The Beatitudes are a series of life-links–steps that progress toward a life governed by the living God. They were beautifully spoken by Jesus in what is known as The Sermon on the Mount. I call them the beati-links. They’re like peas in a pod and all begin with the letter p. How many of the 8-p links have you followed?
- Poverty of spirit; This is brokenness and humility. The Bible says that God “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Coming to the end of our own resources (mental, emotional, and material) and surrendering our will to God opens us up to humbly and desperately receive His help.
- Participation in sadness: This is called mourning–allowing our heart to be broken by the things that break God’s heart. Mourning includes being deeply sorry for all the ways we have gone wrong and all the pain we have caused.
- Pliability: Brokenness and mourning make our heart meek and pliable so that God can begin to mold and bend our heart to His will.
- Passion to live right and to be right with God: As we continually allow God to change us from the inside out, we get more and more hungry and thirsty to change our outward behavior so that it matches God’s will.
- Presentation of mercy: The closer we get to God, the more we realize how far away we have been from God and His perfection. This causes us to feel much grace, mercy, and compassion and to share it by being kind to and forgiving all people.
- Pure in heart: The more we give mercy and forgiveness to others, the more forgiveness we receive and the purer our heart becomes.
- Peacemaking: The purer our heart becomes, the more we have the peace of God inside of us and the more we radiate His peace outwardly to others.
- Persecution: People who are threatened by the truth and by God’s light won’t like the Beatitude qualities that they see manifested in our words and lifestyle. Our daily living out God’s truth and speaking it with love and kindness will make some people uncomfortable and they will sometimes react negatively toward us, being unkind, hostile, and even cruel. Jesus said that persecution is something to celebrate because it verifies that you are on track with the beati-links and will be greatly rewarded.
After finishing talking about the beati-links, Jesus calls those who follow the links “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” He tells them not to lose their saltiness or to hide their light, but rather to let their light shine in front of people. Then people around them can see the good works that come from their changed heart and lifestyle, and glorify God for what He has done.
The Beatitudes aren’t just sweet sayings for a Sunday morning sermon. They’re a call to radical, all-out obedience to God.