The Beatitudes are the radical new order of blessedness initiated by the new covenant signed in the blood of Jesus. They are not the Scriptural equivalent of your mama's admonition to "be sweet." They outline the new way of the kingdom that Jesus said we should seek above all else (Matt. 6:33). It is a tall order to be like Jesus, like His compassion, His humility, His longing for the Father's glory.
The Beatitudes are conditional promises of blessing. Letting Jesus work His character in us is the condition; blessing is the promise. Pray for yourself, that you will enjoy the blessing of being the person God wants you to be, as God molds you in the character of His beloved and well-pleasing Son.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Matthew 5:3
Heavenly Father, let me honestly face myself with courage to admit that I am utterly helpless and destitute to receive more of heaven's kingdom. I want the humility not to be impressed with myself and my accomplishments. Increase in me (John 3:30). More of You, God, none of me. I am overwhelmed with the sense of my spiritual need. I recognize my true spiritual condition of pride and self-sufficiency, and I am broken over my need to cast myself upon Your mercy. But I am covered by the blood of Jesus!
Blessed are those who mourn. Matthew 5:4
God, break my heart with what breaks Your heart. Let me embrace the true grief of the Man of sorrows. I die to unholy grief (self-pity). Let me receive Your holy comfort in my losses (Isa. 61:2). Wipe away my tears in Your tender mercy.
Blessed are the meek. Matthew 5:5
Work in me the grace of spirit and soul to receive Your restraints for my strengths. My Lord Jesus was meek, lowly, and gentle of heart (not to be confused with weakness). He knew He had all the infinite resources of God at His command. Rein me in, so that I will be gentle in Your strength. I accept all Your dealings with me as good. Help me get angry at the right time, in the right measure, only for the right reason. Replace my self-assertiveness and demanding my rights with Your holy long-suffering and humility. More than anything, I want to respond to Your invitation, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:26-30).
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Matthew 5:6
I want to fast of being satisfied with my own self-righteousness. I intensely long for more of You with unquenchable thirst. My spirit and my soul will be completely satisfied only in the living water of Your presence. I won't try to satisfy my soul's appetite at the world's table. I'll taste and see that You are good. I ardently desire You as much as I need food to sustain life (Ps. 36:8-9, 42:1-2, 63:1,5; Isa. 55:1-2).
I look to the promises... for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, for they will be comforted, for they will inherit the earth, for they will be filled. Give me the Beatitude kind of satisfaction in You. Thank You for these promises of blessing, more of heaven's reign here on earth, the comfort of the Comforter, inheritance in Christ, and full satisfaction in Your righteousness.
To be continued next week ...