Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
Yesterday we examined the final snapshot of a Kingdom dweller: “Blessed are those who are persecuted.” NOTE what is promised for those who rejoice in persecution. Jesus says, “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We saw that at the very beginning with “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The first snapshot and the last—poor in spirit and being persecuted for being like Jesus. It’s like all 8 beatitudes are wrapped up in a package—all describing what a citizen of the Kingdom looks like. What a picture this is! One more observation that comes to mind: When you compare the first snapshot—poor in spirit—with the last snapshot—being persecuted for being like Jesus, the progression is obvious. Everything in the Kingdom begins with having a right evaluation of yourself before God and others—poor in spirit. The ultimate aim is to be more and more like Jesus, so much so that your life and lifestyle stand out.
These 8 disciplines or attitudes are taken directly from the first seminar that Jesus gave on the hillside of the Sea of Galilee. They all begin with “Blessed” which means to be congratulated or to be filled with happiness. Take on these attitudes and make them your primary disciplines of life. Meditate on them and discover the great depth within them. They offer you the ingredients that will produce the most valuable and powerful emotional riches you could ever experience.
Note that every one of these beatitudes is different from your natural instincts. When you follow Jesus, you are walking to the beat of a different drummer. Keep in mind that Jesus is the drummer, the one who sets the beat of your life. I have spent most of my life meditating and referring back to these 8 dynamics. Make them yours. Go back to them often. Maybe even memorize them and ask God to emblazon them on your soul.
Now, living out the teachings of Jesus in the Kingdom is a different lifestyle—the Kingdom lifestyle, all unveiled by the King—Jesus. In a very real sense, these 8 snapshots make up a collage of Jesus himself. So, to embrace these for yourself is to embrace Jesus and his Kingdom personally. Don’t hesitate on this. There are many treasures and secrets of the Kingdom that will enable you to make the rest of your life, the best of your life!