Most people have their idea of what a Christian is. However the true Christian is only interested in one definition of Christianity, and that is the one held by Jesus. Perhaps the clearest definition the Lord gives is found at the start of His preaching ministry and recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. It is often called the beatitudes.
There are eight Beatitudes found at the beginning of Matthew Chapter 5. The first four deal with our heart to God and the second four deal with our heart to others. Each of the beatitudes comes at a cost but also brings reward.
In my Spirit, I need to be ‘poor’, this means I need Jesus, without Him, I am so lost. I come to the cross praying the prayer of the Publican; ‘Lord, have mercy on me a sinner…’ (Luke 18:13)
I am also grieved by the things this world boasts about (profanity, immorality, trickery, deceit, and so on cause me to cry out to God).
Meekness is the third attribute of Christ-likeness. Meek is not weak, it takes incredible courage to be meek. Meekness is choosing the best of others before yourself. Meekness is desiring God’s Will and having the courage to live it.
The fourth attribute is to yearn for the righteousness of Jesus. It is not enough for the Christian to know the forgiveness of their sins, the heart’s yearning is to live in such a way as not to increase Christ’s burden on the Cross.
The next four beatitudes deal with my heart more than my spirit, it is who I am before people.
Mercy is the first of these. Giving others the forgiveness I have found. ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we…’ Matt 6:12
Next is the pure in heart. Interacting with others without hidden agendas or the need to manipulate, but desiring only and upfront to honor God.
Third, in this list is Peacemaking. The ‘Christlike-one’ does not stir up trouble but seeks to bring calm, healing, and forgiveness. The greatest act of peacemaking is to bring a person to Christ, that they may find forgiveness at the foot of the Cross.
The final attribute is being able to suffer with graciousness for following Jesus. This is the one I have found most difficult. To be able to wear one’s faith with transparency, knowing that by doing so will mean ridicule, harassment, and suffering.
The rewards are; Citizenship in Heaven, The comfort, filling, and presence of God in the form of His Holy Spirit, to be an Heir in the Greatest Kingdom of all time, and filling with the Goodness of God.
The rewards continue; as a Citizen in the Kingdom of Heaven, the mercy we receive will mean that we can now in spirit see God at work in our midst and in time to come we will see our Father in Heaven who will call us by name and recognize each of us as His child.
Jesus said ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself’. Mark 12:29-31. That is what we do, and living the Beatitudes, is how we do it.