January 20

Text: Matthew 5:3-9

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.Ē (NASB)

Jesus began with the description of the person God acknowledged to be righteous.  This person recognized personal spiritual poverty, and was grieved because he/she offended God.  This person was gentle (not aggressive), never had enough of devotion to God, was merciful to those who were offensive, was inwardly pure, and sought to make peace with the offensive.

The result of being a righteous person was closeness to God, a sense of ďbeing at ease,Ē a contentment as the person pursued righteousness, the assurance that comes from living in Godís mercy, the ability to perceive Godís presence, and the privilege of being in Godís family.

The righteous person knows who he/she is in regard to God, knows his/her absolute dependence on God, and uses Godís character as the basis of his/her values and actions. 

The things Jesus stressed were in contrast to the values and character of their religious leaders.  They were to have a new image, a new understanding of the meaning of being righteous.

Suggestion for reflection: Do not allow the way you live and act to misrepresent God.  (Read Romans 2:17-24.)

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