January 23, 2019

Beauty for Ashes

Matthew 5:1-11

1One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him,

2and he began to teach them.

3“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,

for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

4God blesses those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

5God blesses those who are humble,

for they will inherit the whole earth.

6God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,

for they will be satisfied.

7God blesses those who are merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

8God blesses those whose hearts are pure,

for they will see God.

9God blesses those who work for peace,

for they will be called the children of God.

10God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,

for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

11“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.

Have you ever heard the saying “your blessing is just around the corner?” I’m sure many of us can identify with this phrase that is meant to encourage us to push forward in our faith. As I began my journey in seeking God, I was constantly reminded of the truth that He had great things in store for me. I looked forward to finding this infamous corner that everything seems to be around.

Of course, it was encouraging to hear that God would want to bless someone who at one point turned their back on Him. I would always get excited hearing this, but I started to feel discouraged as the years went on and I did not find that corner with a blessing around it.

I mean, what’s with this word blessing anyway? Why does it always sound like it’s such a distant unreachable thing that we will all get to one day by doing all of the “right things?” I know I can log on to my Instagram account or Facebook page and see the word #blessed captioned under pictures of tangible things. For example, a new car? #Blessed. New house? #Blessed. Promotion? #Blessed. I don’t say this to discredit being fortunate enough to receive such things. Truly, we are blessed when we reap the benefits of hard work and God’s undeserved gifts. But has our definition of the word blessed become completely synonymous with the definition of the “The American Dream?” You know - the nice home, stable job, three kids, and a dog?

We can easily fall prey to false perceptions of what it really means. The first thing I had to do was understand how the Bible described a blessing. Take a look at Mathew 5: 1-12. The last thing on my mind when I was praying for God’s blessing was to “be poor in spirit, mourn, be meek, hungeringand thirsting for righteousness, to be merciful, pure, a peacemaker, and persecuted”…. Persecuted? Really?

I was waiting for more tangible things such as a dream career, a luxury car, wealth, and a huge house. But there is no hint of material prosperity in this text; so how in the world could being meek and poor in spirit lead to a life of abundant blessings? The beatitudes are extremely clear on one thing. God’s richest blessings are God Himself.

Being blessed is above anything that we can obtain on this earth. It goes beyond temporal things and transcends into places that cannot be shaken by earthly disappointments. Our jobs, our cars, our wealth, and other material possessions can be taken away at any given moment. But the true blessings of God remain with us no matter what twists and turns life throws at us..

Take a look at the beatitudes and let’s really evaluate our definition of being blessed in adjacent to what the Word of God outlines. God will give you heavenly insight on what it truly means to be #blessed