all things. Amen.
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7 NLT
God forgave my sin when I became His child. God wants to forgive every sin. His desire is to save each person who ever existed on this earth. That is why He sent Jesus, so that no person would have to be lost. He is just in demanding death for our sin but He is perfectly merciful by accepting Jesus death in our place. I have learned that Gods total forgiveness cannot be fully felt in our lives if we never learn to forgive others.
I recently was called to forgive someone who hurt me very badly. They had not apologized or accepted responsibility for hurting me but Jesus asked me to forgive them anyway. Every time I thought about what had happened I would obsess and get angry. I’d cry over the hurt and held onto my right to be angry. Jesus gently let me know that the only way to peace was to forgive. so I began to speak forgiveness out loud every time I had a memory or began to think about what had happened. “I forgive you for telling me lies.” or “I forgive you for calling me that name”. After a few days of speaking forgiveness, I began to feel that forgiveness. After about a week, I was able to let that person know that I forgave them. No strings attached and no apology necessary.
Forgiving, did not condone what they had done. It did not allow them back into my life or tell them that they were free of consequences. What it did was release the bitterness and the obsessive thoughts that I was harboring. It allowed me to refocus my heart on Jesus. It freed me to pray for them instead of hate them. It released Jesus love for them in me. It also, unexpectedly allowed me to look at myself and take responsibility for my part in the situation so that I could forgive myself.
Daily, I feel God’s mercy toward me. The more mercy He gives to me, the more I am able to show mercy to others. Justice without mercy is brutal. Gods justice is tempered with mercy. He lives in my heart, teaching me to give mercy to those who hurt me. I have been forgiven much and so, in the beauty of Gods love He enables me, through faith to also forgive much.
Lord Jesus, You are loving and Your mercy endures forever. Even though our own love is often so shallow, when we intercede for your mercy on the lives you bring across our path, You will answer. Thank You so much! Amen.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 NLT
It is all about motivation. At this point in my spiritual journey, I am sold out for Jesus. This is why Jesus called me;”pure in heart”. So I take a look at my heart and ask Jesus what He sees as pure.
A Christian who is pure in heart has a motivation for Jesus alone. Their face is turned toward heaven and their eyes are focused on Christ. Life happens, sin happens but a Christian who is Pure in Heart stays focused on the kingdom. That doesn’t mean that I do not sin sometimes or make mistakes. It does mean that when those things happen I know what to do to find peace and forgiveness.
Focused on the Kingdom means staying involved in a daily relationship with Christ. Being real with Him. Talking to Him. Listening to Him. That ongoing, growing, living relationship with Jesus keeps my heart motivated for the things that He is motivated toward. I want to love others the way Jesus loves me. I want to love like Jesus loves me. So, I ask Jesus what His will is for my life. I walk hand in hand with Him everyday. When I fall, I look to Him to pick me up. When I hurt, I look to Him to heal my heart. I long to worship Him, commune with Him and live for Him.
Having been through complete surrender to Jesus, having experienced his comforting love, humbling my heart before Him and His people, longing for justice and trusting in His plan, learning first hand what mercy and forgiveness is all about has grown me spiritually into the person I am today. I am sold out for Jesus. Being Pure in Heart doesn’t make me better or smarter or more loved. Jesus has assured me that He sees my motivation and it is pure before Him. No longer am I captive to sin but I am set FREE through the love of Christ and His death on the cross. My hearts desire is pure. My hearts desire is love. My hearts desire is Jesus.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
God blesses those who work for peace, or they will be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9 NLT
Notice that it isn’t until we are’ heart right’ before Jesus, totally sold out for the Kingdom, that he begins to care about our actions. He wants our hearts first. He wants our actions to follow our love for Him. Actions without love mean absolutely nothing to Him. He wants our lives to be fully committed, fully in tune with Him. He longs for us to go through the life changing road map of the Christian walk. To experience love, comfort, humbling grace, justice, mercy and pure motives so that He can refine our character and prepare us to walk the walk and talk the talk. Only then, are we ready to go into the world and Glorify Him with our efforts. We won’t seek the glory because we are excited to point the world to Jesus. We are motivated by our love for Him and seek to point others to Him alone.
Many places in the Bible we are called to work for peace. We are instructed to seek peace. This world is not a peaceful place, however and the closer we get to the coming of Christ the more chaos there will be. We know that Jesus offers peace among the chaos. Peace is worth fighting for. The peace that comes with understanding Christ’s love is worth sharing with the world. The earth longs for peace and we, Christ’s children, can offer the only way to true peace by sharing the love of our savior.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light,
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console,
not so much to be understood as to understand,
not so much to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
it is in dying that we awake to eternal life.
— St. Francis of Assisi
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Matthew 5:10 NLT
Jesus expected that a Christian who is sold out for Him and who is working to bring the peace of Jesus to the world, is going to face a lot of opposition. Satan does not want us to bring the saving, freeing truth of Christ to anyone else. He will do whatever he can to stop it. The Bible tells us to expect persecution when we are living a life for the Kingdom. We are told that we will suffer just as Christ suffered. Working to bring others to heaven will sometimes seem as though you are living in hell.
Stay focused though, because the reward is great! Forever, spent with our Father is a grand reward indeed. The sooner our eyes close in death, the sooner we will see Jesus. So hold on, stay strong in the faith, be of good courage for the Lord of Heavens armies goes before you into battle. He leads the way, lights the path and provides your armor. The battle is His and the war is won. You have run the race and your treasure awaits you in heaven.
you have so richly blessed us with life,
with love and joy,
with hope in the midst of despair.
Help us to be the salt of the earth.
Help us to be the light of the world,
sharing with others that which we have received,
boldly proclaiming the good news of your love,
finding the seeds of your kingdom within us
and letting your way grow in our lives and throughout the world.
Give us eyes to see the ways you are changing the world in which we live.
Give us ears to hear your call to join with you in the great transformation.
Hear us now, o God,
as we pray for the coming of your kingdom. AMEN