My best understanding of The Beattitudes is to view them as building blocks. Certainly one could let each stand alone on its own merit, however there seems to be a logical progression not unlike links in a chain. I prefer to take them in order and attempt to understand those correlations.
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (Matthew 5:3, NLT).
The Beattitudes begin with our realization that we are poor in spirit. Or more pointedly, spiritually bankrupt. Like you, I’ve written a resume or two during my career in preparation for a job interview. Resumes are tricky documents, because you have to assert yourself and commend your work in such a way that the employer can see the benefit you will bring to the organization. Poverty in spirit is the realization that we have nothing we can commend to God. We are broken and broke, unable to offer God anything to pay our own way. We stand before God empty handed.
“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4, NLT).
When we recognize that we are spiritually bankrupt, that realization brings with it a profound sense of loss. We mourn over our sin and the roots of our sin in the fall. We understand that our loss is not just individual, its also corporate.
“God blesses those who are humble (meek), for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5, NLT).
As we mourn over our bankruptcy, we become humble, and that humility is the gateway to trust. For years I have assisted people who have walked into the Church Office asking for assistance. Most who ask for help with rent, utilities or food make their request from a posture of humility. The proud do not ask. The proud have difficulty letting someone help them. The humble, however, are willing to ask and trust that their needs will be met.
“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice (righteousness), for they will be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6, NLT).
Another turning point in the progression is the fact that our appetites change. Hunger and thirst are desire words. In God’s economy the desire doesn’t change. The object of our desire changes. Prior to Christ, we had desires that we felt would satisfy the so called “God sized hole in our hearts.” Christians aren’t people void of desire. Christians are people with renewed desire for justice and righteousness. We want what God wants.
Tomorrow I’ll finish up the last four Beattitudes and see how our right standing with God leads us to desire the same for others. Thanks for checking in today.