When you are poor in spirit, you need to read books on self-improvement.
When you are mourning, you need to take some medicine and get over it.
When you are meek, you might get run over by others.
When you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will be mocked for being
When you are merciful, you will be taken advantage of.
When you are pure in heart, you are naïve and need to experience the world.
When you are peacemaker, you must carry a weapon and make threats.
When you are persecuted for righteousness, you are being offensive and
need to change.
When you are reviled, you must be misinformed and narrow-minded.
We live in a culture that consistently and purposefully misrepresents the ways of Jesus Christ. The church has contributed to this problem as we have sought temporal power over spiritual power. We have sought to force others instead of invite. We have shown a basic mistrust of the power of the Holy Spirit and the role of prayer to revolutionize the world. We have found that the church at one time gained the whole world, but lost its soul.
The church is losing its worldly power, and I believe it is regaining its soul. I think there is tremendous hope for the future of the church. Its truest impact is spreading the subversive message of Jesus Christ. The church is tasked with delivering the hope of Jesus Christ. When we let go of our selfish passions, we will be filled with passion for the mission.
The message of hope in Jesus Christ is one that contrasts with the dominant cultural worldviews. Perhaps his most subversive teaching is the Sermon on Mount recorded in Matthew 5-7. I dare you to read this passage without being convicted, disagreeing, or rationalizing.
The sermon starts with what has been called the Beatitudes, which is a salve to those who are hurting. Matthew 5:3-12 shows us when we are hurting from the pain of life, we are in the best sort of place to experience the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus’ teaching put the world on its head. Instead of accessing God’s Kingdom through our greatness we access it through our humility. This speaks deep into our hearts. We know it is true, but we do not live as if it is true.
Go back and read Matt 5:3-12 again. The values Jesus spoke about are in direct opposition to our cultural understanding. The question that we should have is WHY are we blessed in these situations? The answer is clear; the Kingdom of Heaven is open to us. When life crushes you the Kingdom of Heaven opens to you. The pain does not necessarily go away; rather we have access to peace and joy in the midst of the pain. The Kingdom ensures that the storms of life will not annihilate you.
In my role as Pastor, I get the privilege of peeking behind the curtain of many people’s lives. I consistently see faith that endures, faith that lasts. A life that overcomes is built on the message of the Beatitudes. And a faith that lacks hope in the Kingdom of Heaven is no faith at all. Faith in Jesus, joy in the Kingdom is the very substance of life.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot, missionary