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Hello and welcome back!

This post will provide some background information before we start our first beatitude study, “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs” (Matt. 5:3, HCSB).  If you have not read the earlier post: Part One

Reflections on Life

Wow!  The weather in New Mexico is crazy!  Yesterday, it was beautiful (sunny and warm) and today it is beautiful (cloudy and cold).  What I mean to say here is that I love all kinds of weather because I relish variety!  Looking out my study window, I am enjoying seeing the occasional flurries of snowflakes falling.

Birds are sitting on the branches of the tree and the wind is gently blowing through the newly blossoming buds of green.  Winter and spring meet in contest but it is spring that is gaining momentum and winter will soon fade into the past.

Come to think about it, what I just described above is like our lives, isn’t it?  We have seasons.  We are born and grow up in the spring of our lives.  Everything seems to go on forever, one day leading into another in an endless procession of springtime breezes.

Then summer is upon us.  We mature, get married, raise a family and the days just seem to become a blur as fall approaches while we aren’t looking.  When the first leaves of our lives begin to change from green to various tones of browns and yellow, we notice that our children are raising families of their own.  As we are raking the leaves of our lives, our children’s leaves are just beginning to bud.

I am now at the end of my personal, fall season.  The winter of my life is fast approaching.  I have raked the leaves, put away my rake and leaf blower, and I sit here looking out at the tree that is blossoming with new life — even during winter’s last efforts to hold on.  As I look at the birds sitting in its branches, I reflect upon the winter season of my life that is fast approaching and I rejoice!

  • I rejoice because I am still running the race!
  • I rejoice because I know where it is that I am going!
  • I rejoice because this season is in God’s timing and His timing is perfect!
  • I rejoice because I am His and He is mine!

What season of life are you now in?

What season is coming?

Where are you at in this season of your life as you walk with Jesus?

It all depends upon your understanding of the Christian character and how you are developing it!  Let’s take a look at some background information needed before we begin our study of the Christian character model that Jesus provided us in the Sermon on the Mount.

The Christian Character

Did you know that Jesus has provided us the perfect Christian character development course that has ever been written?  He has!  The entire world seeks after happiness!  Unfortunately, the method in which they seek happiness has a way of turning into unhappiness.  Why is that?  Why is it that happiness, the goal of every person, seems to occur fleetingly — only to dissolve into misery and dejection?

“The beatitudes describe the character traits that separate us from the character traits of the world.”

Could it be that the world is looking for happiness on the sinful road that leads to misery and rejection?  Yes, Christians, we need to be following Christ in order to obtain true happiness.  So many Christians are missing the meaning Jesus provided in the Sermon on the Mount.

There are so many of us are caught up in the religion of our walk that we sometimes forget that Jesus is looking at our hearts.  It’s not about what we—DO—it’s all about who we ARE!  It is not so much our DOING but our BEING!  Jesus died because we cannot DO the law!

He died so that we can BECOME like Him!  The Sermon on the Mount is not about our OUTSIDE but all about our INSIDE!  It had nothing to do with empty, external religious traditions but all about who we are in Jesus!

What is the Christian character that Jesus provides the blueprint for in the Sermon on the Mount?  What is it that will bring us that elusive happiness that we all so crave?  Jesus looks at our character before he looks at how we act.  It is our character that determines our actions.

What to Expect

In the beatitudes, Jesus shows us how Christians are to become like Him.  The beatitudes describe the character traits that separate us from the character traits of the world.  These character traits in the beatitudes are portraits of Christ and not a portrait of the world.  The beatitudes describe the divine difference between those IN Christ and those who are not.

[IMPORTANT]: Please remember and tuck this away in your heart:  The Bible tells us to be LIKE Jesus and not the world.  The beatitudes provide the vehicle in which to do so.  Please join with me next post for the first study of the beatitude, “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs” (Matt. 5:3, HCSB).

 

Until next time…

Zach

QUESTION:  WHAT DOES “POOR IN SPIRIT” MEAN?