So are we all sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin with beatitude number 4
Great are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled -Matthew 5:6I think it is fair to say that in the developed world we never have gone needlessly hungry nor have we ever truly experienced what hunger is. Yes, we've felt empty because we haven't eaten in a while but truly hungry, I doubt it. Yet one third of the world's population go hungry everyday, these people are so desperate for food that they will walk for half a day just to find something to eat. It's that desperation that we should have for righteousness. This isn't just righteousness in doing things right and things in the world being right either, no Jesus is telling us to by right with our relationships as well. That's not saying you should be right all the time but rather that you have the right relationship with people and we should work to make those relationship where we aren't right with people into ones where we are. Now as always with our Christian lives we can't just apply what we learn about relationship to just other humans, and this whole beatitudes also holds true for our relationship with God. We've got to have the right relationship with Him too. This would mean we need to confess our sins daily, that we don't deliberately sin and that between Him and us our mess is out in the open and we don't hide it. Yep it's going to be hard to keep our relationship right with God but it is worth it. Worry not though, God hasn't left us without help. Jesus went to the cross and took on the suffering He did so that we could have that relationship with Him.
Great are those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy - Matthew 5:7We leave righteousness for the fifth beatitude all about mercy. So what is being merciful? Well quite simply it is letting somebody off for something that they did despite the fact they should be punished for it. Also we could depict mercy as being kind to those who don't like us, as such we bless our enemies and pray for them. Now we certainly aren't alone when it comes to trying to be merciful, in fact we have one of the greatest helpers around to help us, God. Being merciful is difficult but at the same time very good, and I'm pretty sure Ghandi and Martin Luther King would say the same. I recognize Ghandi was not Christian but I'm not using him as a Christian example but as someone who was merciful and would also say it is good to be merciful. How good mercy is, or that God gave it to us, is not what is amazing about it though. What's amazing is the being merciful will create more mercy, so what we, as Christians, should be doing is being merciful to others. This is not so that we can receive mercy in return but rather because we have received mercy from God, we know how to partition it on to others. Again Jesus Himself demonstrates this on the cross itself when He asks the Father to "forgive them for they know not what they do."
Great are those pure in heart, for they will see God - Matthew 5:8To end, today's Muddy Boots section, the quality of being pure of heart will be looked at. Our hearts are all cleansed when we become Christians and so are pure once more, but that's not what Jesus probably had in mind when He said this line, in fact it's more likely He was talking about an innocent, unadulterated core of being, someone who doesn't actually have a sin to confess to almost every minute of the day. In all honest it's pure hearted people who truly glow with something beautiful, but whats amazing is that we are likely to be drawn more to these people since they just want to bless you and have such a close relationship with God. Jesus lived out a pure heart for us, Hebrews tell us that "we have one who has been tempted in everyway, just as we are - but did not sin." (Hebrews 4:15) So how's your heart? I know mine's not always in the right place, if that's you let's go to God to get it cleansed once more then.
Again I remind you that all this is great in writing but what we need to start trying to do is living it out, we can't just be super spiritual. In fact, you may look at some of those and say "I can't do that" or "that isn't me" but Jesus wasn't saying each beatitude to just a specific group each time but rather they are all qualities we can possess.
So together, let's get the shoes gave us to wear muddy with the muck of life and come out stronger on the other side!